WHILE HATCHBACKS CONTINUE to dominate the small car market there is still plenty of opportunity for competitive four-doors and Tata has just added to the options with the release of its flagship saloon, the Manza. With its Imperial Group/Accordian Investments backing, Tata is steadily increasing its presence and reputation in this country and is busy with an innovative plan to improve and add to its dealership network, particularly in rural areas.
At the Manza’s Cape Town launch, the company made available the range-topping Ignis model for brief evaluation. The car is notably spacious, easily accommodating my 1.86-metre frame with another adult seated behind. The boot is massive, too. Features abound, including a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity, air-con, remote central locking, ABS with EBD, dual front airbags and ISOFIX anchorages.
On an 80-kilometre test drive the Manza showed up well, particularly over one notorious lengthy stretch of rough asphalt where the suspension easily soaked up the topography. The drivetrain is sourced from Fiat and the 1.4-litre Safire engine (remember Fiat FIRE and MPI?) has to be revved to achieve decent momentum – fifth is a cruising ratio.
The other models in the range are the Ini and Aura with pricing starting at R119995. Included in the sticker price are a generous 3-year/100000km warranty with roadside assistance and, more importantly, a 4-year/100000km service plan with the option of buying maintenance cover. A turbodiesel will be offered in due course