With Maruti all set to unveil the Swift Dzire Compact Sedan later this year or early next year and Mahindra also set to join the fray with the Verito Compact Sedan, the car maker who started it all, Tata Motors Limited is set to come up with its own compact sedan challenger in the form of the Tata Manza Compact Sedan. Incidentally, Tata Motors was the first car maker in India to have spawned an all new segment when it launched the Tata Indigo Compact Sedan.
Now, what is the big deal about a Compact Sedan?
A compact sedan is a sedan whose boot is usually chopped off suitably, for it to measure under 4 meters in length. All cars which are under 4 meters in length, with petrol engine capacity under 1.2 Liters and diesel engine capacity under 1.5 Liters qualify for a excise duty exemption. Car makers pass on the excise duty benefit to customers who benefit from a lower price tag of around 30 to 40,000 Rupees.
What are the compromises that a Compact Sedan buyer has to make?
While the wheelbase remains unaltered, the compact sedan usually does not lose out on space on the insides. The big compromise though is on boot space by Tata has demonstrated with the Tata Indigo CS that a good amount of boot space too can be achieved with a compact sedan design by so9me clever packaging. So, in essence, boot space and a slightly awkward looking rear is what is usually the result of a compact sedan.
However, some cars actually look better in compact sedan guise than in their regular sedan avatar. The Tata Manza having a bulbous rear will actually be transformed into a very appealing car when Tata chops off the boot. Also, with the superbly spacious interiors, the Manza Compact Sedan will become a terrific buy if it manages to shave off about 30-40,000 Rupees from its price tag.
Also, parking will become relatively easier as the car is almost the size of a hatchback now. While Tata will most probably shoehorn the 1.3 liter Multijet diesel engine in the Tata Manza Compact Sedan’s engine bay, it would be interesting to see what engine they will use for the petrol variant as the 1.2 Liter Xeta petrol on the Manza Compact Sedan would make it quite an under powered car.
If Tata goes ahead and uses the 1.4 Liter FIAT derived FIRE petrol engine for the petrol model of the Tata Manza Compact Sedan, the car will not qualify for excise duty benefits. Therefore, it will have to be a stripped out version to pare down costs to be priced below the diesel model or will have to be priced similar to the diesel model or perhaps, be sold with the 1.2 Liter, 65 Bhp petrol engine.
With the Indica Vista facelift now adopting the Manza’s styling, there is a very good chance of the Tata Manza Compact Sedan also getting the same styling treatment along with the plush interiors of the Manza. So, the Manza Compact Sedan looks like a terrific bet, on paper at least and Tata seems to have all the ingredients right for a great selling car.