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Old 23rd December 2005, 14:42   #1
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Default Indica TCIC - updated - 6500km after 1st service

Hello fellow members,

Find below initial impressions of my Indica TCIC.

Model : Indica DLX
Colour : Silver
Delivery : 12-Dec-2005
Wheels & Tyres : Stock (Bridgestones)
Mileage till date : Little over 650 kms

Buying Rationale
Daily Driving is close to 70 kms. Had to be diesel, preferably a hatch. Was sold on the Palio Diesel, based on my own test drive, spin in fellow member cream's Palio and basically the over build quality and looks of the car. While A.S.S was a concern, was not a primary factor or something I was too worried about. I'm sure its nowhere like its generally perceived as I have quite a few FIATS in my acquaintance/friend/relative circle and their experience is not in line with the sever beating FIAT A.S.S. receives, especially my brother with his UNO.
Basically there were only two contenders, the Palio Diesel and the TATA Indigo.

But had been postponing my decision for too long. Then problems with the heavy rains and production slated to start only by January. I know having waited this long, it was a small wait, but I had reached a state where I just could not postpone my purchase anymore.

The Indica was never on my list, it was always the Indigo vs. the Palio D. But the launch of the Indica TCIC, brought it into contention. With power comparable to the Indigo / Palio, it was definitely an option. Took a test drive. Was pleasantly surprised by improvement in overall quality.( though still not as good as the Palio D). Served my requirement for a diesel hatch. Close to 70K cheaper than the Palio D. So went ahead and booked it.

Startup Niggles
Might as well get the irritants out of the way first.
1. One of the Rear Seat does not "lock".
2. Cigarette Lighter does not work.
3. Door open Indicator on Instrument Panel does not work.

Build Quality
  1. To be fair has improved considerably over the time, even during the last year, since I have been checking out Indigos.
  2. New headlamp / fog lamp assembly looks good.
  3. Paint quality is excellent.
  4. Panel gaps still have scope for improvement.
  5. Biggest improvement is in interior quality. The cabin is a nice place to be in today.
  6. The new instrument cluster looks fantastic in its Red and White scheme. Illumination intensity of Instrumnent Panel can be adjusted.
  7. Power window and other buttom illumination scheme has also been changed from previous blue-lit to a new white-lit scheme.
  8. The fabric upholstery design that is on my DLX is quite good. A sober print that I can definitely live with. I had actually ear-marked a budget to do up the upholstery based on the fabric design I had seen on the test-drive DLS model. But this seems okay. Its a quiet grey self-checked pattern which goes well with the gray interiors. Will use it for a while, and then do up when it begins to age.
  9. Rubber beading around windows has improved. 9-months to a year ago, I had test driven an indigo where there was just this rubber strip, and that too was not aligned properly and I could actually see outside the car. In this department, they have come a long way.
  10. AC vents have been changed to all black and look quite good. Air-con is adequately powerful. I don't think it saps too much power.
Noise levels
  1. Well, I'll put it this way. I rarely need to use my horn.
  2. Inside the parking lot, it is really LOUD. And shutdown reminds me of my time spent in aircraft hangars during engine runs.
  3. However, inside its very acceptable, with general noise and minimal vibration settling into a hum, especially once the engine warms up and have driven a couple of kms. Even earlier I was impressed with the Indigo's noise insulation. I have no reason to complain this time round either, rather am quite impressed.
Ergonomics and Seating
  1. Power window buttons at the front awkwardly positioned.
  2. Dash height really could be lower. Could be a problem for slightly shorter people, especially since driver seat height adjustment is not provided.
  3. Steering wheel is chunky and inspires confidence.
  4. Seating feel is very good and I feel very well planted and comfortable.
NOT AN ISSUE. Plenty of space all round. Three of my pals were quite comfy behind. Front seat travel is generous. No one feels cramped as such. However, I do not have many 6 feet+ people in my immediate circle (just 1).

