This is the Tiago JTP. And, it has received the same set of upgrades as the Tigor JTP to turn this entry-level hatchback into a special works car. But, on the road, the two cars did feel a bit different...
As is the case with the Tigor JTP, the Tiago JTP too gets a turbocharged version of the 1.2-litre petrol engine that powers the regular Tiago. As a result, the power is up almost by 30bhp and the torque is claimed to be a healthy 150Nm as well. This is the same engine that is housed under the hood of the Tata Nexon SUV, but it develops a little more power for the Tiago.
The gearbox is the same as on the regular Tiago, but the JTP runs a shorter final drive and a closer stacked second and third gear. This, on paper, should help improve standing start acceleration as well as the mid-range performance of the car.
Other mechanical changes include a stiffer and lowered suspension setup, bigger and wider wheels and tyres, re-calibrated throttle maps, a new intake and exhaust system, and an EPS that adds more weight at speed.
There are visual upgrades too, like on the Tigor JTP. So, you can only have this JTP in either red or white. There's a contrasting black roof, red JTP badging all round, 15-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, and black ORVMs on the red car, and red ORVMs on the white. And, lest I forget, there's a bonnet scope that works to add ram air as part of the intake upgrade, and there are side vents to help with cooling.
Inside, there's red outline for the aircon vents, red stitching and honeycomb motif on the seats, the floor pedals have a faux drilled finish, and well, nothing else that sets it apart from the top-spec Tiago XZ.
The Tiago and the Tigor are based on the same platform. And now under JTP, these have received the same set of upgrades, and the exact same tuning. So, one would expect the two to feel near identical to drive. That, however, isn't the case.
There are some differences between the regular versions of the cars to begin with. The Tiago is 50kg lighter. It sits on a 50mm shorter wheelbase. And, it doesn't get the same sound insulation or NVH package as the Tigor.
On the road, the Tiago JTP feels just as fast as the Tigor. It too can do the 0-100kmph sprint in 10 seconds. And from behind the wheel, especially in Sport mode, the Tiago feels like a power packed hatchback.
It manages to spin its fat 185 section front tyres under full bore acceleration. Get past 3,000rpm, and you are welcomed by a satisfying turbo kick. The car though, keeps pulling vigourously to its near 6,000rpm redline. And then, when you shift up just short of that mark, you find yourself back in a potent accelerating zone.
Keeping that throttle pinned, and going up the gearbox, leads you to high three digit speeds one wouldn't even expect an affordable hatchback to get to, besides feeling completely comfortable and in-control. And that's when you realise what a good job the team at JT Special Vehicles have done.
They have completely transformed the Tiago. It's not just about plonking a more powerful engine under the hood. The JTP actually can handle and put down all that additional power with some engineering finesse.
Now, we didn't get to throw the Tiago JTP around the twisty stuff, but whatever long, bumpy, and fast bends we countered, the JTP showed clear signs of being a hoot to drive up a winding road. But, just like the Tigor JTP, this one too could do with better brakes.
Yes, I realise I haven't talked about how the Tiago JTP is different from the Tigor JTP, especially after all that build up. The bottom line is - the Tigor JTP feels like the better car here.
The Tiago JTP is less refined. You can hear more of the mechanical noises - the turbo whine, the gear slotting, and even the engine - inside the Tiago. But, that's not all. The lighter weight and the shorter wheelbase means that it feels twitchier than the Tigor at high speeds.
It's also not as planted under hard braking as the sedan. And at slower city speeds, the Tiago feels more like a sports car with its rear slapping around over bumps instead of absorbing them.
The Tigor JTP just feels like the more luxurious, more matured of the two cars here.
But, the Tiago JTP is significantly cheaper. And to be honest, you are essentially getting the same thrills but at a more sensible price point. So, when it comes to the price to performance bang-for-your-buck equation, the Tiago JTP certainly takes the cake. And, not just over the Tigor JTP, mind.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi