Getting in (or out) is an art, which only flexible human beings who do a lot of yoga and exercise – obviously I am not one of them – can manage with ease. That’s because of the inherent design of the seat that can only go back this much and because of the steering wheel position; it is almost parallel to the vehicle floor, and not angled like in most cars we’re used to. To use a parallel I have used before while describing the Volkswagen Microbus, it’s like holding a round tray. Initially, it took some time to get used to, but soon it doesn’t feel all that irregular.
Now, the Sigma is quite basic actually. The dash is a vast expanse of plastic and it looks as if it’s been built to a cost. Which means vibes and noise from the oil-burner do get into the cabin, but it’s not as intrusive as I expected it to be. That’s in spite of you sitting on top of an IDI diesel engine, with only the seat and noise-absorbing foam in between. The four-cylinder 1995cc naturally aspirated diesel unit, of Isuzu design, develops 58 bhp at 4500 revs and 12 kgm of torque at 3000 rpm.It’s mated to a four-speed gearbox that transmits power to the rear wheels.
The gear lever is surprisingly stubby and the gears fall into place quite well. The first notch is only for taking off, and soon you realise you could do the same in second as well. Thanks to all the power and torque coming in at early engine speeds, it’s in third and fourth you are, most of the time. Even in fourth you can just crawl. Which makes the Sigma quite an easy vehicle to drive and it’s comfortable too, as you are not shifting much. Now here’s where the advantage of this engine is felt over the TuD5. The power output of both is the same, but the Sigma’s unit develops more torque than the Peugeot oil-burner, and more cubes also mean it’s relaxed too. The TuD5 would have run out breath with a full load as well. However, it does not mean the Sigma is quick or fast. It will nudge 100 kph, but it’s difficult to go beyond that, and takes almost 11.3 seconds to attain 60 kph. So relax and take it easy.