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विज्ञापन

Tata Tiago First Drive

Introduction

Tata Zica

Although the Vista was intended to be the replacement for the ageing Indica, the fact that it was much more expensive meant Tata continued with the sales of the old car. Now finally we have the Tiago, which will replace Tata’s 17 year old product. As a result, the Tiago not only has to better the Indica, but it also has to feel three generations younger. For the past two years, Tata has been on an upward spiral with the launch of the Bolt hatchback and Zest compact sedan. Though the sales figures don’t confirm this, at least in terms of product quality, it has been a big step in the right direction.

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What is it?

In terms of appearance, Tata seem to have just got it right and the Tiago looks very stylish with its sharp lines and well-proportioned body. The front looks bold with the signature Tata smiling mesh grille with hexagonal elements and the sweptback headlamps are large but not overtly so. The hexagonal theme continues to the mesh on the front bumper and you also get a horizontal bar and chrome surround for fog lamps, which complements the impressive look. If the front is striking, the rear looks even better – the wrap-around tail lamps and the crease running across the boot-lid lends it a lot of character. The profile is dominated by the mildly flared wheel arches and the prominent crease running across the shoulder which lends it a sporty stance.

Tata Zica

In terms of dimensions, the Tiago is 56mm longer, 50mm taller than the Indica. While the Tiago’s width is similar, its wheelbase of 2400mm is exactly the same as the Indica – as the Tiago is based on the same, albeit heavily modified platform. The Tiago petrol weighs at 1012kg and 1080kg for the diesel. This makes it quite a heavy weight especially when compared to the Celerio which weighs more than 150kg less.

Tata Zica

How is it on the inside?

Tata Zica

Traditionally Tata cabins have always been more about space than perceived quality. But with the Tiago the Indian manufacturer has put in a lot of effort to address this issue and we have come away quite impressed. The interiors look really smart for a budget car with the smart dash-layout and neat instrumentation console. The hexagonal theme from the exterior continues inside with the centre console, speaker grille and the steering boss design. Quality, especially on the upper portions of the dashboard and the door pads, is nice with the fish skin-like graining. Lower down, the plastics do look a bit hard and panel gaps aren’t as consistent as the Celerio’s. But overall Tata has done a good job and overall quality and consistency is better than even the Bolt.

Tata Zica

Tata have also done a good job with the comfort up front and the seats are well contoured and you sit at a good height. Even at the rear you have enough space thanks to the scooped out front seats and thin door pads. But you do sit a bit low which affects under thigh and even headroom is not in abundance. The backrest too, is a bit too reclined and the seatback offers too much lower back support which can be a bit irritating. We would have also liked Tata to offer adjustable rear headrests to avoid whiplash injuries. In terms of practicality Tata has put in a lot of effort and have claimed to have 22 stowage elements in the cabin but all of them are a bit too shallow and narrow. Boot space, though, is quite decent at 242 litres.

Tata Zica

We only had the top-of-the-line XZ trim of the Tiago and it came loaded with features. Apart from the regulars like power-steering, power windows etc… the Tiago also comes with a Harman developed eight speaker music system which gets aux-in, USB and Bluetooth connectivity. The car Bluetooth also comes with smart phone integration where the small infotainment display will show turn-by-turn instructions if you are using navigation on your connected device. Tata has  a tie-up with Map My India where you can get the app for free and you can use navigation offline unlike Google maps. You also get a bespoke mobile app which creates a hotspot so that multiple users can play their favourite songs on the music system. The Tiago also gets rear parking sensors with display, two airbags and ABS with EBD as standard.

Tata Zica

How does it drive?

Tata Zica

A pair of three-cylinder engines – a 1.2 petrol and a 1.0 litre turbo-diesel power the Tiago.

The three-cylinder 1199cc petrol engine produces a healthy 83.8bhp and 114Nm of torque. It is a modern motor with all-aluminium construction and variable valve timing, albeit just for intake port for better breathing. The petrol Tiago surprised us with its smoothness and refinement. You feel some vibrations at idle but as soon as you start moving, the engine smoothens out and as long as you don’t rev it hard, this motor is pretty silent. The Tiago doesn’t hesitate off the line and the engine pulls cleanly from low speeds. The motor doesn’t have a strong bottom end but once past 3000rpm it feels responsive and the motor gets a second wind around 5200rpm. The performance on the highway though feels modest, especially with a full load of passengers. The gearbox is smooth enough but it has long throws and it doesn’t feel as crisp or precise as the diesel unit. We also tried out both the Eco and City modes and at low speeds there is not much of a difference. How much will it improve the fuel efficiency remains to be seen.

The diesel Tiago on the other hand is powered by a small 1047cc diesel motor which is good for 69bhp and has a modest torque output of 140Nm. On most occasions the Tiago diesel feels impressive, right from the time you start it. The engine settles down to a smooth idle, although you do feel vibrations from the 3-cylinder motor.

Tata Zica

As soon as we started driving on the narrow Goan roads it was apparent that the Tiago was happy to amble along at slow speeds. While there is no replacement for the capacity, Tata has chosen shorter gear ratios so that driveability at city speeds is satisfying. The engine gets into its sweet spot around the1900rpm mark and the power delivery remains linear up to the 3000rpm mark, giving it a useful mid-range. It’s just that there’s no punch in the proceedings. Although the NVH levels are impressive at slow speeds, things change once you are on an open road. The three-cylinder diesel thrum becomes apparent and the shortfall in grunt also becomes obvious as quick overtaking manoeuvres require a shift or two down on the gearbox.  Revving the engine to its red-line is pointless as it just makes more noise without adding any pace. When driven in Eco mode things get worse and the engine just feels underwhelming in this mode. We found a flat stretch to see how fast or slow the Tiago is on our Vbox equipment and we came away surprised. The Tiago managed to reach 100kph in 17 seconds which makes it faster than the Celerio diesel and the Grand i10 diesel.

In terms of ride, the Tiago really impresses. The well-judged springs rates, tall tyre profile and good damping results in a very pliant ride. Very few shocks filter in from the road and even the  largest of bumps are dealt with ease. Up the speed and the Tiago still manages to retain its composure and it rides flat at high speeds too. It only pitches a bit over long undulating surfaces but never to a point of feeling uncomfortable. And straight-line stability is good too, making this car ideal for long distances. Over a set of corners the Tiago feels surefooted too but the steering is slack around the straight ahead position and it feels inert. The brakes though are decent with good progressive pedal feel and the ABS works seamlessly too.

Tata Zica

Why should I buy one?

With the new Tiago, Tata has set out to deliver a car which delivers on most counts, by and large, it has succeeded in doing just that. It offers good looks, style and a spacious cabin, decent refinement and good ride comfort. Though performance from both the engines is nothing to get excited about they are at par with the competition. We expect the Tiago to be priced at par with the Celerio as far as the petrol variant is concerned and hopefully only slightly more than the diesel Celerio. If Tata are able to price the Tiago competitively, we are sure it has the capability to bring back buyers who have shied away from Tata showrooms in the recent years.

Tata Zica

Where does it fit in?

We expect Tata to price the Tiago very aggressively and when launched early next year it will rival the Maruti Suzuki Celerio and the Chevrolet Beat.

Tata Zica

Update: We have replaced the name Zica with the Tiago in the text as Tata officially renamed the car. 

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