Tata Tiago Performance & First Drive

Tata Tiago Overview

The Tiago is Tata’s latest entry into the compact car segment. The new phase of Tata Motors began with the launch of the Zest where the Indian manufacturer has attempted to revamp the Tata image as a more modern and vibrant car maker.The Tata Tiago is available in five trims – the XB, XE, XM, XT and the XZ. While the XE, XM, XT have been around in the Zest and the Bolt, the XB (base) and the XZ (top-spec) variants are new. You can also opt for the safety package for as much as just Rs 18,000 over the XE, XM and XT trims.The Tiago offers a well-engineered, modern day package to the Indian buyers in the compact car segment. Tata Tiago On road price starts from 3,26,620/-. Check for price details of Tata Tiago in CarzPrice.

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Tata Tiago Design

The Tiago bears no resemblance to any other Tata product, which in our books, is a very good thing to begin with. The Bolt and the Vista were plagued by the ‘Indica lookalike’ tag which didn’t go down well with the masses. The hatchback follows Tata’s ‘Impact’ philosophy, just like it’s elder siblings, the Zest and the Bolt. It looks fresh, contemporary and modern. It is amongst the widest cars in the segment at 1647mm, second to only the Grand i10. It has a shorter wheelbase than the Celerio, in spite of being a full 146mm longer. However, it is the heaviest car in the segment by a considerable margin.

The front profile is home to a pair of swept back, smoked headlamps. Joining the headlamps is a curved strip of chrome that Tata calls the ‘humanity line’.The grille harbours a three-dimensional Tata logo and hexagon detailing that become smaller as they spread out towards the headlamps. The air dam is sleek and is peppered with some more hexagons. The fog lamps are placed at either end of the air dam and get a chrome surround as well. The subtle creases on the bumper complement the ones on the bonnet, thereby lending the Tiago a confident face

We particularly like the sharp character line that runs across the side of the car and finishes into the wrap around tail lamp. As is the norm in the segment, the Tiago gets blacked out B-pillars and indicators on the wing mirror as well.The side shows off the low-slung stance of the car beautifully, with the 14-inch alloys filling the wheel well. However, the design of the alloy itself is a bit of a letdown. In comparison, the diamond cut wheels on the Grand i10 look truly a class above.The rear profile is clean and minimalistic. The almond-shaped tail lamps and the faint character lines connecting the two look really classy. It also gets an integrated spoiler that houses a high mounted stop lamp.

However, the things that drew our attention remain the gloss black spoiler spats that are placed on either end of the integrated spoiler. Tata says that it not only looks cool but also aids aerodynamics. The matte-black finish around the number plate area helps break the monotony of colour at the rear. Notably, the exhaust is neatly tucked away from view. Boot space stands at 240-litres, which is on par with the Celerio for all practical purposes and is slightly smaller than that of the Grand i10.We will go out on a limb and say that the Tiago is the best designed Tata till date. The proportions, the sharp lines and attention to detail are praiseworthy.

Tata Tiago Cabin

The Tata Tiago gets a fresh new dashboard with only a few parts being borrowed from the Bolt which is actually a good thing because the fantastic 3-spoke 360 mm steering wheel is not only good to look at but is also nice to hold and comes with ergonomically positioned audio controls. Just like the Zest and Bolt, the Tiago’s cabin is well put together and is a step in the right direction as far as quality, fit and finish goes. The use of colours too are fresh and the company states it has firmly banned the usage of beige in the interior of its cars. Thus the Tiago gets a two-tone black and grey cabin which looks different in a good way. The instrument cluster gets similar colours and dials as the Bolt with the MID being identical too.

There is plenty of piano black and chrome usage on the inside with parts of the steering wheel, centre console and door handle getting the glossy finish while the AC buttons, AC vent surrounds and door knob get the chrome treatment. On the orange and red coloured cars (on other cars the vents are finished in gloss black), the side AC vents are finished in body colour whose appeal solely depends on personal taste, we don’t like it much. One does have the option of customising the colour of the interior (at dealer level) with orange or red colours for the side AC vents, steering spokes (the silver can be changed), gear lever surround and other areas which are finished in piano black like the centre console and the door handles. The AC isn’t a chiller and when you run the fan on full speed, the blower does make quite a lot of noise.

There are a lot of practical touches in the car, in fact Tata has equipped the vehicle with 22 utility spaces including a ticket holder on the windshield, recessed storage on top of the centre AC vents, cubby hole next to the gear lever, two cupholders next to the off centre handbrake, driver side storage pocket under the right most AC vent, tab holder in the glove box, front door pockets to accommodate two 500 ML bottles, rear door pockets to store one 1-litre bottle, glovebox with cooling function, hooks with weight markings (on the centre console and in the boot) and a decent sized boot with a low loading bay.Other interesting bits include the centrally placed cabin light which uses LED, adjustable driver seat height (but no adjust for the seat belts), button operated glovebox, mirror on both sun visors, knitted headliner, one touch down driver side window and a Tata typical illuminated key ring. Below the AC switches are sockets for charging, USB and AUX. The vehicle gets a flip key, key operated follow me home headlamps and rear parking sensors (there are four sensors which are concealed properly and graphics are displayed on the infotainment screen).

