Tata this week launched its hatchback car, the Tiago. Earlier called the Zica, derived from ‘Zippy Car’, the Tiago, as a product, was ready by December last year. But then the virus happened. The spread of Zika virus in many countries—especially South and Central America—earlier this year forced Tata Motors to change the car’s name, employing a unique crowd-sourcing contest, to Tiago. The other names being considered were Civet and Adore.
The move appears to have helped Tata Motors keep the buzz around the car alive. As far as size is concerned, the Tiago competes with cars such as Maruti Suzuki Celerio and Hyundai Grand i10. However, the Tiago’s starting price of Rs 3.2 lakh (petrol) and Rs 3.94 lakh (diesel) pushes it into the Alto K10’s territory. Does this mean that the Tiago is the Grand i10 you aspire for at the price of an Alto?
The Grand i10 is priced considerably higher (Rs 4.85 lakh for petrol and Rs 5.75 lakh for diesel).
The Tiago embraces the Designext language pretty well and there are no underpinnings from the previous design (the Indica). Some cues, however, appear to have been borrowed from the Grand i10. Measuring 3,746mm in length, 1,647mm in width and 1,535mm in height, the Tiago is slightly smaller than the Grand i10. But at 170 mm, it has 5mm more ground clearance.
The Grand i10 has been modelled on Hyundai’s globally-acclaimed Fluidic Sculpture design philosophy. The car was launched over two years ago, and yet its design stands out. The attention to detail is impressive—front hexagonal grille, flowing character lines, wraparound tail-lamps—all add up to give it a stylistic touch. Over two years old, the Grand i10 still retains the youthfulness and energy it promised when it was launched.
Despite the Tiago being an entry-level hatchback, Tata has not compromised on plastic quality, which is clearly better than that in the Celerio. The dashboard is elaborately laid out and all switches are within easy reach. The steering wheel is just the right size and offers decent grip. There is a tiny multimedia display that also works for the turn-by-turn navigation app that you need to download. The car gets the Connectnext infotainment system exclusively developed by Harman. Among other things, there are eight speakers and the audio experience is the best you will find in the segment. There are as many as 22 utility spaces to store things ranging from files to books to glasses to bottles. The boot space is a decent 240 litres; however, the luggage loading lip is higher than some other cars in the segment.
The Grand i10’s cabin is hard to match, even for the modern Tiago. It is an expensive car, and the richness gets reflected inside the cabin. The design of the two-tone dash is neat and the material used is best in segment. The non-reflective black plastic used on the dashboard is a boon when driving in the sun. The steering wheel seems from a class above. The best thing about the Grand i10 is that the cabin has an airy feel to it, and overall space is slightly better than the Tiago. The boot space is impressive. It also gets rear AC vents.
Tata has developed all-new engines for the Tiago—Revotron and Revotorq.
The Revotron is a 1199cc, three-cylinder petrol engine made of aluminium. It produces a peak power of 85PS and a torque of 114Nm. On the road, while its performance is adequate, the engine produces a lot of noise. It is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and its claimed fuel-efficiency is an impressive 23.84kpl.
The Revotorq is a 1047cc, three-cylinder diesel engine made of cast iron but with an aluminium head. It produces a peak power of 70PS and a torque of 140Nm. Its performance is quite good and once the turbocharger kicks in at around 1,800rpm, the driving is effortless. Its claimed fuel-efficiency is 27.28kpl.
The Grand i10 is powered by the proven 1.2 Kappa Dual VTVT engine which develops a peak output of 83PS and a torque of 116Nm. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission—there is also a four-speed automatic on offer—the engine is far smoother than Tata’s petrol, making the Grand i10 petrol’s cabin very quiet. But its fuel-efficiency, at 18.9kpl, is lower. The diesel engine in the Grand i10 is called the 1.1 U2 CRDi. It produces a maximum power of 71PS and a healthy torque of 163Nm. This engine has just the right gearing ratios for city driving and is very torquey for its size. Its fuel-efficiency is 24kpl.
For prospective customers, the best thing about the Tiago is not really its new design or the features, but perhaps the price. At a starting price of Rs 3.2 lakh (petrol) and Rs 3.94 lakh (diesel), the Tiago is significantly more affordable than the Grand i10. It’s clearly the best Tata we’ve seen, and at the price, a sensible buy.
The Grand i10, on the other hand, is high on space, high on refinement, high on power, but high on price too. Compared to the Tiago, the Grand i10 is a proven product—trusted by lakhs of Indians—and also gives you a big car feel. However, that trust and big car feel costs Rs 1.65 lakh extra for the petrol and Rs 1.81 lakh for the diesel.
(Prices are ex-showroom, Delhi)