Tata Tiago is, undoubtedly, one of the best available options in the entry-level hatchback segment. It is based on the company’s new “Impact” design philosophy, which offers a driver-focussed layout with best-in-segment size and proportioned cabin-to-body ratio. The Tiago hatchback is small but agile, and it does tick all the right boxes that make the car so competitive in its segment. What makes this Tata car special is that it is extremely feature-rich, both inside out. After all, not many cars in the segment would offer you the quality, fit & finish and the urban interiors as the Tiago will. Every bit of material inside the car is of high quality. In fact, the moment you get inside, you will find it miles better than the original Indica. The Tata Tiago car is offered in both petrol as well as diesel trims, which opens up to a wide range of customers, unlike some of its competitors that have a petrol engine only. Moreover, a close look at the segment will give you an idea that both the fuel versions, the Tata Tiago diesel or petrol are much more powerful than most of its competing vehicles.
EXTERIORS AND STYLE ;
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.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;
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.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;
The 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine is a grounds-up design and uses lightweight all-aluminium construction, a four valve per cylinder DOHC setup and variable cam timing for the intake. It’s an undersquare engine with bore and stroke measuring 77mm and 85.8mm respectively. Peak power is 83.8bhp (at 6,000rpm) while max torque of 11.6kgm is produced at 3,500rpm.
Respectable as the above numbers are, the petrol Tiago isn’t a very lively performer. The engine doesn’t rev particularly quickly and performance is adequate and no more. The feeling is that you always have to work the engine to bring out its best; a tall third gear only makes this more evident in slow moving city traffic. In stop-go traffic, you’ll also notice power delivery to be jerky. You can sense the fuel cut off the moment you lift off the throttle. The clutch is light, but not very progressive, and the gearbox also requires effort to slot in at times. Refinement levels are fair at low revs though the thrum from the three-cylinder engine can get intrusive, especially at the 3,000rpm mark when a bit of resonance filters into the cabin.
To be honest, it’s the three-cylinder Revotorq turbo-diesel engine that seems a lot nicer. This 1.05-litre engine is actually a downsized (and thoroughly modernised) version of the Indica’s 1405cc, four-cylinder diesel unit. The block is cast iron while the aluminium head houses twin cams and four valves per cylinder. The engine’s 69bhp at 4,000rpm and 14.27kgm from 1,800-3,000rpm make it far more powerful than the Celerio’s two-cylinder diesel unit.
Start the engine and there’s no escaping this is a small displacement three-cylinder motor. There are vibrations but it’s not all that bad. The engine also takes time to wake up but builds speed reasonably well from about 1,500rpm though the real power comes in only post 1,800rpm. Thereon, the engine pulls sufficiently but again it doesn’t feel particularly peppy. That’s to say it gets the job done but doesn’t excite in the least. The powerband is narrow and by 3,500rpm you know the engine is done with its best. At this point, the engine also gets noisy with a rough roar for a note and this gives even less reason to rev it to 4,000rpm and beyond. Drivers will find the clutch light but snappy (more so than the petrol) in the way it engages. The gearbox too is not as crisp as the competitions’.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
The Tata Tiago is very impressive when it comes to its ride quality. It is easily the best in its segment. The Tiago’s suspension is well tunes to offer a pliant ride. The ride is well-cushioned and absorbs most bumps and potholes with comfortable ease. Tata has traditionally been good in this department and gets better with the Tiago. The handling is also pretty good for city driving. The steering is light and responsive. This makes it easy to park in tight spots. On the highway the car doesn’t lose its composure and one can easily cruise at 130 km/h. The car remains steady. We wish the brakes were slightly better.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
In terms of safety, Tata Motors has provided front driver and passenger airbags along with ABS and EBD including cornering stability control that works with the ABS. There is speed-sensing auto door lock function along with immobiliser for the owner to feel safe about the car. With the HORIZONEXT program, Tata is making sure to improve their after sales service quality and it has come a long way compared to the old days. However, there is still some room left for better service quality. Tata has a wide network and reach across the country including Tier-II and Tier-III areas.
Based on the Tata Tiago price, the car has a good range of features on offer. It is extremely efficient but powerful too, something that most of its competitors are low on. Even the AMT gearbox unit is smooth to drive and does not get any hiccups along the way. Moreover, the car ranks high on fuel efficiency and will save you loads on fuel bills, for sure. Even the automatic transmission variant is equally efficient as the manual, something that is not very common among contemporary cars