What we miss on the Tata Tiago is a dedicated lock/unlock button (one has to pull the knob up and down now) while the front seat back misses out on pockets and the rear seat folds down in a single piece (no 60:40 here). The spare wheel isn’t an alloy and isn’t painted black either. Space inside the cabin is good and there is ample legroom and knee-room (the seatback is scooped) but headroom is a bit lacking for tall passengers at the rear while seats could also do with more under-thigh support. The seats are good and offer a lot of back support but the rear seat gets small, non-adjustable headrests.Three can fit in at the rear and the rear passengers can tuck their feet under the front seats. The Harman sourced ConnectNext audio system offers good audio quality through its 4-speaker, 4-tweeter arrangement and also gets NaviMaps wherein turn by turn navigation is displayed on the vehicle’s infotainment screen while connected to an Android device (using paid version of MapMyIndia maps which is free for a Tiago owner). The vehicle also gets a Juke-Car app wherein one master phone is connected to the car via Bluetooth and the same phone creates a virtual network (via WiFi hotspot) which others can join (up to 10) to jointly create a playlist, a helpful feature when multiple people are travelling in the car on a long journey. The audio system also has speed sensitive auto volume adjustment.

Tata Tiago Performance

Tata Motors has developed two all new engines which debut on the Tiago. Both are 3-cylinder units and get multi-drive modes – City (default mode) and Eco (the Eco button is under the audio system, next to the fog light button). Performance for both the powerplants dulls down a bit in Eco mode with the motors not revving as quickly, thus to be used only when the car is on a mileage marathon. The petrol engine is called Revotron while the diesel is aptly named Revotorq and should return class leading efficiency. The 1.2-litre petrol mill is an aluminium unit with 4-valves per cylinder, DOHC and variable valve timing for the intake, so it gets the modern bits which is lacking in the other 1.2-litre Revotron engine that does duty in the Bolt and Zest.

The better hardware results in the Tata Tiago petrol having a fast revving engine which has good low-end punch, thereby enabling excellent drivability in stop-go driving conditions of the city. But push the motor in the mid-range and performance dulls a bit as the 3-pot mill has flat performance, picking up in the top-end with the motor becoming quite vocal in a nice way. In spite of the 3-cylinder layout, NVH is good as far as vibes go but sound insulation isn’t the best and there is some low-speed judder too. The problem gets highlighted once you hit the highway as one has to downshift to get overtaking done, thus this petrol mill isn’t very friendly when you are out on the open road, although it does well in the city.

The Revotron mill has a tall third gear which makes the driver downshift to second gear when driving in town, the vehicle topping out at 90 km/hr at the redline of 6300 RPM (there is no redline marking and the tacho needle turns red at 6000 RPM). The ton comes up in third while at the same speed in top gear, the motor would spin at around 2700 RPM. The gearbox although smooth to operate does require some effort at times and one can also hear the lever’s operation. The clutch is light (there is a dead pedal which is a bit raised) but not linear in the way it engages. The Revotorq motor is certainly the better of the two engines on offer and the 1.1-litre mill (or 1.05-litre) is essentially a downsized version of the 1.4-litre unit that powers the Indica. But there are a multitude of changes to modernise this oil burner, so it has an aluminium head (the block is cast iron), 4-valves per cylinder and is a DOHC unit.

Being a small capacity diesel mill with 3-cylinders, one would expect vibrations but there aren’t present, at least not on the steering or gear lever so the driver doesn’t feel any of it (thanks to the balancer shaft). But the motor is quite audible and can be heard clearly once you hit the mid-range, the diesel clatter being loud at idle but mostly outside the car. Power delivery is linear with good low-end punch as turbo lag is well contained while mid-range drops off sharply at around 3500 RPM and there is no top-end performance so it’s futile to take the vehicle to its 4750 RPM redline (the tacho needle glows red at 4000 RPM itself). The gearing is short and thus it takes 4th gear to hit the ton while doing the ton in top gear results in the tacho needle ticking in at just under 2500 RPM. Similar to the petrol, the diesel too doesn’t feel at home on the highway and one has to work the gearbox to make quick progress. The clutch is even more snappy on the diesel while the gearbox does have some rubbery feel to it.

Tata Tiago Driving

Where the Tiago claws back points is in ride and handling. There is an underlying firmness to the ride and vertical movements are sharper than what you’d get on the Bolt but the Tiago’s175/65 R14 tyres still round off the potholes very well and also nice is the way the Tiago handles corners thanks to the excellent grip offered by the Goodyear tyres.Straight line stability is big car good too and it’s hard to unsettle the Tiago. The steering feel has a nice amount of heft which is reassuring, especially at highway speeds but unlike in the Bolt or Zest, it’s devoid of feel and feels vague around the straight ahead position.It must be noted that the suspension set-up is better on the petrol Tiago. The diesel Tiago which an engine that weighs 20kg more uses stiffer front springs and dampers, which affects the ride. It’s not as pliant as the petrol, feels more nose heavy and you can feel a bit of road shock filtering through the steering column. View offers on Tata Cars from Tata dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

Tata Tiago Safety

cIn terms of the braking, the Tata Tiago comes with disc brakes on the front wheels and drum units at the rear and this fitting is standard across all the variants. However, only the top-end variants – XZ (both petrol and diesel) and XZA, get the addition of ABS along with EBD and corner stability control. Moreover, dual airbags are added as a standard feature across all the variants, including the base XB trims.

Tata Tiago Price

Tata Tiago Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 3,26,620/- (Tiago Revotron XB) to 5,80,936/- (Tiago Revotorq XZ). Get best offers for Tata Tiago from Tata Dealers in India

Tata Tiago Verdict

Tata has clearly put its heart and soul into the Tiago and the result is very impressive. The Tiago looks attractive, comes with plenty of equipment and has a cabin that could very well belong to a more expensive car. The Tiago is also designed to tackle our imperfect roads with ease and is an easy car to handle. Unfortunately, the lacklustre engines take much away from what is otherwise a well-rounded package. However, Indian buyers might be willing to make a compromise on the driving experience in return for good fuel efficiency. The petrol Tiago (in Eco mode) gives an impressive 23.5kpl and the diesel is even more fuel-efficient. What these figures translate to in the real world remains to be seen.

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