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Old 16th December 2010, 20:36   #1
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Default Detailed review of the Tata Indigo LS at 42000km

1. The Need. I was blessed with a second child and sadly, had to let go of my 1998 Zen VXi(silk smooth jelly bean). No money to buy a bigger MNC car but needed a 3 box sedan with a big boot, what to do? The Indigo had just been released a couple of months back, I think, and the price-size combo seemed attractive so out came the paper, pen and calculator.

2. The Research I made a data base of about 22 cars of the time (2004). Now, my wife and I are both a shade short of 6 feet in height, so, front and especially rear leg room were critical. The rear leg room of the Indigo was not matched by ANY of the balance 21 cars, NOT EVEN BY THE MERCEDES E-CLASS. Other higher end cars were out of reach.

3. First Look A neighbour in Suratgarh (where I had been posted at the time) got one and I checked her out (the car, not the neighbour;-) The size of the boot, the legroom, the fit and finish seemed a helluva lot for the terrrific price. I had to be satisfied with only sitting on the seats, extremely comfy. After my dad's Esteem, the sense of space was really liberating. My wife, who drives a lot, was quite impressed. After the Ze, this was a HUGE car, inside-out. Decision made, booked one at Pandit Auto, Pune.

4. The Delivery Got the delivery in Jan 2004. Cooperative dealer, but poor lower staff. The elderly lower staff tended to abuse the power steering by turning the steering wheel while the car was stationary, were brutal with the accessory fitments etc. I had to give the MD of the dealership a rocket for that. Otherwise, good dealer experience.

5. 5 years and 32000 kms later. 2004: Pune to Suratgarh, first trip and a long one at that. Absolutely hassle free, rock-steady at 90 kmph (max speed for first 1000 kms as advised by the windscreen sticker, obeyed it...), nice weighty power steering, excellent brakes with adequate feel, good AC. Even then, I could feel the AC sap about 30% of engine power specially while moving off and then overtaking at around 60 kmph. The habit of reflexively switching off the AC at these times got inculcated pretty early;-) Later, over the years, Suratgarh to Jammu, Jammu to Vaishnodevi & back, Jammu to Patni Top & back, Jammu to Delhi, Delhi to Doon & back, Delhi to Jaisalmer & back,Delhi to Pune, Pune to Goa & back were some lovely rides. Plus lots of short trips in all these places for shopping, work or just feeling the breeze...
The feedback below is of my personal experiances, others may have others. I maintain my car very carefully in all ways - clean/change filters before time, use the best fuel available, keep tire pressures correct and treat the car with feeling and respect.

6. Strengths.
-- Max car for the price in India. Terrific front and rear legroom, humongous boot -3 large s'cases and 2 duffel bags on the sides, no probs.
-- Solid built, will definitely save your life in a crash. Very comfortable front and rear seats, roomy and wide.
-- Dirt cheap spares, specially the rotables like fuel, oil, air filters.
-- Fuel efficiency completely dependant on driving style. 90+ (highways), max 16 or so. A more sensible 75 to 80, easily 18.5 or more.

7. Hassles
--In Delhi(2005) consistent coolant leakage from radiator hose jubilee clips. Repeated tightening solved the glitch, never to return.
-- Again Delhi,(2007) summer, hot engine, stopped and switched off engine in front of shop, on return, refused to start. Ominously, it happened once on Rajsthan trip, at Pokhran. Had to push-start her like a truck, she started in 5 meters though. Starter motor turning the crankshaft but engine not firing up. Allowed her to cool, instant start. Took her to service stn, serviced the self starter, prob not resolved, changed bty, ok then onwards.
-- Again Delhi(2007) high voltage surge destroyed two sets of headlight bulbs. Some prob with the shaft of the alternator, changed it, ok then onwards.
-- Pune (2009) Remote locking fuse blew, replaced it, ok now.

8.Conclusion. An honest, down-to-earth "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" version of the ubiquitous OK TATA 207/407/607/ etc etc. Very much like the average Indian family - generously proportioned, large-hearted, very forgiving of minor ill treatment, when badly upset will do a Tandava on your head, has her/its own little quirks and idiocyncracies, cheap to start and maintain one, one or two serious kicks to you to remind you of how precious she/it is in your life and VERY MUCH INDIAN!!!! And nowadays, sadly, going out of fashion and being subjected to much abuse by people ignorant of her/its true values and merits.


After the 3rd set of bulbs went and I started getting repeated Engine Check warnings, I spoke to my auto engineer at Pandit Auto. He was quite frank in telling me that with such a litany of issues in the 5th and 6th year of ownership, it would be wise if I were to sell it. I was mortified as were my wife and kids; our baby had served us really well all these years. But then, the maintenance costs in the last 2 years went to a point when they had averaged to over Rs 12,000 per year for the past 6 years. Sadly, it was time to let her go. I had maintained her very well indeed and with a 2 month old CD player and 1 month old set of upholstery, I got 2.5 lacs for her. She went away in Feb 2010 and was replaced (not entirely so…) by a Swift Dzire LDi. But till today, I feel a twinge of nostalgia whenever I see a Silky Silver Indigo LS with a MH 12 BV 9812 plate... Wherever you are, be safe.
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Old 16th December 2010, 23:50   #2
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Default Re: Detailed review of the Tata Indigo LS at 42000km

That was a very nicely narrated honest review, sad to read that you have sold your loved possession. After selling you could have opted for her new sister Maanza

Well, how is the ownership experience of Dzire?? Is it better/some what ok when compared with your Indigo??

Some pics of your Indigo please
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Old 17th December 2010, 07:32   #3
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Default Re: Detailed review of the Tata Indigo LS at 42000km

That was nicely written Joe.
I can feel the nostalgia that you feel for your Indigo. A car is like a pet, always ready to please you (well, almost always with most cars) and is very difficult to let go.
Hope you have a better experience with your Dzire.
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