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Old 16th January 2007, 15:25   #1
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Default TATA INDICA: Is it still there?

I drive a Palio 1.2 ELX right now, but soaring petrol prices coupled with increased travelling distances, somewhere down the line i'll be thinking of a reasonably priced decent looking diesel hatcback, and TATA Indica is surely one of the option. But there are few things that still bother me about an Indica. I know it has improved leaps and bounds compared to the previous models and the indica is almost 7 years old now, but is it still there.
I travel to office daily in my office cab which is a spanking new Indica DLE.
The rearseat comfort is good in terms of space and support, but i find the front seats comparitively uncomfortable for someone with my frame (5 5"). The front seat base is small, the back is angled in such a way that if i try and sit with my whole back in line with the back of the front seat, it forces me to sit in an awkward postion so much so that i totally avoid it now. This is in total contrast to what people say abt indica's seat being very comfortable.
My second concern is the refinement, and its not abt the engine alone. The road noise filters too much into the cabin, so much so that the music playing on my laptop drowns in the noise. The feedback from the chasis and the seat of the pants feeling is good, infact its like gliding your hand over the surface of the road and getting to know the texture but the accompaying noise is too much to bear. My palio is the same minus all the noise inspite of being 35 k's kms old. The ride quality is just OK in contrast to people claims of indica having very good ride quality, its lumpy and everytime it goes over a bump or pothole the suspension makes a boomy noise in the cabin, not expected of the car. Even santro regarded as having the worst suspension is quieter over bumps.
The gearshift quality on recent indica's is really good, its a bit firm but very good none the less. The engine is still not refined, and i hope dicor versions takes care of it.
The inside fixtures and fittings are still just about average. I dont know how much time TATA needs to improve the quality levels, i am not expecting a toyota or honda quality interiors for the price but atleast decent quality.
Another major concerns that i have with indica is the rear suspension camber angle. Atleast 70% of indica's that i see on roads in delhi have disturbed camber. If you see the car from behind it looks like ( / \ ) the suspension has given in due to weight and i am sure it has adverse affects on the ride and wear and tear of tyres. I see this phenomena even with some Indigo's, is it due to substandard suspension attributes or a basic architecture problem? Would really like the techies here put more light on this.
Also please give your feedbacks about the problems apart from what i have mentioned, with the Indica (first hand experience not hearsay).

Thanks Everyone.
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Old 16th January 2007, 15:44   #2
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Hi there,

I had an Indica before I bought a Palio. There is no way you can compare an Indica and a Palio, even with the improved version. Palio though a dated design is much better built than an Indica in all respects.

U buy Indica only because it is cheap and runs on diesel. If you like enjoy driving then that is the last car you should buy.

Just wait for a few days. Swift/Getz/U-Va will all be coming out with their diesel cars. Then you would have a wider choice.
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Old 16th January 2007, 16:28   #3
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Disclaimer: Since I am just 17 and I don't drive, you can take my comments (which are honest and impartial) with a pinch of salt.

My family owns a 2003 Indica V2 Petrol and these are my few thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by extreme_torque View Post
I drive a Palio 1.2 ELX right now, but soaring petrol prices coupled with increased travelling distances, somewhere down the line i'll be thinking of a reasonably priced decent looking diesel hatcback, and TATA Indica is surely one of the option. But there are few things that still bother me about an Indica. I know it has improved leaps and bounds compared to the previous models and the indica is almost 7 years old now, but is it still there.
Yes, the Indica has improved tremendously and is still improving at a furious pace...Just compare any two Indicas which are produced within a gap of 6-10 months and the improvements are clearly visible.

Quote:
I travel to office daily in my office cab which is a spanking new Indica DLE.
Another Indica taxi!! Tell your chauffer to look after its general maintenance, (i.e., servicing, oil changing, wheel alignment etc) right from day one and you will have a peaceful experience.

Quote:
The rearseat comfort is good in terms of space and support, but i find the front seats comparitively uncomfortable for someone with my frame (5 5"). The front seat base is small, the back is angled in such a way that if i try and sit with my whole back in line with the back of the front seat, it forces me to sit in an awkward postion so much so that i totally avoid it now. This is in total contrast to what people say abt indica's seat being very comfortable.
What you have pointed it is absolutely true... But it has a small remedy. Put on good seat covers, the ones which have a fair bit of cushioning. Recline the backrest a bit, slide the seat backwards and you will be much more comfortable. Try it out and do tell me if u feel any positive change.

