It was Ratan Tata’s dream to develop an affordable diesel car for Indian car buyers. Back in the 1990s diesel was a lot cheaper than petrol and even the existing petrol cars weren’t spacious. Keeping these things in mind, Mr Tata introduced the Indica as Tata’s first hatchback and this also went on to become the first diesel hatchback for the Indian car market.

The Indica was again way ahead of its time. It looked extremely stylish as an Italian design company designed it, to win the appeal factor. The Indica with its tiny front grille and eagle-like fascia did become a runaway success in the Indian car market. In those days there weren’t many options and the Indica was gaining a lot of popularity. It wasn’t just stylish, but it was compact also that made it easy to drive in the city and even park conveniently.

Tata’s biggest selling point was its space and comfort. These same advantages had trickled down even in the Indica. The Indica wasn’t just spacious but even the levels of comfort it offered back in the late 90’s was amazing for a hatchback. The other hatchbacks back then were cramped and lacked in the space department. The boot of the Indica was extremely large too. It was larger than all other hatchbacks in those days. Soon, the competition started following this trend started by Tata and there were many more spacious hatchbacks.

The Indica came with a 1.4 litre petrol engine and even the diesel engine option was a 1.4 litre. This was the company’s first small diesel engine and the smallest diesel engine in India. The petrol engine was quick and has a good punch, while the diesel went on to become the most fuel-efficient diesel engine in India, be it against any petrol or any other diesel engine.


1) Indica LEi

2) Indica LSi

3) Indica LXi

Our Verdict

Tata Indica will go down in history as the first Indian made passenger car from the homegrown automaker, Tata. The car was first introduced in 1999 and as was expected, consumers and auto enthusiasts’ flocked to this car and praised it for its road-worthy performance, fuel-efficiency, good mileage and low maintenance costs. And not to miss, its design was keeping in with the times. But yes, there were initial hiccups and complaints pertaining to noise, suspension, breakdowns etc. Yet. It learnt, adapted and continued its ride. The Indica lived up and its subsequent models and versions are living up to the tagline, ‘More car, per car.”