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Tata Tiago Road Test Review

Introduction

Tata Tiago

Tata Motors has been going through a torrid phase lately. Not one car they launched in the past decade has come close to being successful. The fact that arch rival Mahindra has been racking up the numbers with nearly every car they have launched must have been a really bitter pill to swallow for Tata. Tata tried to rejuvenate its line-up by launching the Bolt and the Zest cousins but they looked too similar to the Vista (the car they are based on) and the Indian giant needed something fresh to start a new inning. Enter the Tiago, a brand new product from Tata after a long time and if its stylish exterior is anything to go by then it definitely has the potential to overturn the company’s fortunes. Clearly, a lot of time and sweat has gone in developing the Tiago. So does this crucial model from Tata get our thumbs up? At least as far as price is concerned Tata has definitely put pedal to the metal by undercutting its rivals by a considerable margin.

Design and Style

Although the Tiago shares its wheelbase with the old Indica, according to Tata they only share the basic floor plan to keep costs down. The Tiago is much larger in exterior dimensions though with it being 56mm longer, 50mm taller than the Indica.

Tata Tiago

As far as looks are concerned, 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 Tiago

According to the spec sheet the Tiago petrol weighs 1012kg and 1080kg for the diesel. When we weighed the car on our own we found Tata’s claim pretty accurate with the petrol tipping the scales at 1020kg and the diesel at 1094kg. This makes it quite a heavy weight especially when compared to the Celerio which weighs more than 150kg less. The Tiago is suspended by independent MacPherson strut front and non-independent rear suspension. Braking duties are done by ventilated discs upfront and drums at the rear.

Interiors

Tata Tiago

Forget the dull drab cabins of the old Tata cars, as the Tiago looks fresh on the inside and it feels modern with good ambiance. The interiors look really smart for a car at this price point and the dash-layout is smart and instrumentation console is neat. 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 Tiago

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. But driving position, as on the Indica, is still a bit off-set and this takes time getting used to. 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 242litres.

Tata Tiago

Safety and Equipment

Tata Tiago

In the top of the line XZ trim the Tiago comes with a good amount of features. Apart from the regulars like power-steering, power windows etc the Tiago also comes with a nice sounding 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.

Engine, gearbox and performance

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

The diesel Tiago is powered by a small 1047cc diesel motor which is good for 69bhp and has a modest torque output of 140Nm. As soon as you crank the diesel motor it feels impressive as it settles down to a smooth idle, although you do feel vibrations through the gear lever and pedals. 

Tata Tiago

With displacement of just 1047cc, Tata has chosen shorter gear ratios so that driveability at city speeds is satisfying. With turbolag well contained the Tiago diesel motor feels great for city commutes with a linear clutch action. There is enough grunt from the word go and you don’t have to constantly use the gearbox to make brisk progress. Out on the highway the motor feels at home while cruising. 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 only a mild punch in the proceedings. Eco mode feels usable in the city but out on the highway we recommend to stick with City mode as it give you the much needed grunt for that occasional quick overtake. Although the NVH levels are impressive till about 3000rpm, going beyond that makes the engine sound thrummy and revving the engine to its red-line is pointless as it just makes a lot of noise without adding much pace. On our Vbox equipment the Tiago diesel posted decent times. The 0-100kmph sprint takes 17.3 seconds (much faster than the Celerio and the Grand i10 diesel) and ingear times are quite decent too. 

Tata 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. Understandably the Tiago petrol’s times weren’t spectacular. 0-100kmph takes a slow 16.23seconds which makes it much slower than the Celerio and in-gear times aren’t that impressive either.

Ride and handling

Tata Tiago

If we had to pin point then it’s only at low speeds the Tiago’s suspension feels slightly stiff and you can hear the suspension thud through sharp bumps. But this apart it is hard to fault the Tiago in the way it tackles the worst of terrain. 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 rides even better and it exhibits the kind of composure which is hard to find in cars twice its price. It only pitches ever so slightly 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 has some slack around the straight ahead position and it feels lifeless. The brakes though, are decent with good progressive pedal feel and the ABS works seamlessly too.

