Tata Indigo was an outcome rather than a planned strategy. After Tata launched the Indica back in 1998, it did expect good sales. What Tata Motors never anticipated was the storm it will ensue after it’s launch.

The Tata Indica was a hit, there’s no question about that. But not just any hit, a legendary one. Tata Motors had revolutionised the car market. Keeping the success fever in mind, Tata went back to their boardrooms.

What came out of the boardroom meets, and endless efforts was the Tata Indigo. Tata had finally come out with a sedan for the personal car market. What had to be seen was, will the Indian car buyers buy a sedan as their personal cars? Or would the cab aggregators end up making the car a cliche taxi vehicle? Let’s look at what happened with Tata’s ambitious and experimental sedan.

Tata Indigo
Tata Indigo

The First Gen | Tata Indigo

The Tata Indigo was launched in 2002. In the first look, anyone would’ve gotten confused. It got its entire front end from the Tata Indica, the successful prodigy from Tata. However, things got interesting when looked from the side or the back.

It was one good-looking sedan. The car seemed proportionate and nothing like an Indica was forced to carry a boot around. However, the designing elements weren’t tweaked unnecessarily. It was a plain but good-looking 4 wheeler.

On the engine front as well, the Indigo got an upgrade. While Indica had a 55 hp 1.4 L diesel engine, the Indigo got the turbocharged version of the same engine. It developed 68 hp. To satiate the demand, the car was also launched with a petrol engine. This 1.2 L petrol engine generated 68 hp as well.

Inside, the car was totally different. It was surprisingly spacious. The cabin was so perfectly balanced for everything. Even though the legroom was generous, the boot was big enough to throw anything at it. The front seats were properly placed and at a decent height. Tata Indigo got some major design refreshments in comparison to the Indica. The models got some necessary upgrades such as HVAC, leather upholstery and power windows to sell it as an upmarket car.

Subparts of the Tata Indigo

In order to cater to a larger audience in the ambit of one single brand, Tata decided to come up with a well-thought plan.

The Tata Indigo was now sold as three different cars. The first vehicle that branched out of the Indigo brand name was the Marina station wagon. This car came up with a larger boot space and ski-roof rails. Now, it had a chance to rise up the sales ladder but didn’t. Station wagons had a rather stigma of ‘goods carrying cars’ among the people. Moreover, Tata had already tried to taste the segment before, with the Tata Estate.

Apart from the Marina, the other version also got bigger. It was the Indigo XL. Yes, you got it right. It did have a larger wheelbase for a much more spacious interior. So, much so that it seemed apt to add air-con vents in the middle for the rear passengers.

The third sibling in the row was the Indigo CS. It was kept under the sub-4-metre bracket in order to gain the tax benefits the cars carried.

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Another Experiment | Tata Indigo Marina
Another Experiment | Tata Indigo Marina

Second Generation | Tata Indigo

Times changed, consumer taste changed ad so did the Indigo. Tata pulled the plug on most of its existing Indigo models to make way for its upgraded sedan. The Tata Indigo Manza was here.

It was launched in October 2009 based on Tata’s X1 Platform. It had all the good things you could ask for. Now, in order to market it as a personal vehicle, the older Indigo XL was limited to taxi fleets and cab aggregators. This was done to market the Indigo Manza as a much more upmarket choice. Tata was adamant on stuffing the car with as many equipment and features as it is possible in a car.

Tata Manza | Luxury In A Budget?

The first Tata Indigo Manza came with a host of upmarket features such as a modern feature-set, including front SRS airbags, ABS with EBD; an audio system integrated into the dashboard, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, diamond-cut alloy wheels, and a  larger than ever 500-litre trunk. On the engine front, Tata ensured not to stay behind. Engines for the car was sourced from FIAT and were indeed peppy if not powerful.

As if, the earlier model wasn’t enough the car got an upgrade in 2011, with the Tata Manza ‘Elan’. It featured Italian upholstery, rear parking sensor and a slew of first-in-class features.

The following year, Tata decided too set a benchmark of luxury in a budget. The Tata Manza ‘Club-Class’ was here. It was a big moving palace. That might feel like exaggerating it a bit, but the feature list did make it awe-worthy. The Club Class came with the chrome-insert interior package, leather-wrapped gear lever, and a Blaupunkt-sourced infotainment system. The infotainment system came with a 6-inch touchscreen, GPS navigation software, and DVD video playback.

Also Read: 10 Forgotten Tata Cars In India: From Manza To Marina


Tata Indigo Manza
Tata Indigo Manza

In our opinion, Tata has always tried to stay away from the pack. While sometimes it did pay off well,  the other times weren’t so good. The Tata Indigo was one good vehicle. Yes, it had its own set of flaws but that’s what made it perfect.

Moreover, Tata did evolve it from time to time which made it even better. The result was the status Tata Indigo gained. For almost two decades the car ran on the streets all over India, doing its duty phenomenally. Now if that’s not legendary, we don’t know what is.

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