Tata Nano Indica and Volkswagen Beetle and Polo
Delivering on a promise made some years ago, the Nano is an epoch-making car that is genuinely good. Extremely well thought out, the Nano is roomy, practical and very capable, with the 34.5bhp 624cc twin acquitting itself well and providing for excellent fuel economy. Handling is tidy, ride is decent and driveability in town is good, though for long distance highway duty this may not be the answer. With the plant in Sanand, Gujarat, becoming operational the production capacity has increased and there is no real waiting
period for the Nano anymore.
TATA INDICA V2
Tata’s first serious attempt at designing and making a car, though one must remember that the Tata Estate from the early I990s was labelled a car too. The lndica, launched with much fanfare in 1998, is still very much around. But it does not comply with BS4 norms and has been discontinued in l3 cities where these norms are applicable, including Mumbai and Delhi. A lot of car for the money, the lndica is excellent value. Dynamics are still suspect, though reliability and build quality has improved and with prices down, the car is very good value for money.
TATA INDICA VISTA
lndia’s own hatch has indeed grown up. Not just in size but also in the other major areas – quality, refinement and NVH levels. But the styling still remains very similar to the earlier one. What’s good is that the Vista has a better ride quality and the steering is light and accurate and offers better feel than before. The Vista Quadrajet diesel sports the 1.3 multijet diesel engine from Fiat. The older lndica is still available in both petrol and diesel variants. But you might want to stick to the Vista and go in for the one with the refined and
very efficient I.3 diesel.
The beautiful bug from VW was born in the I 930s and it became one of the largest selling cars in the world. Reinvented in 1998 as part of the’retro’ movement, it won back the hearts of millions of motorist around the world. Launched as a halo car for VW in lndia, the Beetle is nearly ten times more expensive than your average small car. But that’s the price you must pay for fine engineering and nostalgia. And it never fails to evoke a lot of interest and you are sure to attract crowds and attention if you get yourself this cute bug that is also a fairly decent performer.
Finally launched in 2010, the made-in-lndia Polo is pleas- I antly stylish with elegant and well balanced proportions. I The near perfect panel fit, the business-like instrument clus- I ter and two-tone beige black interiors are indicative of high I quality and have German written all over them. The 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol and diesel engines are not very refined and I lack a sense of urgency. Gear shift action is precise and well I weighted. The impressive fuel efficiency, good handling and ! trigh speed stability make it a good long distance vehicle! too.
Bottomline: German quality for a sub 5-lakh price.