Why would I buy one?
- Improved petrol engine in BS6 avatar
- Compact dimension is perfect for city usage
- Four Star NCAP safety rating
Why would I avoid it?
- Vibey on idle
- Notchy gearbox
- Quality of materials could have been better
With the BS6 update, the Tata Tiago has capitalised on what it did best and improved on its shortcomings. So it remains a cheery little city-runabout that is even handsome to look at now with the Altroz-inspired face. Even the cabin has received a much-needed redo with bits borrowed from bigger, more expensive Tata models. Add to it the four-star NCAP rating and the Tiago comes as one of the most affordable yet safe car to live with.
Engine and Performance
Updated early last year, the BS6 Tiago is powered by the same three-cylinder 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine which puts out 85bhp at 6000rpm. It is paired to a five-speed manual as standard, but can also be had with an AMT automatic. We are driving the former three-pedal setup in this review. Crank it up and the three-pot motor settles into a silent idle but there are noticeable vibrations felt on the inside. Be it gear lever, foot pedals or even steering wheel, you can sense mild throbbing pulses all over the place – which aren’t a deal breaker in our opinion. Because, the vibration disappears the moment you get on the clutch, slot-in the gear, and get going.
On the move, the Tiago remains silent and an easy car to drive around. You need little throttle inputs to gain moment as the motor is hovering around 1500-1750rpm mark at city speeds. It doesn’t feel as peppy as the 1.2-litre in the new Wagon R, but it has a good supply of power right from the word go. Also since it is a relatively lighter car – tipping the scale at around 980 kilograms (kerb) – it never feels running out of breath be it your bumper-to-bumper traffic or some quick excursion in and around highways.
You can potter around in the city with a gear or two higher than expected and it won’t urge you to downshift. And for urgent pushes to get through tiny space in the traffic all it needs is a slight dab on the throttle to access the 113Nm of max torque which peaks at 3,300rpm. When you hit the highways, there’s enough grunt in the motor to keep up with triple-digit speeds. You would get to hear the motor slightly more at this point. But it won’t leave you wanting for more if you drop a gear and accelerate quickly to overtake those slow-moving stream of highway traffic.
We found the clutch to be light and easy to operate albeit with a slight kickback action. Moreover, the gear lever isn’t the slickest shifting unit around. It takes time getting used to the notchy nature of the five-speed unit. Otherwise, the controls on the Tiago are very amiable and easy for everyday driving. As for the fuel efficiency, Tata claims an ARAI-rated figure of 19.8kmp for this petrol manual guise.
Ride and Handling
At slow speeds, the steering of the Tiago is extremely light and easy to manoeuvre. It is not exactly quick to respond, going almost three-turns lock-to-lock. But it is good for city driving as it won’t strain your arms trying to parallel-park. Moreover, there’s noticeable weight added to it as speed increases. But what works in the Tiago’s favour are its compact dimensions making it optimal to drive around congested cities like Mumbai.
Meanwhile, Tata hasn’t tweaked the hardware of the Tiago much with this update. So it continues to ride pretty well. All the bumps and irregularities are taken care of with great composure and only the sharpest of the potholes make themselves felt inside the cabin. There’s enough ground clearance to take on the really bad patches of roads without scrapping the underbelly. What’s more, the ride gets even better at highway speeds; and the high-speed stability is much better than we expected. Even the body rolls are well restrained although we didn’t get to take it on some twisties to check it demeanour over there.
Interior Space and Quality
Let us take a look at all the changes on the inside, shall we? Firstly, there’s an all-digital instrument cluster which is shared with the Nexon. This new system replaces the dual analogue dials and – although monochromatic – looks better in real than it does in the pictures. It also has a good aesthetic appeal to go with its white illumination on the black unit. Then there’s the steering which is slightly tweaked and can be adjusted for height. Moving on to the centre console, a welcome addition here is the seven-inch touchscreen integrated with Tata’s ConnectNext interface. Again this is the same unit which is available in more expensive Tatas and has similar quality and usability too. Lower down the centre console is a gloss-finished insert with redesigned air-con controls. Also new is the gear lever – now matching the family design. Moreover, the upholstery has been given a change flaunting Tata’s tri-pointed design.
That’s where the update ends. So in terms of cabin space and ergonomics, the Tiago remains as practical and usable as the older car. Getting in is easy and the visibility on offer is good too. There are no soft-touch materials used here except for the door armrest. But the quality of materials used over here could have been improved with this update. We still think the cup holders on the centre console should have been larger to accommodate 500ml bottles at the least. On the upside, there’s more than ample headroom for my dimensions (I am 5.5’) and enough shoulder room as well. The seats are supportive too with a good amount of bolster and under-thigh support.
The same can be said about the rear seats as there’s a good amount of knee space but taller passengers might find their head touching the roof. And we wouldn’t recommend sitting three abreast here for longer jaunts. It also misses out on centre armrest, rear air vents or backseat pockets – which is a slight bummer. On the upside, there are non-adjustable headrest and one large bottle holder for the rear occupants. Lastly, the boot space of 242 litres isn’t something to write home about. And the rear seats don’t have split or flat fold either which further reduces its practicality.
Features and Equipment
What we have here with us is the top-spec XZ Plus variant which offers a decently decked-up feature list. This includes 15-inch dual-tone alloy wheels, auto AC, fabric seats, piano-black inserts on the dashboard, body-coloured inserts around air-vents, ConnectNext system with AppleCarPlay and Android Auto, eight-speakers Harman music system, voice command, keyless entry, electric ORVMs with an auto-fold, cooled glovebox and all-four power windows with one-touch-down for the driver.
In terms of safety, the Tiago comes standard with dual-front airbags, ABS with EBD, corner stability control, speed alert, seatbelt reminder and speed-dependent door locks, follow-me-home lights, a rearview camera with parking sensor, rear wiper with a wash feature, and rear defogger, to name a few.
With the update, the Tiago has grown into a handsome looking lad, one which much more interesting to look at than its rivals namely the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R and Hyundai Santro. It also drives well with a refinement added to its otherwise amicable powertrain. Updates on the inside make it an even better place to be. Sure, the interior space isn’t the shining point of the Tiago and the quality of materials won’t stand out either. But what makes the Tiago outstanding is its four-star GNCAP rating, and that’s a reason enough to buy it over anything else.
Photos by Kaustubh Gandhi