Ninety-four thousand rand will not buy you much with four wheels these days, but for that amount, you could get a Tata Indigo SW with all the bells and whistles required to carry a small family in comfort.

by Hailey Philander

Ninety-four thousand rand will not buy you much with four wheels these days, but for that amount, you could get a Tata Indigo SW with all the bells and whistles required to carry a small family in comfort.

Well, the aim, according the Tata, is to provide affordable, quality motoring to South Africans. At R93 995 for the GLS, and R106 995 for the flagship GLX model, these cars certainly are affordable and, packed with a heap of comfort and safety features, they undercut their station wagon rivals by a mile.

Tata's description of the car at its Wednesday launch was rather confusing. The marketing boffins have labelled it an MUV, or Multi Use Vehicle, apparently because it is bigger than a conventional hatchback, but smaller than a station wagon.

Well, I'm not entirely sure about that. Vehicles such as Peugeot's 206 SW and the Fiat Palio Weekend are in roughly the same size category, but they haven't tried to create a whole new market segment based on that. The Indigo MUV was also referred to by Tata focus groups across the country as the "Indigo Versatile" and a "pregnant hatch". Calling it a station wagon should be fine, then...

On our leisurely drive through the Magaliesberg region in the North West province, we had more than enough time to become accustomed to the Indigo SW. Spacious and comfortable, it has enough room in the rear even to accommodate adults, though it is doubtful that this would really be practicable, especially at altitude, because of a lack of power .

Both Indigo SW models are fitted with a 63 kW 1,4-litre engine that produces its peak output at 5 500 r/min and a torque figure of 120 N.m at 3 000 r/min. One of the first things Tata SA executives pointed out was that it is a family car, not a sports car. However, this information did not do much to dissuade the group of eager motoring hacks gathered at the media launch on Wednesday, despite the engines' protests.

To read more about the new Tata Indigo and view the gallery click here.