Quote:
My second concern is the refinement, and its not abt the engine alone. The road noise filters too much into the cabin, so much so that the music playing on my laptop drowns in the noise. The feedback from the chasis and the seat of the pants feeling is good, infact its like gliding your hand over the surface of the road and getting to know the texture but the accompaying noise is too much to bear. My palio is the same minus all the noise inspite of being 35 k's kms old. The ride quality is just OK in contrast to people claims of indica having very good ride quality, its lumpy and everytime it goes over a bump or pothole the suspension makes a boomy noise in the cabin, not expected of the car. Even santro regarded as having the worst suspension is quieter over bumps.
Since it's a diesel, engine noise is gonna be a bit of an issue but I feel that you might get used to it afterwards.
About the suspension and road noise, the sound is evident when the car is brand new especially the thumping of the suspension when it goes over concrete joints on the flyover. But believe me it diminishes after a few thousand kilometres almost completely.
In general, the Indica has a stiff suspension which has its own sets of merits and demerits. First the demerits, if u sit on the rear sit, you might feel the ride to be a bit choppy especially if the car is with few occupants. But the strong point is that you get a much better ride quality on the highways at high speeds where the car maintains its composure and thus, it does not perform salsa when it goes over undulations at high speeds, while some other hatches will dance and bounce in the same situation.

Quote:
The gearshift quality on recent indica's is really good, its a bit firm but very good none the less. The engine is still not refined, and i hope dicor versions takes care of it.
Since I don't drive, I would not unnecessarily comment on this. But once again about the gear shifts, once the car logs in a few kilometres and you get the hang of it, then gear shifting would be a much better experience.

Quote:
The inside fixtures and fittings are still just about average. I dont know how much time TATA needs to improve the quality levels, i am not expecting a toyota or honda quality interiors for the price but atleast decent quality.
That is an area of concern, but the quality is much better today in 2007 than what it was in 2003.

Quote:
Another major concerns that i have with indica is the rear suspension camber angle. Atleast 70% of indica's that i see on roads in delhi have disturbed camber. If you see the car from behind it looks like ( / \ ) the suspension has given in due to weight and i am sure it has adverse affects on the ride and wear and tear of tyres. I see this phenomena even with some Indigo's, is it due to substandard suspension attributes or a basic architecture problem? Would really like the techies here put more light on this.
I am not technically qualified to comment on this. So no comments.

Quote:
Also please give your feedbacks about the problems apart from what i have mentioned, with the Indica (first hand experience not hearsay).
The pre-V2 Indicas use to have major mechanical problems. But the picture is a lot lot better today. Major problems are almost nil. But do expect small niggling problems like fused light bulbs and stuff like that. The petrol Indica had a problem of a rusting exhaust system but it seems it has been rectified out now.

In short, the Indica is a nice car if it's in the right hands. The Indica is a double edged sword, i.e, if you find a small problem in your car, rectify it at the first opportunity and you'll be a happy owner. But if you leave that problem unanswered for months (like most cab owners), you'll be in big trouble.

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Thanks Everyone.
You are always welcome .
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Old 16th January 2007, 16:37   #4
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I'm curious to know why you are considering the Indica when you yourself have pointed out its various flaws. Patriotism? Liking for the Tatas?

Contrary to what you say, it's the rear seat of Indica that I find uncomfortable on long drives. It has a small base that doesn't provide sufficient underthigh support. One realises this on long journies, not during short, intra-city trips. It appears that the seat was designed that way just to make the car look more spacious. If you increase the seat's size, the leg space would appear lesser. Also, the rear seat is too hard. I make it a point to occupy the co-driver's seat whenever I have to undertake a long journey in an Indica cab, which usually is an ordinary Indica used as a cab, not the Indicab. Sometimes, I even occupy the driver's seat just to get a feel of Tata's latest round of improvements.

Tata haven't yet managed to get rid of the pulley-sound in Indica/Indigo engines. My neighbour's six month old Indigo DLX TDI, when started in the morning, produces the same horrible sound as the first-lot Indicas produced. That sound puts you off so much, you can nearly decide not to buy the car after hearing it.

Indica's ride quality would be better if it used higher profile tyres, something the FIAT engineers realise (they fit 80 profile tyres on Palio) but Tata doesn't, in spite of being an Indian-origin car maker. Tata uses 65 profile which also causes frequent rim-bending. Higher profile tyres offer better cushioning on bad roads.

I hate the gear shifting of Indica/Indigo. It's soggy and imprecise, even causing one to engage the wrong gear. Don't know if they've improved it recently.

Forget the Toyotas and Hondas, the interior fit and finish does not match even that of Maruti cars which too are made in India, by Indians.

The camber problem in Indicas has been discussed before on the forum.

Soon, you'll have many other diesel options, better than the current Indica, including from Tata Motors:
  1. Swift Diesel (1.3 JTD )
  2. Getz Diesel (1.3 CRDI?)
  3. Santro Diesel (1.1 CRDI)
  4. Indica V2 (1.4 DICOR)
  5. New Indica V3 (1.3 JTD, perhaps with 1.4 DICOR also)
  6. New Palio Diesel (1.3 JTD)
  7. Ford Fusion 1.4
The list will get longer if we include cars from other segments.
A few months back, Autocar India did a cover story on new diesels expected in 2007. Wonder if you read it.

Cheers!
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