Tata Tiago

Price and Fuel Efficiency

In terms of fuel efficiency, the Tiago really shines. In the city, the petrol managed an impressive 13.1kmpl while out on the highway it managed to return a respectable 17.5kmpl. The 1.04-litre diesel, on the other hand, was expectedly much more efficient. It returned 15.4kmpl in the city and 20.8kmpl on the highway. When you consider the diesel’s overall 15.5kpl (75 per cent city and 25 per cent highway), despite the small 35 litre tank it gives a fantastic range of around 550km before you need to refuel.

Tata Tiago

Tata, unlike its  recent products has managed to price the Tiago very well with prices starting from as low as Rs 3.20 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base petrol and going up to a very competitive Rs 5.54 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the top diesel XZ variant. This makes it considerably cheaper than the Maruti Celerio.

Verdict

Final Rating: 3.58/5

Tata Tiago

With the new Tiago, Tata has delivered a car which delivers on most counts. It offers decent refinement, a spacious cabin, stylish looks, good quality and build, great fuel economy and an exceptional ride quality. Though performance from both the engines is nothing to get excited about they are at par with the competition. The icing on the cake is the brilliant price which not only undercuts its direct rivals by a considerable margin but also gets it closer to entry hatchbacks like the Renault Kwid. So will the Tiago win back the trust of finicky Indian buyers? If the initial response for the car is anything to go by then Tata is surely on track to bring back the success it has been craving for all these years.

Photos by Kapil Angane

Specifications

CAR NAME Tata Tiago
Variant Revotron XZ Revotorq XZ
ENGINE  
Fuel Petrol Diesel
Installation Front, transverse
Displacement 3 cyls, 1199cc 3 cyls, 1047cc
Bore/stroke 77.0/85.8mm 75/79mm
Valve gear 4 valves per cyl, DOHC 4 valves per cyl, DOHC
Power 83.8bhp at 6000rpm 69bhp at 4000rpm
Torque 114nm at 3000rpm 140nm at 1800-3000rpm
Power to weight 82.15bhp per tonne 63.89bhp per tonne
Torque to weight 111.76Nm per tonne 129.63Nm per tonne
Gearbox 5-speed manual 5-speed manual
CHASSIS & BODY  
Construction four-door hatchback, monocoque
Kerb weight 1020kg 1080kg
Tyres 175/65 R14
Spare Full-size
STEERING  
Type Rack and pinion, Electronic power steering
Turning circle 9.8m
BRAKES  
Front Ventilated discs
Rear Drums
Anti-lock Yes

Test Data

PERFORMANCE & BRAKING  
0-20kph 1.19s 1.19s
0-40kph 3.44s 3.33s
0-60kph 6.44s 6.59s
0-80kph 10.09s 10.92s
0-100kph 16.32s 17.26s
0-120kph 23.64s 26.76s
0-140kph 40.58s NA
0-160kph NA NA
0-180kph NA NA
0-200kph NA NA
     
20-80kph in kickdown/3rd gear 16.23s 15.94s
40-100kph in kickdown/4th gear 24.39s 20.46s
     
80-0kph 27.10m 2.7s
FUEL ECONOMY  
City 13.1kmpl 14.8kmpl
Highway 17.5kmpl 19.8kmpl
Tank size 35 litres 42 litres
Range 460km 670km
INTERIOR MEASUREMENTS  
Front  
Legroom(Max/min) 740/550mm
Headroom(Max/min) 940mm
Shoulder room 1280mm
Seat base length 500mm
Backrest height 580mm
Rear   
Legroom(Max/min) 850/650mm
Ideal legroom 630mm
Headroom 920mm
Shoulder room 1290mm
Seat base length 490mm
Backrest height 540mm
Boot 242 litres
Length/width/height 600/900/525mm

Photos

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Tata Tiago Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
New Delhi₹ 5.02 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 5.56 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 5.2 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 5.41 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 5.43 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 5.46 Lakhs onwards
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