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Old 15th October 2009, 16:02   #1
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Default Tata Manza 1.3 diesel - First Drive Report. Edit: Pictures added on Page 4.

Note : GTO's complete Manza test report has been uploaded here. Please continue the Manza discussion over on that link. This thread = closed.

The following report is NOT by GTO. The review has been compiled by a staunch supporter of Team-BHP, and one who prefers to remain anonymous. You know who you are, Thanks a ton much for sharing this review with us. The community highly appreciates this (as they did with your Nano report too)!

Don't discount this Tata product. Think about it, at Rs 4.8 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, you don't get any better space than this. And come to think of it, the competition looks overpriced. Consider this, the base version of both the petrol and diesel come with a 2-Din stereo with all the necessary aux-in(s), power windows, steering, central locking and decently finished interior trim. Besides, Tata isn't even shoving the regular Indigo down your throat anymore - so what if you have to live with the CS, Marina and XL!

Everything on the inside feels a generation up and is better built. There's acres of space, the dashboard has a nice soft-touch material and the Blue5 system works very well. The 5 in Blue5 means it can pair up to 5 phones at a time. Of course it will only engage one at a time, so don't get other ideas. Sound quality from the system is what one has come to expect from OE systems these days with sorted out treble and half decent bass. Our friends in the ICE section will be better able to dissect the system for us.

What matters most in a Tata car is the seating and seating comfort. On that front, the Tata continues the tradition well. You get lumbar support of some sort for the driver's seat that doesn't really aid much, but the seats are comfortable and large. The rear seat exceptionally so with its deep recesses for the seat squab and a comfortable position to place your feet on, unlike the predecessor where the front seat's rails would impinge on space.

Now, I can give you a good lowdown on the diesel, since I never got the opportunity to tell you about the petrol. The diesel is the same unit as on the Linea. There are marginal changes to the ECU programming and gear ratios, but the rest stays the same.

So to the most delicious part - it drives well. There's turbo lag, or at least my test car was afflicted with it. At 50 kmph, I shifted into 5th, the needle just ticking over at 1100 rpm. So I stepped on it, and for the next 20 seconds there was.... er, nothing! In the meanwhile, India could have engaged with a war with one of its neighbours, have planned out another green revolution, asked for three more commissions to be setup - and then I was sitting at 1800 rpm, the turbo boost kicked in and everything was as it should have been.

A small hiccup then. So why do I still insist on being a decent driving car? Well, if you know your Lineas, you know that the Multijet with VGT delivers most of its power at the upper reaches and when it does, there's no looking back. I saw a genuine 170 kmph (and am not talking odo here!) and it didn't feel strained at all. When was the last time you saw 170 on a Tata, folks? The metres are pretty accurate too, with the needle hovering at 175 kmph or so. Pretty impressive.

While the engine does lack low down grunt, correct use of gears prevents a repeat of what happens at 50. But the reason why I did that test was because most Indians go into top gear by 50-55kmph and even if they overtake, say a slow moving truck, they won't bother downshifting. Which is why, the nicely spaced ratios do the trick and one must learn how to use it to prevent yawn inducing moments.

Meanwhile, the steering is large and uses good quality materials, but is vague at some speeds and completely devoid of feel at others. Tata Motors insists they've tried their best, but I think they need someone who can tell them what a 'feelsome' steering is about. The gears engage quite well, and notchiness is on a lower scale than before.

Ride is extremely well settled at all speeds, while handling is more dependent on the good tyres rather than steering feel. Body control is pretty good for a car that weighs nearly 1200 kilos and has a tall and wide stance. And yes, these are the best brakes you will find on a Tata, with the Aura+ that I tested braking without a fuss. The ABS never felt intrusive or had a staccato feel to it.

I wish I could tell you more, but since the drive was kept to a fixed loop with limited kilometres to drive, so there are things that are better left for a much longer drive.

But for now, all I can tell you is, if you want something spacious, with lots of kit and features and at a price that doesn't shake you off your chair, then the Indigo Manza is the car for you. Add a more reliable diesel engine and decent fuel efficiency, impeccable ride and good braking ability to the equation and it seals the deal. For under Rs 7 lakh, this car is great value and makes the Linea feel a bit overpriced in the bargain. Tata really have yet another winner on their hands, which they promise to not sully by launching a Manza CS or XL. A Manza Marina perhaps, can't be ruled out.

More updates received on 17/10/2009

1. Manza means steer in Italian. But this thing still has still some way to go before it has a decent steer-ing. Lol.

2. Some don't get the drift about why Linea should worry. It should, because the car is identical in terms of features and is priced anywhere between Rs 70k to 1.5 lakh cheaper. And sold in the same showroom, it's hard not to convince why not Manza. Besides, it's no longer about how much margin you make on a car. Salesmen have moved beyond that and are now trying to sell cars people want. It's not so much "sell the most expensive car you can".

