Tata has thoroughly updated its successful Indigo eCS. But is it enough to make it leapfrog stiff competition from the impressive Mahindra Verito Vibe?
The Indigo eCS was one of the most affordable, and efficient, diesel compact saloon you could buy. It was very basic and sparsely equipped, but the Indigo was perfect for the market, it was and is the cheapest saloon available, and that made it a best seller. But with our market constantly evolving, customers have started to become more demanding. The Indigo though was getting long in the tooth, so an update was required. And that’s precisely what this update is all about; spruced up looks, more features and, believe it or not, vastly improved mechanical bits.
With the new Verito Vibe, Mahindra has embarked on some serious image enhancing of its own. The new Vibe gets edgier styling and plenty of sporty details, and is almost different enough to make you forget the car on which it is based; the boring Logan. Now under four metres long, the new Vibe is also more affordable, better equipped and more refined too. But is it good enough to beat Tata’s ace of base, the seriously well priced Indigo eCS. The Tata, after all, is cheaper than even the mid D4 Vibe we are comparing it to.
What are they like to drive?
The new Indigo eCS uses the same 1.4-litre common-rail diesel motor as the old car. But now, it has been tuned for better performance and has an improved cable-shift gearbox. Now there is very little turbo-lag at low engine speeds, and acceleration is almost instant and very strong. The gearbox is both slick and very accurate to use and, as a result, the eCS is surprisingly fluid and effortless to drive. There’s no doubt, performance, refinement and mechanical sophistication have taken a big leap here. Thanks to its strong engine, the Indigo eCS reaches 100kph in a decent 16.15 seconds.
The Vibe is powered by a 1.5-litre, Renault-sourced, four-cylinder diesel motor. Producing 64bhp and 16.31kgm of torque, it is less powerful than the Tata. But what this engine lacks in outright power, it makes up for with its linearity and smooth power delivery. The clutch is light and progressive and, thanks to the responsive nature of the engine, it’s the more relaxing car to drive in town. Acceleration is strong till about 3500rpm, but past that speed, there is