Ride Quality / Handling
  1. Handling wise, car feels well-planted and stable to me. However, I must specify that I am not a fast driver, so the verdict may well be different with spirited driving.
  2. Handles bad roads with aplomb. Even with a new car, I don't feel apprehensive about not slowing down on poor roads.
  3. Flipside is, ride is a bit bouncy on these concrete roads. Twice I actually stopped on the L&T-IIT Powai stretch wondering if I had a flat. Road characteristics do filter into the cabin, no denying that. On tarmac however, its beautiful (Eastern Express Highway) Rear suspension a bit too stiff basically. Could definitely be softer. I understand the Indigo and the Marina with their independent suspension and the gas filled shocks should score well on this front. I have to say, over the same roads, the Palio feels marvelous with absolutely no road characteristics filtering into the cabin and giving you much better insulated feel.
Engine, Gearbox and Turbo
Okay, this is a mixed bag actually, and fellow-members with good technical understanding should dissect it better.
  1. Turbo-lag is definitely present, but does not actually make things difficult. Meaning, in bumper to bumper traffic, 1st and 2nd gears are not a problem as the crawls along quite well without unwanted gear-changing. And i do not really need power as such in such a situation.
  2. My only gripe is the band between 30-40 kmph. Its a bit too high for 2'nd gear and too low for the 3'rd gear. At this speed band, in 2'nd gear, engine rpm is at sround 2000 rpm and sounds high pitched, but 3'rd gear does not have sufficient rpm and engine drags. So in traffic conditions like aarey road, there is a lot of 2'nd gear driving, which I am not happy with. I would have preferred it to be in 3'rd where engine sounds much more relaxed.
  3. 3'rd gear although is very useful. Maximum of my driving is in 3'rd gear. 40 to 60kmph and engine is quite relaxed. At fourth and fifth gear (Fifth gear is a friend I meet very rarely) the drive is really smooth.
  4. The turbo kicks in at around 2400~2500 rpm. Overtaking is FUN when you feel the turbo kicking in. But I wonder if it would not have been better to put a lighter turbo that kicks in much earlier. At least as per my driving pattern, it is going to be put to use only in 2'nd and 3'rd gears during overtaking and when i want to surge ahead. In fourth and fifth, the rpm hovers just at around 2000 rpm, with a max speed of 80~85~90 kmph. So unless I intend to hit speeds over 100~120 kmph, which for me, will be few and far between, I don't see the turbo coming into play at all.
  5. Gear shift feel and quality has improved over earlier models i have test-driven. While definitely not as butter-smooth as the Marutis/hyundais or Palios, its still quite acceptable to me. However, pedals could do with less force required to depress them.
Ahhh...this is where the real wides smiles start splitting my face.
  1. Mileage as calculated on last re-fill is 14.28 kmpl. Considering that almmost 70~80% of my driving is in 2'nd and 3'rd gear, I am extremely satisfied. I am sure this will go up once the engine is well run-in.
  2. Tankful in less than Rs.1500. yee-haw !!!!
  3. Entirely city driving. AC ON 90% of time.
  4. Have tried normal diesel, BP High Speed and HP Turbo Jet so far. Intend to stick with HP Turbo Jet.
Driving Pattern
1 Gear - 0 - 15 kmph
2 Gear - 15 - 35 kmph
3 Gear - 35 - 50~55 kmph
4 Gear - 50~55 - 65~70 kmph
5 Gear - 65~70 and above (Very rarely experienced)
  1. No ripping or high speed driving at the moment, at least till first service and even later i don't think i'll be doing much of that.
  2. My general driving style is quite sedate.
  3. Have touched a max of 3000~3100 rpm in 2'nd and 3'rd gears a few times while overtaking.
  4. Most of the time I ensure rpm meter hovers around 2000 rpm.
Conclusions at this stage
  1. Am I happy with my purchase decision ? Definitely yes. It fits my requirement to a T.
  2. Would I repeat my decision ? Yes. (At this stage, with no problems ;-)Hopefully, it should remain this way. )
  3. All other things being equal, would I go for the Palio D, if the extra 70~80k was not an issue ? Definitely Yes. I truly belive, the Palio is a much better finished product, with it scoring over the Indica in looks, handling and ride and general build quality. The Indica however, is unbeatable in VFM and quality levels have gone up considerably. I believe, as time passes by, the Indica has the potential to be the benchmark, provided TATA takes pro-active steps towards that end.
Hopefully, I should have a trouble-free ride in the future too. Look forward to putting a high mileage report in good time.

Thanksgiving and Acknowledgements
My thanks and gratitude to team-bhp and all fellow-members here who have contributed in a big way to my "education" and decision-making. I have learned a valuable lot and the sum-total of all the information in these posts have added up to my final decision. I hope to contribute meaningfully in days to come.


Last edited by hell_rider : 23rd December 2005 at 14:59.
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Old 23rd December 2005, 14:52   #2
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Very comprehensive report I should say. I have heard some good things about Indica Turbo. Hopefully Tatas have improved upon their quality levels. Enjoy your new ride.
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Old 23rd December 2005, 15:03   #3
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With power comparable to the Indigo / Palio, it was definitely an option.
The Indica Turbo is significantly quicker than the Palio D.

