Quick, what comes to mind when you recall a Tata Indica—space, noisy engine, simplistic but functional design, India’s first indigenously-developed passenger car and, well, a taxi-cab. Launched in 1998, the Indica was India’s first “more car per car”—as Tata marketed it initially. But it was so much “more car” that it gradually proved to be more beneficial to taxi-cab operators than to families looking for a “small car”. Additionally, the availability of a frugal but noisy diesel engine meant it didn’t give the families the feel-good factor they got in, say, the Swift or later in the i20. It’s not that Tata didn’t try to break the mould—although Indica saw good sales as India’s favourite taxi, any car company would like to see a healthy sales mixture—and so first it launched Indica V2, then the Refreshingly New Indica V2 and, in 2008, Indica Vista, but the unhealthy sales mixture remained. Reason: the updates were mostly cosmetic and a bit mechanical, which didn’t help the Indica much. What Tata really wanted was a car that appeals more to families, has a refined engine, feel-good interiors and a refreshing image.
Welcome to Vista D90—Tata’s new endeavour to redefine the premium hatchback segment. Powered by the Fiat-sourced 1.3L Quadrajet diesel engine with Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) technology, Vista D90 is the most powerful Indica till date. (It is the same engine that powers the much bigger Tata Manza and Maruti-Suzuki SX4.)
That Tata has taken a radical approach as far as design is concerned