Now we are no strangers to the Indica. We have been seeing Tata's first attempt at a passenger car since its introduction in 1998. In its lifetime it has had many incarnations such as the Indica, Indica V2, Indicab, Indica eV2 and lately the Indica Vista. What Tata tried with the Indica Vista was to make the car feel more upmarket and youthful in an effort to appeal more to the masses. And now Tata has gone ahead and given the Vista a minor facelift.
The first change that you'll notice is the new chrome grille. The Vista has now traded in its mesh grille for a chrome slat number that is identical to the Manza's front end. The car now also sports all new bumpers, which makes it look a bit different from the last generation car. The old car's headlights have now been replaced by three barrel projector style lights. There are generous splashes of chrome on the bumper, fog lamps and the side panels. On the rear the car has a mirror finish black strip that runs along the rear tailgate along with smoked rear lights which give the car a sporty look. The top end variant now also gets alloy wheels as standard.
Inside the car, there are a lot of new features beginning with the steering mounted audio controls and the "Sahara Beige" colour scheme. The dashboard now sports a soft touch leather finish. The Bluetooth enabled audio system with AUX and USB support from the earlier model still does duty here albeit with a more eye pleasing colour for the display. The new Vista now also has electronically adjustable wing mirrors on the upper two variants. The interiors do feel much better than the first generation of Indicas but are still a far cry from the kind of quality its competitors bring to the table.
Under the hood, changes are minimal. The engine is still the 1248cc 75PS diesel that we saw in the old car. This means there is still enough torque to run around happily while returning 18.1kmpl in urban traffic and 23.6kmpl on the highways. The clutch now has less travel and Tata have also introduced a clutch-to-start feature in the car. The car still has that typical Tata ride quality that soaks up all the bumps but is not quite the stiffest in the business. The suspension has become softer and under hard braking the front end does tend to dive quite a bit. The Vista now gets 10-inch brake boosters which makes it stop much faster with it screeching to a stop from 100kmph in 46.7 metres. The rack and pinion valve and pump characters have been refined to reduce steering effort.
With the new Vista, Tata motors have tried to give the Indica a more youthful appeal with the long list of cosmetic changes. But since the Vista is a relatively new car (having been launched in early 2008) a full scale revamp was deemed unnecessary by the manufacturer. With the changes that have been incorporated in this mid-life facelift, the car still presents a very good case for itself. But whether it will be able to stand the pressure from its competition especially since the arrival of the new Swift, will have to be seen.