My thoughts on the Tata Indigo DICOR

29/07/2009 - 03:07 | ,  ,   | Shrawan Raja


I've been driving the Tata Indigo DICOR (CRDI engine) recently, and I must say, I'm not very comfortable. That does not mean it’s a pathetic excuse for a car, it does have its strengths, which are not strengths for a car lover like me.

What Tata Motors is trying to accomplish with this car is easy to understand, the instant you step into this car - make money and lots of it.

The Indigo's interior is the last place I'd like to be in. There are elephant-wide gaps, unevenly cut plastic claddings, sharp edges and disfigured storage spaces and roof linings that are falling apart like on castles that were built during the medieval ages. It exactly what a car designer would construct if he got drunk before departing for work.

Start the car, and you'd hear the sound that chalk and blackboard would make. On a cold morning, you'd rather listen to someone getting stabbed. It's brutal.

The clutch is heavy; the action is like sitting on this side of a see-saw with a giant buffalo on another. Even better is the sound the spring makes once you let go of it. The position of the pedals is so Tata 607-like, and the steering wheel was fitted by a 6-year old girl, who was learning the art of cutting a square out of a piece of paper with a scissors.

The Indigo which I'm driving has done more than 20k kilometers, and it feels like its done five times that. The leather wrap on the gear knob has come off, the wiper's action is not an action anymore, the rear stop light has dislodged from its mount, the seat covers does not like its stitching anymore and stuff can be squeezed into the dashboard through the lid's widened gap.

The car is well maintained, which I learned only after referring the service log. Its gone to the service station regularly, but still, it feels like the last time a technician worked on this car was while filling the fluids in its production line.

At full lock, the steering makes this noise which you'd hear in a factory when its 5:00 P.M. Your brain is this car's ECU, you'll need to work out where the power band is every time, and actuate the engine. The suspension due to the action of heat and pressure has turned to bricks, or maybe this Tata's suspension was built from cement and bricks.

The steering offers almost nil feedback, the body roll is excessive, sometime life threatening. I even managed to do a little drifting early morning yesterday, it is not a safe car.

The term turbo lag could have originated from this Indigo, and who knows why they decided to ever put brakes on this thing?

I could begin swearing any moment now, so I'll come to the softer part.

I never bothered to calculate how much this car's on-road price is, since it’s not worth my time. I learn the Indigo costs very little to maintain. The fuel economy is Indigo's greatest triumph, fill the tank, and you can drive around the earth.

Then there's the space and comfort. Five adults can fit in the Indigo, there's a large boot and plenty of cubby holes to store your stuff.

Will I buy it?

Definitely not.

The Indigo is based on the Indica which turned ten last December. The naked truth is that Tata's not bothered what they are selling, it’s the money which it makes that bothers them. Sure cars like the Indica Vista and the newly launched Safari are way better, but what I was driving for the last few weeks, is the last thing you'd want to drive. Tata’s Indica Vista was light years ahead of the Indica, but why have they not phased out the old car? I thought they could continue to offer the taxi variants and focus more on the Vista. I have a gut feeling the same case will be repeated with the Indigo Vista.

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