Tata Motors, India's leading car manufacturer launched the facelifted Indigo eCS this year with all bells and whistles. The vehicle has been facing some stiff competition from the likes of Maruti Swift Dzire and Honda Amaze, and this was the right time to give it a makeover. The exterior changes make the car look contemporary and offers a more aggressive stance. When it comes to upgrades, the 2013 eCS gets new front bumper, a new grille and smoked headlamps. The rear end features a chrome strip to provide more upmarket feel. The newly styled front headlamps with lots of chrome give it an aggressive look. The side profile looks elegant and now features new 14-inch wheels. Inside the cabin, the new Indigo eCS gets a new instrument panel, new upholstery, and four-spoke steering wheel instead of three-spoke and others, which makes the room more airy than ever. For music lovers, the new compact sedan has a new music system with Bluetooth functionality. Despite being the smallest sedan in the world, the new eCS offers enough space to seat five adults comfortably. It also offers 380-litres of boot space, which is sufficient enough to carry luggage for weekend trips.
The Indigo eCS has been doing decent business, and the reason being the brand's trust and its pricing. It is being offered in both petrol and diesel guise, and the company has also introduced the CNG version of the car for the buyers. The entry level CNG model is tagged at Rs. 4.99 lakh, while the high end model costs Rs. 5.27 lakh. The petrol models are priced in the range of Rs. 4.98-5.29 lakh, while the diesel variants start at Rs. 5.14 lakh and goes up to Rs. 6.03 lakh for the high end model.
The diesel Indigo eCS gets the 1.3-litre mill that churns out a maximum power output of 69bhp at 4000rpm and a peak torque of 140Nm at 1800-3000rpm. This engine returns an extraordinary fuel efficiency of 25kmpl. On the other hand, the 1.2-litre petrol engine produces 64bhp of power at 5000rpm and a peak torque of 100Nm of 2700rpm. The petrol mill too proves to be a frugal one with a decent fuel efficiency of 15.64kmpl. Both the engines are mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which transmits power to the front wheels of the car.
To keep buyers interested, the company has also offered some high-end features with new Indigo eCS including alloy wheels, ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), Bluetooth connectivity, rear arm rest, keyless entry and several others. The vehicle comes equipped with loads of comfort and convenience features including air conditioning, power steering, power windows at both front and rear, driver's seat one shot down power windows, adjustable front headrest, height adjustable driver seat, glove box cooling and several others.
New Tata Indigo eCs is world's one of the smallest sedans, though it offers enough space to carry five adults comfortably. It was Tata Indigo CS that started that introduced the compact sedan segment in India, which was later joined by Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze and others. When compared to its predecessor, the exterior changes help it look contemporary and offer a more aggressive stance to it. At the front, it gets a new grille with good amount of chrome in the centre. The smoked headlamps and slightly tweaked bumper add more style to its character. It is also noticeable that in higher variants, the fog lamp inserts are restyled with chrome surrounds. Moreover, the top-of-the line models also sports an all-new designed 14-inch alloy wheels. The rear end looks elegant with chrome strip above the license plate, though it largely remains unchanged.
The side profile of the car feature chrome highlighted side strips, body coloured door handles and side view mirrors with turn indicators. The new Indigo eCS has a well-proportioned rear with nice looking tail lamp cluster, dual colour bumper with reverse parking sensors and chrome touches on the bootlid.
The top-of-the line Indigo eCS comes equipped with 7-spoke alloy wheels, while the entry level variants get regular wheels with radial tyres and wheel caps. To offer a better grip on roads, it has a 175/65 R14 of tyre size.
The new Tata Indigo eCS is a sub-4 metre car, which measures 3988mm length, 1620mm of width and 1540mm of height. With a wheelbase of 2450mm, the car has decent space for both front and rear passengers. The vehicle has a 165mm of ground clearance, which makes it easier to drive through rugged Indian terrains.
Like its exteriors, the interiors of the new Indigo eCS also sees some upgrades to offer more upmarket feel to its buyers. The instrument cluster gets some styling changes to offer a sporty looks. The dials are now octagonal shaped with better material quality. It now gets a dual tone interiors (black & beige), which further enhances the overall cabin experience. The plastic quality is also improved and it is visible all around the cabin.
The new eCS has a four-spoke steering wheel which was missing in its previous model. Its predecessor had smaller 3-spoke steering, while the current model has larger, softer and easy to use steering. For music freaks, the car has a new audio system with USB port and Bluetooth connectivity, AUX-in facility. This is further enhanced by the inclusion of good quality 4-speakers and 2 tweeters, Radio, CD-player and digital clock. The high end variant comes equipped with a glove box cooling, driver's seat one shot down power window, cup holders, driver side height adjustable seat, power windows at both front and rear, auto driver assist and several other features.
The seats look similar to its predecessor, however, it now has better upholstery. The 2450mm of wheelbase offers ample head, leg and shoulder room for both front and rear passengers. Despite the smallest sedan, it offers a comfortable travelling experience to its passengers and this is what makes it the first choice among the travel and tourism industry in India.
