I was one of the lucky ones, asked to drive and report back on the yet-to-be-launched Tata Vista D90, and so for the last 3 days, I have had my hands on a pristine, brick red, brand new, shiny new car, mine to drive around Delhi as I wish. All that was asked of me was my feed-back, which is easily done.
It’s a super little car, zippy, roomy and perfect for city driving.
Now despite having driven for aeons, I am not especially technically knowledgeable about cars beyond the basic essentials, so I decided to test the Vista D90 by subjecting it to 3 days of my normal Delhi routine. Lots of quick trips here and there. Far too many long, noisy, ill-tempered traffic jams. And the eternal quest for a parking slot. And in all these 3 areas, the car scored a perfect 10.
The Vista D90 handles well, accelerates brilliantly and moves with speed, all the time feeling safe and secure. I was able to zoom ahead when the traffic lights changed, overtake quickly and safely, and sudden braking (tested while we were later filming) was easy and without ever making me feel the car was anything but stable. In 3 days of test-driving, I didn’t actually need to brake suddenly, thank goodness, so the braking was admittedly deliberately tested. I was filmed driving today, some of which involved my coming to a screeching halt just in front of the (brave) cameraman, and so I know how smoothly and swiftly the car brakes. Equally, the pick up is fantastic.
So, the Vista D90 passed the Delhi driving tests, as far as I am concerned.
Next, the traffic jams. How did the car perform in them ? The Vista D90 is comfortable inside, has a great sound system, has an integrated Bluetooth phone on the dashboard, which meant that during the long jams on the BRT I could catch up on calls – and since everything is hands free, it is 100% safe.
There are controls for the phone and the music system on the steering wheel, which makes complete safety sense. You can pair up to 5 mobiles, there is a USB port, there are cup holders, so there is everything you need to entertain you while (hopefully) driving but also while you are stuck in traffic.
My 3rd testing criterion ? Parking. Since the car is neat and compact, finding parking was not an issue. I was, however, terrified that someone would scratch my on-loan car. No one did, though I did encounter one man who stared so long and hard at the car that he nearly toppled off his bike. We also encountered an elephant on our first trip, but since I was driving I couldn’t take a photo to prove it.
There are some useful touches and features :
a pen holder in the glove compartment, which means you don’t have to scrabble to find one.
the heated rear window, which really came into its own in the bitter Delhi cold.
the alarm that sounds if you try to close the door with the ignition key still in.
the alarm that sounds if the driver doesn’t belt up within a few seconds.
immediate automatic locking
I very much liked the fact that the Vista D90 is quite high off the ground, with good wide visibility. I felt more elevated than many other cars on the road, and there was no blind-spot.
The car is nice looking, comfortable to drive, feels very safe, and is roomy inside.
I have only one teensy quibble. There is literally no space at all to the left of the clutch, which means you tend to leave your foot on the clutch by default.
But that’s it.
Otherwise I loved driving “my” Vista D90 and felt a real pang when, filming over, I had to hand it back.