When I am driving I tend not to look at the drivers but at the way they are driving… and most often keep concluding about the nature of drivers by looking at and analysing the way they are driving. My driving mutterings always leave my wife in a good mood, for I tend to go off on satirical sojourns while driving – and this prevents me from either going too fast or driving carelessly. Both of these please her and so she encourages my rants.
Believe me I’m not alone in my road rants. Alexander McCall Smith writes in ‘The Good Husband of Zebra Drive’: ‘There were some people, it seemed, who were incapable of being pleasant about anything. Of course, the cars that such people drove tended to be difficult as well. Nice cars have nice drivers; bad cars have bad drivers. A person’s gearbox revealed everything that you could want to know about that person…’ Now the first intuitive feeling I had as I sat in the Vista D90 was that I needed to be a nice driver as this is a nice car. No, until then I had absolutely no inkling as to why this feeling came, but it was there. Only later did I realise that this was probably because of the nice way this car was handed over to me for three days of test drive by the executive who came from Tata Motors.
‘Sir, the D90 is designed to give you a silky smooth drive as it zips through the city roads,’ he began, ‘allow me to tell you something about its state-of-the-art technology, incredible fuel efficiency, and some features that are new in the world of cars.’ He explained to me all the complexities in a simple language… but hey, I wasn’t listening at all. I was busy looking at the plush interiors and was busy testing its Bluetooth connectivity with my smartphone. This went on until I heard him say, ‘Right Mr Passey, do contact me in case there is something that you wish to clarify.’
Did I tell you that all my life I have driven only a hatchback that doesn’t even have power steering, let alone any of the super fancy tech-trappings that this car was having. So when we came down to go for our trial ride the first thing I did was to test all the power trappings one by one. I was literally like a small child with an expensive toy and Specky watched me with a fair degree of amusement.
The Vista D90 looked young, well informed, and willing to take bold decisions as it had embraced new-age technology without a hitch. It was ready to connect through Bluetooth and pair me with upto 5 phones, had this fab tilt adjustment for steering that took care of my protruding belly that combined with my need to shift me seat to as much ahead as possible.
‘I love this tilt adjustment,’ remarked Specky, ‘or someone like you who has been missing his walks for over an year would just not have fitted behind the steering comfortable.’ Well, I sort of agreed with her and after our initial playing around with the controls, we gently eased out of our block of flats and plunged right into the heart of Delhi’s treacherous traffic. It was after I had driven the first few miles that this car wasn’t just trendy, smart, and tech savvy only in words but was actually designed to appeal to the subliminal impulses of any conscientious driver. I had by then fiddled with the 6-way height adjustments of the driver’s seat and even after an hour of driving I wasn’t as fatigued as I thought I would be.
My wife was reading some technical details on her iPad and she told me it was because the driver seat had lumbar support.
The next day we decided to take the car out for a long drive… and I was by that time, fairly acquainted with it. No, the car isn’t demanding at all and actually helps you make the right decisions. The Indica Vista D90 has a 90 PS diesel engine that is the fastest to go from 0 to 100 kmph in 15.5 seconds… no I didn’t try that but I was always the first to comfortably be in the lead after every traffic signal. Let me admit here that though the car speeds up fast, it never overwhelmed my driving instincts which told me that I had a machine that had power that could be under my control always… well, I found that a rather reassuring trait of the car. There were three incidents that impressed me most. One happened as my phone rang while we were at a crossing and I could see a traffic cop staring suspiciously at every car. The audio controls being right there on the steering wheel, I was comfortable able to connect to my call and converse without even attempting to pull out my phone from my pocket! And after the call was over, we were back to listening to that new song that my wife had just downloaded on her phone.
The send thing that I loved in the car was the DIS or driver information system that gave me the ‘distance to empty’ reading, average and instantaneous fuel consumption besides the other usual information. So I knew then that I had another 400 kms to go before I need to look out for a filling station. Even Specky was impressed by this feature and said, ‘Wonderful. This is even better than that illuminating ring around the keyhole that you were talking about.’
Well, the Vista D90 gives you a warning if your seat belts aren’t fastened, a driver-aligned dashboard, an intelligent rear wiper that starts automatically when the front wipers are on and you want to reverse when it is raining! There is even a solar sensor that adjusts the blowers in the car when it senses direct sunlight hitting. I haven’t even mentioned yet the follow-me home head-lamps that stay on for a little while as you are walking towards your home in the dark before switching off completely.
The Vista D90 is a charmingly intuitive piece of intelligent machinery and I really loved driving it on the roads of Delhi. For the ‘kitna deti hai’ sort of consumer, a 21.12 kmpl would be the answer, though in city conditions it gave me around 16 to 18 kmpl – yes, the DIS on the dashboard was constantly telling me how efficiently I was driving!
Besides the other factors, what I loved best was how well this feature-loaded car proves that it is uncompromising on power, performance, and technology!
The review is part of a review program on Blogadda. Review done after test driving the Vista D90 for 3 days.
Photo-review can be read here.
Video review here.
Review also published in ‘The Education Post’… read here.
13 February 2013