Engine & Transmission
The new Indigo eCs is available in both petrol and diesel versions. The company has also introduced a more eco-friendly CNG variant of the sub 4 metre sedan. Its 1.3-litre Common Rail (CR4), 16-valve, DOHC engine, known for its high performance is now tuned to offer better fuel economy and refinement. The 1396cc engine churns out a maximum power output of 69bhp at 4000rpm and a peak torque of 140Nm at only 1800-3000rpm. The company has paired this engine with a new F-Shift gearbox (5-speed manual), which transmits power to the car's front wheels. This transmission makes shifting easier. The other diesel engine (BSIII compliant) is a TDi, turbocharged mill with intercooler. This powertrain produces a top power of 69bhp at 4500rpm and a top torque of 135Nm.
The petrol powered Indigo eCS gets the 1193cc, MPFI engine which is capable of developing a maximum power of 64bhp at 5000rpm and a peak torque of 100Nm at 2700rpm. Power is transmitted to front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission.
Performance & handling
The new Indigo eCS now features re-formulated dampers, which help the car absorb all the small and medium sized potholes with ease, thus resulting into better ride quality. It gets the new F-Shift gearbox which makes the gear-shifting much easier than before, though it still needs improvement. The clutch in the diesel powered compact sedan also feels very light and offers a soothing driving experience. The NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) levels have been improved as compared to previous models. The engine noise isn't audible in the cabin, which is surely a plus here, though one can hear the engine noise on high acceleration.
The new four spoke steering of the Indigo eCS is a rack and pinion type with Collapsible steering column. With new steering and a turning radius of 5 metre, it is easier to maneuver this car on busy Indian streets. Moreover, the ground clearance of 165mm offers better handling during runs on rugged terrains.
The tweaked engine and other changes make the car more powerful and high on performance. It takes around 18 seconds to catch the 100kmph mark from standstill when run on diesel fuel. The petrol powered Indigo eCS reaches 100kmph from zero in just 17 seconds. The diesel unit is good for long run and it can offer a top speed of 150kmph.
The new Indigo eCs offers a good quality braking system to its buyers. The company explains the system as vacuum assisted, independent dual circuit, diagonal split hydraulic brakes through tandem master cylinder. It features the ventilated disc type brakes at the front, while the rear has drum brakes. The front suspension in the compact sedan is of independent McPherson strut with Coil spring type, while the rear end sports an independent 3-link McPherson strut with Antiroll Bar suspension.
The Tata Indigo eCS is one of the country's most fuel efficient cars, with an impressive 25kmpl of mileage (ARAI certification). The CRDi engine offers an excellent mileage of 22kmpl in city condition and 25kmpl on highways. The BSIII TDi engine offers a fuel economy of 16kmpl in city and 19kmpl while driving on highways. The gasoline powered eCS returns a fuel economy of 15kmpl and 18kmpl in city and highways, respectively, while the CNG model has been claimed to offer 24.6km/kg of mileage.
Despite being a budget friendly car, the Tata Indigo eCS comes equipped with decent safety and security elements. Features like ABS (Anti-lock braking system) avoids wheels from locking up during sudden braking. Other safety features include central locking, keyless entry, E-ORVM with third lane visibility, LED high mounted stop lamps, child safety lock on rear doors, door Ajar, seat belt warning and collapsible steering.
The new Indigo eCS with its compact size and improved looks and interior features make it a good product to drive home. Not just cosmetic changes, the tweaked dampers and engine provide an excellent driving experience. With enhanced interior comfort and features, it is now easier to drive this machine on highways for long run. It well suited the buyers who are looking for budget friendly car which offers both practicality and comfort.
Currently, the sub-4 metre sedan segment has only three cars- Indigo eCS, Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and Honda Amaze. Hyundai Grand i10 sedan will join the league next year. So, for now, it's the Swift Dzire that is currently the top-selling vehicle of this segment.Honda Amaze that is a new entrant too is doing superb in terms of sales with slowly inching towards the magical figure of 10,000 sales per month. Tata Indigo eCS is also an excellent product, but it is mostly preferred by tour and travelling agents of India.
Honda Amaze is currently the country's most fuel efficient car in India. Moreover, it is also the most powerful diesel car in its segment with 98bhp of power. It offers a fuel efficiency of 25.8kmpl, while Indigo eCS returns a mileage of 25kmpl. Surely, the Tata's car lacks in power, but when it comes to drivability and spaciousness, the Indigo eCS is good enough, considering the price it comes at, though Amaze has an upper hand here. Additionally, the Amaze diesel has a problem with NVH levels, where the Indigo eCS has not such problems.
Maruti Dzire has the most refined engine, which offers a good fuel economy of 22-23kmpl. When it comes to drivability, it is better than its competition. It is powered by a 1.3-litre multi-jet engine which is tuned to offer improved performance and mileage. While Indigo eCS returns more mileage, Dzire scores high on drivability front.
Excellent fuel economy, good drivability
Looks could be better