Sedan’s the Man-za

2012-09-21 13:47

Indian car maker Tata has finally launched a sedan model on local shores.

I spent the weekend in Cape Town, where it was launched, getting familiar with it.

I didn’t expect the Tata Indigo Manza to steal any second glances from passing motorists, but it did.

Because it isn’t a complete intrusion on the eye, and mostly because it’s brand new, most people wanted to know what it was. Heck, I even got a “that’s a nice car” compliment at the garage while filling up.

I forget everyone is not a car freak and simplicity works for most people.

That and affordability are often the key factors when looking for a new car.

Many people buy cars to take them from point A to point B, and little else matters.

The Manza is available as the entry-level Ini or the higher-specified Ignis. Both are powered by a Fiat 1.4-litre Safire engine, which produces 66kW of power.

The units use a continuous variable cam phaser, which adjusts valve timings and intervals for better power delivery.

The car also features an aluminium bedplate with added insulation to reduce road noise.

A diesel model will be added to the line-up at a later stage.

I took it for some proper drives and put it through its paces.

One of the best routes to test a car’s handling is the coastal road to Betty’s Bay from Gordon’s Bay, about 100km out of Cape Town.

While this isn’t a race car, it managed to throw itself into the corners and came out on the other side of them in one piece.

I also took it out to Paarl while it was a sweltering 36° C outside.

I was grateful for the Manza’s powerful air conditioning, or else I would have probably melted.

I found the clutch to be a bit sticky and gear changing was not half as smooth as what I would have liked.

Even with the fuel price being so ridiculous, it cost about R500 to fill the tank and I got just more than 500km out of it.

It has a three-barrelled headlamp cluster, which is probably its most distinctive feature on the front end and it sports flared wheel arches for its 15-inch alloy wheels.

It rides high off the ground, though, and could probably do with a lower suspension.

I found myself tripping in and out of it.

The boot is huge and can take 460 litres of luggage.

It has electric windows, a centre armrest in the rear, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel and steering audio controls.

That alone is a good list of standard options on a relatively cheap car.

Safety features include the collapsible steering column, an ABS braking system and dual-front airbags.

The highlight is the rev counter‘s white needle that changes to a bright red when you reach the limit and need to change gears.

It might not have been the most fun car to drive, but it got everywhere I needed to go and provided enough room for passengers and shopping bags.

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