Tata Motors tasted success in the private car segment with the Indica when it was launched in 1998. The vehicle continues to be sold today but there was no replacement for it in spite of the Vista and later the Bolt coming along. This is solely because the Indica is largely sold to the commercial segment like fleet operators and thus isn’t appealing to private car buyers anymore. To fill this void, the company has developed an all new car which sits between the Nano and Bolt. Its most ambitious project of late, the Tata Tiago has been developed from scratch in just 3 years. After seeing it camouflaged since months and referring it to as Kite (codename), we finally get behind the wheel of what could be a game changer for the Indian auto giant. Check On Road Price of Tiago
Tata Motors has designed the Tiago with utmost diligence and have kept in mind that it is distinctly different than the Indica, but has even retained the essence and utility. It is not too sane (like the Indica was) nor too curvy (something like the Hyundai Eon is). In fact, it is the right mix of simpleness and boldness and this is where the Impact design language comes into the picture. Right from the time the Tata Tiago images have surfaced (much before the launch), there has been a great anticipation with the hatch. It has a wide mesh grille in the front section that flows into the swept back headlamps on either side. The lip spoiler holds the circular-shaped fog lamps. The side section of the car gets body-coloured door handles and ORVMs with turn indicators installed on them. There are a couple of defining character lines on both the sides, with one of them passing across through the door handles. The car rides on 13-inch alloy wheels. The rear portion is modern and houses wraparound but small tail light clusters and roof spoiler. The registration number plate is attached to the lower bumper and not at the tailgate. A total of six colour options are available. But out of all the Tata Tiago colours, the Peppy Orange may be the best.
The interior theme of the Tiago mimics that of its elder siblings, the Zest and the Bolt. Tata has spent a lot of time maximising cabin space and improving the quality — it does show.Amongst the first things you notice when you enter the cabin is the soothing black-grey theme that envelopes the dash. Tata tells us they have bid goodbye to beige for good, and we’re glad! The colour combo not only looks pleasing, but is easier to keep clean as well.The quality of plastics used in the interiors, especially on the top half of the dash is very, very good. There’s a dab of piano black on the centre console and on the surrounds of the side AC vents amongst other places. Tata says the side AC vents can be colour coordinated to the exteriors, which we think is a pretty cool touchA familiar Tata steering greets you as you get into the driver’s seat. The unit is chunky, feels good to hold, and gets controls for the audio and telephony. The wheel is fairly thick at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position that lets one get a firm grip. The steering can be adjusted for tilt.The two-pod instrument cluster looks like a downsized version of the one on the Bolt. A multi-information display (MID) sits in the centre with the pods housing the tachometer and the speedometer respectively. The MID can be used to cycle through information like time, trip distance, instantaneous fuel consumption, average fuel consumption and distance-to-empty. The tachometer has a cool trick up its sleeve — the needle turns red as you reach the redline!
The hexagonal theme continues on the inside too with the centre console. It houses a pair of AC vents and the Harman developed music system. The music system is coupled to 8-speakers and the output is fantastic, to say the least. The music system is easily the best we’ve heard in a budget hatch. The system can also double up as navigation when paired with a smartphone. By downloading the ‘Turn by Turn Navigation’ app, the system shows driving directions on the LCD screen. Another cool addition is the Juke car app, that creates a WiFi hotspot to which 10 phones can connect simultaneously. This can be used to stream music. Both the apps are unheard of in this segment.The controls for the air-conditioner sit below the centre console. There’s no automatic climate control, but, to be fair, none of its rivals has it either. Unlike the Grand i10, there are no rear AC vents. That said, performance from the AC is acceptable.The front seats are well contoured and offer a decent amount of support. Headrests aren’t the integrated kind thankfully, like in the Celerio or the Grand i10. People with larger builds might have a small issue with under thigh support, and find the footwell to be a tad cramped. This apart, the front bench is a nice place to be. The driver’s seat gets a healthy range for height adjustment too, which, coupled with the rake-adjustable steering makes it easy to get into a comfortable driving position.
The rear bench is best suited for two people. Accommodating three people, although possible, isn’t recommended. Shoulder room is just about enough with two and non-existent with three. The leg space is generous by small car standards and the Tiago comes a close second to the Grand i10. The backs of the front seats are scooped out to liberate some more space for the knees.You’ll find a total of 22 cubbyholes around the cabin. There’s plenty of storage space around the gear lever and it gets pockets on all four doors to store water bottles. The glovebox is deep and gets a chilling function too, just like the Grand i10. There are also little thoughtful touches like a small hook on the lower half of the dashboard, that can hold up to 2 kilos of groceries.The Tiago features one of the best-appointed interiors in the segment. The fit, finish and build quality is now in the league of the segment leader, the Grand i10. Segment firsts such as the 8-speaker Harman sound system and the associated apps round the package off nicely. Overall, it has a well-packaged interior with just the right amount of features one expects at this price point.
Tata Tiago is likely to come available with the same powertrain options like its regular sibling, which include a 1.2 litre Revotron petrol engine paired with a 5 speed manual transmission and churns out 85 PS of peak power at 6000 rpm and 114 Nm of peak torque at 3500 rpm, while the 1.05 litre Revotorq engine does the duty under the hood of the diesel variant, which mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox generates 70 PS of peak power at 4000 rpm and 139 Nm of peak torque between 1800 rpm to 3000 rpm. The petrol and the diesel engine deliver the fuel economy of 23.84 kmpl and 27.28 kmpl of fuel efficiency respectively.Chevrolet Beat Activ is available in both petrol and diesel engine options, and it draws power from 1.2 litre SMARTECH petrol and 1.0 litre SMARTECH diesel engine, both of which gets mated to a 5 speed manual transmission and churns out 78 PS and 57 PS of peak power respectively, while the torque output stand at 106.5 Nm and 142.5 Nm respectively.
The 2016 Volkswagen Cross Polo comes with 1.2 litre MPI engine mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox which generates 74 bhp of peak power and 110 Nm of peak torque, while the 1.5 litre TDI diesel engine is paired with a 5 speed manual transmission and kicks out 88.73 bhp of peak power and 230 Nm of peak torque.The Toyota Etios Cross is powered by a range of engines which include 1.2 litre petrol engine generating 80 PS of peak power and 104 Nm of peak torque, a larger 1.5 litre petrol unit churning out 90 SP of peak power and 132 Nm of peak torque, and a 1.4 litre diesel engine which pumps out 68 SP of peak power and 170 Nm of peak torque.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
Tata Motors has always found a good balance of ride and handling for its cars and the Tiago is no different. The suspension set-up is on the stiffer side (more so on the diesel with the extra weight) but the dual-path suspension and the tuning of the shock-ups is just right, ensuring even the worst of roads are dealt without ruffling a feather. Potholes or even jumping speed-breakers doesn’t affect the Tiago much and the ride quality is better on the petrol model but not by a mile. Straight line stability is good too and the vehicle remains composed at triple digit speeds, the Goodyear Assurance tyres offering surefooted grip levels.
The Tata Tiago has good handling with body roll being well contained but just like other Tata cars (UVs not included), understeer kicks in sharply once you up the speed through a corner. The understeer mostly comes up when you are driving fast around sharp bends with 75-degree plus turns, otherwise the car can be quite fun as the steering offers good feedback although it lacks some feel at the centre. The EPAS does centre quickly, thereby reducing effort when taking u-turns or parking. The brakes perform well to stop the car in its stride, no locking up thanks to Bosch’s 9th generation ABS with EBD, there is Corner Stability Control too.
BRAKING AND SAFETY ;
In 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 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.