Thats a superb and seemingly unbiased review.

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Old 23rd December 2005, 15:13   #4
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Very nice review indeed!

Have the gear ratios been changed??

Last edited by DCEite : 23rd December 2005 at 15:15.
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Old 23rd December 2005, 16:09   #5
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Great detailed review hell_rider and objective too..congrats once again

Your buying decision seems to mirror mine almost totally and with similar results! I loved the Palio 1.2 (ELX/Sport) but ended up buying the Indica :-)
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Old 23rd December 2005, 16:52   #6
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really wonderfull review. It seems TATA's have improved indicas quality allot
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Old 23rd December 2005, 17:07   #7
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Thats a nice report.
Tata vehicles have improved a lot in quality but still have a long way to go.
Have a great time with your new Indica.
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Old 23rd December 2005, 17:54   #8
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Its not just Indica Turbo... I purchased a normal Indica some 5-6 months back. It has run some 4.2k kms till date and is soon will go for its first service. Irrespective of all the trepidations I felt, what with the grand Tata reputation, I am relieved to say that till date only two irritants have surfaced in all this running. During the first rain of the season the left Wiper arm lost one of the rebates. I have put in a couple of paper-pins through it and twisted them. Will get a rebate put in during the service. The other irritant that misteriously vanished after a few days was with the cabin lights. The left switch that switches the light on or off irrespective of the door being open or closed started acting funny. Now however it is ok. On its own!

Besides the above two problems everything else is nice and smooth.
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Old 23rd December 2005, 18:29   #9
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hey hellrider!

congrats on your new ride! how much did you pay for it on road??? (i assume you went in for the DLX) and is it a bombay registration???
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Old 23rd December 2005, 19:05   #10
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Its a DLX.

4.77L on road,

but got 5K cash discount and won 1k on scratch card, plus around 2000 off as i did not want that crappy tape player that comes with the DLX.

so basically got it for 4.69L

not aware of the change in gear ratios...will need to look up in specs and compare.

Last edited by hell_rider : 23rd December 2005 at 19:13.
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Old 23rd December 2005, 19:41   #11
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That is what I call a total value for money package. Low running costs with lots of space and a better engine. Congratulations on your purchase and that was a really well put and comprehensive review

Why dont you put up some pictures of your new baby in the garage section?
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Old 23rd December 2005, 20:03   #12
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i bought a dls in 2002 and have run it for more than a lakh kilometers and i was a lot more troublefree when compared to my previous carburetted zen which had clocked a similar mileage,i drove the indica turbo recently and was surprised by the fun to drive factor of the car which is better than most 1-1.2 liter petrol cars and being a diesel you can rev the car every time without looking at the fuel gauge,it revs to 5k rpm easily ,crosses 100kmph in 3rd gear which even accent crdi is capable of this makes it a great tool for highway,anyways congrats on your purchase.
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Old 23rd December 2005, 20:14   #13
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Hey Zappo, I would say every new Indica moves out of factory is better than the previous one. The quality has improved a lot. I own Jan-2005 V2, covered 10,000km, due for second service, no issues so far. I get an average of 18-20kmpl overall. We all have such bad memories of first lot indica that even a small issue found is blown out of proportion and on the same lines I will also say that my Indica's gear knob is rattling a bit, which I think should be taken care in service. From the feedback of my collegues, no car is completely issue free, issue can be minor or major. My friends brand New Palio had a problem of water seeping in from the clutch-break assembly area, other friend owning Wagon-R keeps visiting service station to take care of minor issues(since he has taken an AMC for 3000). So personal feeling is that minor problem with Tata car is seen as major and common whereas similar problem in other car is seen as exception.
Anyway ultimately all the issues cropping up also depend on how you drive, the road conditions and the fuel.
hell_rider, congrats on your Turbo and enjoy saving money on fuel.
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Old 27th December 2005, 02:04   #14
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That's a very well written review.. thanks a lot for putting so much effort for making this elaborate post.

Indica Turbo is a very very good deal for a hatchback diesel.

It's also fast(surprisingly fast compared to it's predecessor) for a diesel at high RPM's. Though i have not compared the Palio-D and the Indica Turbo one after the other(the Palio-D was driven a year ago), i think that the Indica turbo should be easily faster.
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Old 27th December 2005, 03:47   #15
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Superb review. Totally unbiassed but still highlighting the good points too. Keep it up,man. Do let us know about ur first service experience
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