Tata first showcased the Indigo in 2002. The entry level sedan is based on the Tata Indica hatch, which was India’s first ever indigenous built car. Since then many variants of the Indigo have been launched of which the Indigo eCS is the latest one. It comes with the same engine and components found on the Indica eV2.
The Indigo comes with a petrol and diesel engine, but the latest variant features a more refined diesel unit. The Indigo is also considered to be of the shortest sedan cars in the world, in terms of length. The car is priced incredibly low that there is no other sedan to compete with it in its segment.
The overall body of the Indigo is almost identical to the Indica, except for the addition of a very short and ugly looking boot which sticks out at the back. The car is not the greatest in terms of physical appearance, but has been designed to be very practical. It still has all the implements from the Indica including the short bonnet and the lack of any sharp lines. The car is less than 4 metres in length, but it now has an extended wheelbase of 2450mm.
When you enter the Indigo you will not find anything appealing. The space is similar to that of a hatchback in the front, but the rear does get a little more added space. The dashboard remains very lifeless and the quality very poor.
The ergonomics once again are a problem as the steering wheel is not placed comfortably and the switches are hard to reach.
The 1.4 litre diesel engine has been taken from the India eV2 but has been tweaked with to provide a very good fuel economy. It is still a rough engine delivering 69bhp. The engine is mated to yet another rough and poorly engineered 5-speed manual transmission.
The Indigo is not a comfortable car to drive, but you do get a good amount of power. Because it is light the car can move quickly, but only after a huge turbo lag. The torque is decent and that is what you essentially feel moving you forward. It’s a good car in the city, but there are lots of vibrations in the cabin. The suspension setup is decent and does the job of not tossing you out of your seat every time you hit a pothole. The ride quality is average. The steering however needs some serious work and there is plenty of body roll. On the highway it doesn’t feel too good but again it does the job. The gearbox is a real mess and you will struggle with it at times. The clutch also is too light and placed in an awkward position.
The new Indigo eCS is claimed to give a fuel economy of 25kmpl, but in reality you get around 15kmpl in the city and 19kmpl on the highway which is still quite good.
The new Indigo comes with air conditioning, power steering, power windows, and you also get a music system with USB and AUX capabilities as well as Bluetooth. There is nothing really special in terms of new age technology.
Thankfully Tata have put ABS as an option in the higher variant, otherwise the only safety features are central locking with keyless entry.
The quality of the interior cabin remains a huge issue. The dashboard is made of weak plastics and there are always parts falling off or making lots of noises. Tata should have corrected these issues in the new eCS variant, but they didn’t. However, the car is quite reliable and runs very well on bad roads. It is also very cheap to maintain with very low running costs and easy availability of components.
There is no other car that has the kind of practicality and economics as the Indigo. The car is very high on value for money, because essentially you are getting an entry level sedan for the price of a hatchback.
If you are looking for a nice sedan, the Indigo is not really the best bet. It certainly is practical and very economical, but it doesn’t look good, and it’s not really fun to drive. The rear space is average and the quality is poor. This is a car someone would buy if they were on a tight budget and stepping up from a hatch to a sedan. For the same price you are much better off buying a hatch that can perform better and look better.