The last time I drove a Tata Motors vehicle, it refused to cross 105 kph. Even while going downhill and with me on my knees and pleading.
Things were quite different this time around, I told myself, as I watched the speedometer of the Indigo Manza cross the 160 kph mark. And it was still climbing with the ‘chameleon’ tacho needle yet to turn red to indicate that it has used up the revs. The VBox records suggested that we touched 165.6 kph before we aborted the run. Impressed? That is the fastest I have been in a Tata vehicle (Okay, I ran out of road with the Tata Safari Petrol).
More than the top speed, what gave me the kicks was the surefooted, refined manner in which the variable geometry turbodiesel laid the power down. We have seen everything from the Fiat 500 to the Suzuki Swift being powered by the Fiat derived 1.3 litre Multijet diesel (Quadrajet in Tata applications) and the Manza seems to have benefited the most. Gone are an array of NVH and power delivery issues that plagued the home-bred TDI and Dicor units and in comes 20.4 kgm of effortless torque and 88.7 bhp of seamless power – most of which I summoned in that 165 kph top-speed run.
While it is easy to deploy a good engine that is quick and fast, what matters more is to make the rest of the car keep pace. The new Indigo Manza is very similar to the Indica Vista from the B-pillar forward, except for the front bumpers. As most of you are aware, the Vista won the BSM Jury award last year not for nothing – it was a much better engineered product than the last generation car. This well put-together feeling continues with the Manza despite the added wheelbase and additional sheet metal. Mind you, it does not feel lithe-on-the-move the way a Honda City does. Not yet. Wait a minute? Did we just compare the Manza to a City? Hmm.