3. Fiat has to really decide if this partnership with Tata Motors is good in the long term. Right now, Tata is milking out all the benefits - it's definitely getting more out of this venture. IMHO, Fiat needs to take a call on whether it wants to be an engine supplier, sell some cars and be happy that they have some profits to make or sell a lot of cars and some engines and be one of India's top five auto manufacturers. Either way, I don't give this partnership more than three to five years, but stranger things have happened so I will be happy if I'm proved wrong

4. The Manza electric is on its way. Know this from a fairly credible source. No decision on India plans just yet.

5. I don't see a Manza CS or XL. There might be an estate, but that's how far they will want to take the platform as far as body styles are concerned.

Last edited by GTO : 30th October 2009 at 12:01.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:05   #2
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NOTE : Complete highly-detailed review (GTO style ) will be conducted in the near future.

Entry diesel prices (Delhi ex-showroom):

Dzire : 548,554
Manza : 570,000
Fiesta : 693,000
Linea : 701,985
Verna : 753,016

Price of first variant with ABS (Delhi ex-showroom):

Manza : 629,000
Dzire : 674,124
Fiesta : 737,000
Linea : 750,994
Verna : 804,926

My take : Whoa, outstanding pricing by Tata (as is mostly the case). Segment leading room, a proven fuel efficient engine and a much improved product (in terms of quality too). I don't think the Dzire will be affected as much as the Fiesta, Verna and Linea. The Linea especially, since its standing side by side in the same showroom + same engine + same aftersales. The Tata brand commands more trust than Fiat. That's one of the reasons behind the timing of the "Fiat First" release. The Manza's space can give some 14 lakh sedans a run for their money.

Tata needs to prove itself on the outright quality front (though some of its competitors are not blemish free either). The Indigo has sold a whopping 275,000 units till date, clearly showing the markets belief in a Tata sedan.

Some more info:

- Regular Indigo discontinued. Only CS, Marina and XL variants will continue.

- 15" wheels standard

- Boot space 460 liters

- Top variant equipment : Height adjustable drivers seat, electric mirrors (ORVMs), Multi-info display, 2 DIN music system with USB ++ Bluetooth, steering mounted audio controls, ABS, Dual airbags.

- ARAI mileage : 21.02 kpl! This is Maruti Ritz territory!

- 2 year / 75,000 kms warranty standard.

Last edited by GTO : 15th October 2009 at 16:47.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:06   #3
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Great review,am I the 1st to view this :-)

Another first from team bhp.Keep it up.

Am dying to get a TD,should give competition to the Dzire.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:07   #4
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Great start..where are the photographs?
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:10   #5
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Thats a neat and crisp review. What it lacks are the pics to do the talking.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:13   #6
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Another shot at Affordable Luxury by Tata.

Any pictures, please.

Manza at 170 kmph, truly speaks well for this product.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:17   #7
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nice review of manza, which promises to deliver the best of TATA so far.GTO a full review your style is awaited with loads of pictures and covering all parameters to know this car better as you always do.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:17   #8
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The VFM factor on a Tata car continues. Awesome first impression. The drive report shows that Tata has moved up from the previous Indigo just like they did when they introduced the Vista. If the Linea feels overpriced the Dzire has some stiff competition on its hands here.

Well done Tata but as usual lets see how the initial batch of cars fare.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:19   #9
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And anything to tell us about the cabin noise - does it seem well insulated?
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:19   #10
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Nice review.. the car indeed looks promising and can make people planning for the hatch to upgrade to a sedan without increasing the budget much
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:19   #11
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funny that there is so much turbo lag, especially in a VGT car, even more puzzling when the regular quadrajet engine has less lag than the DDiS. If this does affect all cars, I hope salvation its just a firmware update away

Last edited by greenhorn : 15th October 2009 at 16:21.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:21   #12
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Trust GTO, as always, to quickly come up with a test report of a new car! Good that Tata is giving the National engine of India, the Quadrajet/MJD/DDiS in the Manza too. Also, as per the manual, it says the Max torque of 20.4kgm comes in the 1750~3000rpm band so it should be more driveable compared to the Linea's 2500rpm in lower gears. We need a detailed test report GTO.

Keep it up!

Last edited by anilkalvani : 15th October 2009 at 16:24.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:23   #13
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Great to know that the car can hold it's own at 170km/h.

Now the battle begins Linea , Swift DDIS and the Manza , same engines different rides..

Last edited by RP_812 : 15th October 2009 at 16:37. Reason: Correction
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:27   #14
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Nice brief review, but pics are missing!

A nice, spacious & VFM car from Tata, with more reliability thanks to the Fiat MJD & Fire.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:32   #15
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Nice and short review, hope Manza does good numbers like the Indigo!!!
Pictures and details are eagerly awaited.
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