The now famous Fiat 1.3 liter diesel runs in a higher state of tune to churn out 89 BHP (@ 4,000 rpm) and 200 NM of torque (@ 1,750 – 3,000 rpm). Yes, this is the Fiat Linea-spec engine. A key contributor to the additional power is a large variable geometry turbocharger. Owners report that the engine’s mid-range is especially strong, though outright acceleration is average at best (0 – 100 in 15 odd seconds). Also, turbo lag is on the higher side and negatively affects urban driveability.
The turbo-lag definitely takes some getting used to. This motor comes into its element past 1800 rpm. The diesel’s useful power band is between 2,000 – 4,100 rpms, though the engine can cross the 5,000 rpm mark for those times when you need to overtake a truck in the same gear. The Manza diesel can cruise on the expressway at 140 kph comfortably, after which progress is very slow. The diesel’s fuel efficiency and robust nature kept all of our reviewers happy. The 1.4 liter DOHC petrol is rated at 89 BHP (@6000 rpm) and 116 NM of torque (@ 4750 rpm).
Owners report that the petrol engine needs to be worked to perform. Driveability is good within the city, the 2nd gear pulling easily from 10 kph all the way to 80. The petrol is also smooth and revvs freely to its 6,600 rpm redline. Some of our reviewers quite liked the engine note at high rpms (classic Italian trait), however the noise gets unduly loud at speed and regular joes (non-enthusiasts) will find it annoying. Outright performance is, again, strictly adequate. NVH levels with either engine are acceptable whilst cruising; however, the cabin’s poor insulation shows when the engines are made to work hard. The Fiat C549 gearbox makes for the best gearshift quality seen on a Tata yet.
It has medium length shifts, some notchiness is obvious, yet overall gear-shifting action is decent (though not a patch on the Dzire’s shift quality). All of our reviewers spoke highly of the Manza’s urban ride quality. The suspension is perfectly tuned and keeps occupants comfortable within the city. Comfort levels remain excellent on flat expressways or even broken road patches. However, our reviewers did complain of excessive vertical movement from the rear suspension, when the Manza is driven fast over uneven highway patches.
The Manza has neutral handling characteristics. Owners recommend a sedate driving style, as it isn’t really built for enthusiasts. Sharp corners taken at speed will see the Manza understeer generously. Drive conservatively and grip levels remain decent. High speed stability is par for the course, though the steering seems vague and has a tendency to wander on the expressway. The turning radius is a reasonable 5.1 meters (Dzire = 4.7 and Linea = 5.5). In a first for a Tata car, the brakes have received “excellent” ratings. The ABS-equipped anchors do their job well and keep the Tata composed even under emergency braking conditions.