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Nursing your fuel

autos Updated: May 19, 2011 01:24 IST
Highlight Story

Tata Motors hasn’t given up yet on its 13-year-old hatchback, the Indica. It has just launched the eV2 variant and says it’s the most fuel-efficient car on sale. According to the official Indian Driving Cycle (IDC), the eV2 gives an unbeatable 25kpl, but is it as efficient in the real world?

The engine is essentially the same 1.4-litre with some modifications to the ECU. There are some subtle changes to the body as well that Tata claims have helped efficiency.

Responsive engine
What gets your attention is how responsive the engine feels at low revs. It’s reasonably quick for a budget diesel hatchback and 100kph from a standstill is crossed in under 16 seconds. This performance is a godsend as you don’t have to use the imprecise gearshift too much. The engine is slightly smoother than before. However, at high revs, the 1.4 Dicor is noisy and there’s a fair amount of vibration coming through the floorboard and pedals.

The suspension remains unchanged, so there’s not much difference in the ride and handling. The low-speed ride is absorbent enough but the eV2 still jiggles over road undulations. The suspension is quite clunky too, and at higher speeds, the car gets quite unsettled. The steering is non-linear and vague.

Unaddressed issues
Slip past the incredibly wide opening doors and slide into the driver’s seat and you will be re-acquainted with the Indica’s time-honoured glitches. The high-set steering wheel, tall dashboard and awkwardly placed pedals mean that a few long stints behind the wheel will have your back hunched up and leave you with aching feet.

However, all this is forgiven when it’s time to tank up. The eV2 is genuinely fuel efficient, returning an amazing 15.3kpl in the city, which betters the old engine by 1.5kpl. The eV2 even beats fuel-efficiency champs like the Swift and Figo diesels which return 14.4kpl and 14.1kpl respectively. On the highway, the eV2 is very impressive too, cruising along efficiently to clock 19.3km for every litre of diesel.

Autocar India

Tata Indica EV2
Price: Rs 4.77 lakh
(ex-showroom Delhi)
L/W/H: 3690/1665/1485mm
Wheelbase: 2400mm
Ground clearance: 165mm
Trunk space: 220 litres
Kerb weight: 1080kg
Engine: 4 cyls in-line, 1396cc
Installation Front, transverse
Power: 70bhp at 4000rpm
Torque: 14.5kgm at 1800-3000rpm
Gearbox: 5-speed manual
Fuel economy
City: 15.3kpl
Highway: 19.3kpl
Fuel tank: 37 litres
Tyre size: 165/65-R14
Brakes (f/r): Ventilated discs/ drums
Spare: Full size

Verdict
If all you care about is running costs and you are on a tight budget, the eV2 makes a decent case for itself. At R4.77 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), there is no car that can match what this Tata hatchback offers. However, there are other better alternatives if you can stretch your budget a bit.