Tata Tiago First Drive: A Swanky, Zippy, and Capacious Hatchback

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If you're in the market for a new hatchback and don't fancy the 'Maruti way of life' anymore, then the Tata Tiago might just be for you.

The Tiago will replace the eyesore and passé Tata Indica, the only car in India, which has managed to transport almost every Indian at some point in their lives.

Firstly, the Tiago is about as hot as hot hatches get right now, and is engineered solely to change the tarnishing brand image of Tata Motors.

Read on to find out if Tata's latest offering is worth your savings and has what it takes to move away from the yellow board cabbie label.

Design

Tata's dated design cars have been suffering to attract younger buyers. With the Tiago, Tata is hoping to change its image. The design is youthful, energetic, and sharp.

The prominent character lines and sculpted body accentuate the sportiness of the car. From the smoked lens headlamps to the sporty black bezel tail lamps, the Tiago's design seeks to impress younger buyers.

Interior

The Tiago's interior fixtures and fittings are inviting and styled with a layered dual tone theme. The material used for the dashboard feel premium; however, the plastic used around the air conditioning control panel was a bit of a letdown.

Cubbies and storage space is accommodated in plenty, and complimenting the well laid out capacious interior is a Connectnext Infotainment system by Harman.

The infotainment system elevates your music experience, and beyond any doubt will give any sub-Rs. 20 lakh car's audio system a run for their money.

A bold statement to make, yet true!

The top-spec of the Tiago in sunburst orange and berry red offer colour accentuated air conditioning vents in line with the body colour, which makes the dashboard a bit overpowering.

Personally, Tata could have done without the colour accentuated air conditioning vents, and instead offered them as an optional customisation. To each their own, as they say.

Engine

There are two engines on offer, a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.05-litre diesel. Of the two, we thought the petrol was impressive and enjoyable to drive. Both these engines get a segment-first feature, the Multi-drive mode — City and Eco that modifies the engine output to suit driving requirements.

  • Eco: Optimum engine output for best mileage
  • City: Increased engine output (balance of power & mileage)

REVOTRON 1.2-litre Engine (Petrol)

 Type Revotron, 3 Cylinder, MPFi with Multi Drive
 Cubic Capacity 1199cc
 Max Power 84bhp @ 6000rpm
 Max Torque 114Nm @ 3500rpm
 Bore/Stroke 77mm x 85.8mm
 Compression Ratio 10.7:1
 Valve Gear DOHC 4 Valves Per Cylinder
 Installation Transverse, Front Wheel Drive
 Made Of Aluminum
 Fuel Tank Capacity 35-litres

REVOTORQ 1.05-litre Engine (Diesel)

 Type Revotorq, 3 Cylinder, With Multi Drive
 Cubic Capacity 1047cc
 Max Power 69bhp @ 4000rpm
 Max Torque 140Nm @ 1800–3000rpm
 Bore/Stroke 75mm x 79mm
 Compression Ratio 16.5:1
 Valve Gear DOHC 4 Valves Per Cylinder
 Installation Transverse, Front Wheel Drive
 Made Of Head: Aluminium, Block: Cast Iron
 Fuel Tank Capacity 35-litres

Drivability

The engineers seem to have got the steering and suspension setup right. The ride is surefooted and compliant, the handling is grippy, and the steering is light and quick to react. However, this is not your next Punto EVO or Volkswagen GTI.

The Tiago petrol is just right, in fact, just perfect for your better half who wants a stylish, easy-to-drive hatchback with loads of room, which can also accommodate her 99 pairs of shoes.

The peppy Tiago petrol offers a genuine alternative to the Hyundai i10 and Maruti Celerio. The diesel engine is smooth; however, the narrow power band (1,800rpm to 3,000rpm) makes overtaking on the highway easier said than done.

The driving position seems fine and the visibility is great. The clutch is light and the gearbox is smooth and easy to operate. The seats are comfortable and well-bolstered, but the steering column isn't adjustable for reach. Hence, it takes some elbow grease to get the correct driving position going. With respect to stability, the body roll is well controlled, and the Tiago is stable under braking, despite a soft pedal.

Features

Owning a Tata car no longer means compromising on features, comfort, and refinement.

The Tiago's sporty instrument cluster pod, multiple storage spaces, 242-litre boot, steering wheel mounted controls, and chilled glovebox manages to address key customer requirements.

The Infotainment system features an eight-speaker audio system designed by Harman and plays music via FM/ AM, USB, iPod, Aux, and Bluetooth.

The Tiago offers first-in-segment features such as a Turn-by-Turn MapMyIndia navigation app and the Juke-Car app.

The in-car navigation system displays Turn-By-Turn navigation when connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth. To get the in-car navigation system to work, owners need to install the NaviMap* app by MapMyIndia from the Google Play Store. And once done, they will get a full licensed version of NaviMap activated free of cost.

The Juke-Car app, also a segment-first feature, utilizes mobile hotspot to create a virtual network; wherein, all connected devices** can view the song list on the hotspot device. The common playlist then created on the hotspot device (i.e., the master phone) can be played via Bluetooth or Aux. Be it Rock 'n' Roll, Jazz, EDM, or Country music, the Juke-Car app allows you to listen, bob your head and arrive at a conclusion as to which genre of music suits the drive.

*At the time of the media drive, NaviMap was only available on Android OS.

** Maximum of 10 smartphones can be connected to the hotspot device.

Safety Features (Active / Passive) on Top-end model

 Airbag Driver & Front Passenger
 Seat Belt Front-3 Point; Rear Outer-3 Point; Center-Lap
 Central Locking Yes, With Remote
 Speed Sensing Auto Door Lock Yes
 Clutch Lock Yes
 Immobiliser Yes

Pricing

VariantPetrolDiesel
XBRs. 3,20,000Rs. 3,94,500
XERs. 3,59,500Rs. 4,29,500
XMRs. 3,89,500Rs. 4,69,500
XTRs. 4,19,500Rs. 4,99,500
XZRs. 4,75,000Rs. 5,54,000

At this asking price, the Hyundai Grand i10 springs to mind. So too, does the Maruti Celerio. With the Tiago going on sale in India this year, new-car buyers will have more choice.

Pros

  • Dual front airbags
  • Ingenious interior
  • Designed to attract young buyers
  • Peppy nature of the petrol engine
  • Responsive 5-speed manual gearbox
  • Smooth & punchy mid-range diesel engine
  • Comfortable cabin & good air conditioning
  • Audio Acoustics system by Harman/ Juke-Car app
  • Smartphone enabled Turn-by-Turn navigation app
  • Rear parking sensors with display on infotainment screen
  • Clutch lock (engine doesn't start unless the clutch pedal is depressed)
  • Noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels are excellent in the diesel
  • Six metallic colour options: White, Silver, Brown, Red, Orange, and Blue

Cons

  • Niggles in build quality
  • Noisy petrol engine during start-up
  • Air conditioning vents that do not close fully
  • Diesel engine's narrow power band (1,800rpm to 3,000rpm)

Verdict

I drove the petrol and diesel Tiago models. The diesel model I drove suffered some quality issues with the boot lock, and the doors needed to be pushed harder to shut them close. These issues could have been a one-off case; however, Tata's inconsistency in quality control has been questioned in the past. Despite this, the Tiago struck me as a good hatchback.

To sum up, the Tiago does not feel like a Tata. It feels better and is the best model in the Tata line-up by far. We say, more of this "above the ordinary" from Tata Motors please.

Tata Tiago captured in pictures

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Read more on: #review #tata motors
Story first published: Monday, December 14, 2015, 15:31 [IST]
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