1. Tata Tiago Review — First Drive Impressions

Tata Tiago Review — First Drive Impressions

The first thing that strikes you about the Tiago is that Tata has finally moved away from the ‘Indica’ design theme for its latest hatchback, and that in itself is a big achievement.

By: | New Delhi | Published: February 23, 2016 12:28 PM


tat tiago -l-ashish jha Tata’s design team has done a reasonably decent job with the Tiago. It is a balanced and well thought out design which sits confidently in profile. (Express)

The first thing that strikes you about the Tiago is that Tata has finally moved away from the ‘Indica’ design theme for its latest hatchback, and that in itself is a big achievement. Tiago is an extremely crucial product for Tata Motors and, if priced on par — better yet, undercut — the Maruti Suzuki Celerio, it might just be the game changer that Tata has wanted for a long time because on product value factor, Tiago has a lot going in its favour.

Tata’s design team has done a reasonably decent job with the Tiago. It is a balanced and well thought out design which sits confidently in profile. The front is characterised by a simple and straightforward honeycomb grille painted glossy black and there’s appreciably no overdose of chrome, only subtle garnishing on the grille and fog-lamp casings. It may seem that the tail gate has strikingly similar design to the Hyundai Grand i10, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The tail lamps, however, might be Tiago’s weakest point in exterior design. There’s a sense of oddity and incoherence about them when viewed against the otherwise well-executed rear section. The Tata Tiago isn’t an instantly recognisable or attention-grabbing car — especially in relatively prosaic colours.

Tata Motors has taken a great leap ahead in interior quality with the Tiago. The materials used are of appreciable quality (for the segment the car is intended to be positioned in) and four average sized adults will find sufficient space inside. If you’re relatively tall, however, your head may foul with the roof and thigh support might seem lacking. The front seats are very accommodating for most body shapes.

Tiago has an impressive features list and flaunts some first-in-segment items, too. There’s a Harman infotainment system with 8 speakers that supports Aux-In, USB, and Bluetooth streaming and can be operated through steering mounted controls. The Tiago also gets a navigation system that gives turn-by-turn guidance on the screen when synced through a phone-based App (available for only Android OS currently). There’s also a special feature called Juke Car app which can pair up to ten phones to allow for one master phone to play host for playing music from any of the synced phones.

The Tiago comes with reasonable levels of safety features in its top trim that include dual airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and corner stability control. It also gets rear parking sensors with a rather medieval looking display on the infotainment screen.

Tata has developed two engines for the Tiago — a 1.2-litre petrol engine or a 1.05-litre diesel. The 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine develops peak power of 84bhp@6,000rpm and a maximum torque of 114Nm@3,500rpm while the diesel engine is good for 69bhp@4,000rpm and 140Nm@1,800-3,000rpm. Both engines feature a dual overhead cam design and breathe via 4 valves per cylinder.

While both the engines do an admirable job of moving the bulk of the car (1,012kg for petrol and 1,080kg for diesel), they aren’t particularly enjoyable. The Tiago is a regular city car and it makes no claim of pleasing the enthusiasts. There’s a drive-mode selector which switches between normal and Eco modes. The Eco mode limits the performance of the car to aid fuel efficiency and it can get frustrating even when going about at slow city speeds, so its best advised to stick to ‘normal’ which is the default driving mode. The diesel has a strong mid-range but it’s the petrol motor that shines brighter. Tiago’s petrol engine is as flexible as the diesel while being smoother and more linear in its power delivery and the range of speeds it manages in different ratios was just as high.

While the shift throws are a tag long through the gate, the gear shifts action is fairly smooth and ratios are biased more towards fuel efficient driving. The clutch well calibrated for both the engines. The information display on the screen in the instrument cluster features a gear indicator that flashes the gear you’re driving in. What’s impressive is that it’s been mapped to the throttle position and would not show an ‘up’ arrow sign to get into a higher gear if you’re driving with a heavy right foot.

After going through the impressive features list, it’s a bit disappointing that Tata has skipped on a very important element— telescopically adjustable steering. The driver’s seat being height adjustable help matters to some extent, but a telescopic steering wheel would’ve been ideal.

While the steering wheel is a small-diameter unit and is great to hold, the steering ratio is quite high and it lacks directness and precision. It’s light in its operation (a boon in the city), but the steering input and the resultant directional change isn’t greatly proportional.

If the steering was a weak point, the highlight of the Tiago will be its suspension setup. The ride quality in the Tiago is extremely good and can even rival some cars from a higher segment. The front is all independent while the rear features a twist-beam with dual path strut design which channels spring load through one path and damper load through the other resulting in better vibration control and load management. It’s not exactly an engaging driving experience though, and the handling is modest at best.

Overall, Tiago is the refreshing change that Tata needed in its product portfolio for a long time. It’s packaged intelligently with some fist-in-segment features. Crucially, the Tiago flaunts good quality — inside, and out — unlike any Tata hatchback before it. The engines are good for their intended use and the NVH levels, while could be better, are acceptable for a car of this size. It’s also reasonably spacious and the suspension setup is worthy of praise. It’s a genuinely pleasing product and it’s all down to Tata to price and place the Tiago intelligently in the market to give it a competitive edge.tata tiago graph 1

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  1. Abhishek Singhai
    Feb 24, 2016 at 10:38 am
    The car is marvelous example of the upturn Tata Motors as a company has taken to improve on its design and customer delight. A new trendy and cly look backed by exemplary interiors and comfort makes this a best-in-cl and definitely a leap jump by the manufacturer to delight customer. Rightly said, it is #madeofgreat .
    1. Abhishek Singhai
      Feb 23, 2016 at 8:39 am
      A great step by Tata Motors. The fits, finish and interiors rival any best in cl compeor. Whereas Tata Motors is known for its fuel efficiency, no doubt this cars as a product gets over the image that Tata Motors as a b is perceived. It shows Tata Motors is back in the race and has plucked the right string. Tata as a b resides in the heart of Indians and this product is definitely going to establish the trust as it is #madeofgreat.
      1. N
        Feb 25, 2016 at 11:51 am
        Happy to see a good car from Tata. I can consider getting it for my wife. The great build quality, weight, looks and ride quality matter to me a lot. I own a Polo TDI and appreciate how build quality and weight matters. I wish it is launched with AMT too. However, the steering rotation vs direction proportion looks to be of some concern. Hope they rectify it. Best of luck Tata! I've never driver or wished a TATA car before, but this has made me think now!!!
        1. A
          Arun Narayanan
          Feb 23, 2016 at 8:20 am
          This is nothing but Indica car. How can they expect us to own something that is driven by taxi drivers.. Taxi with white board? Nano is in doldrums. This is Indica car. God knows when these guys will learn to produce good cars..?
          1. D
            Feb 23, 2016 at 11:32 am
            Dear Arun, First see the car physically. then comment. Definitely you do this and comeback with your comment.
            1. Gururaj B
              Mar 4, 2016 at 1:06 pm
              It does not look like Indica car. It is totally different. I felt very good.. at first sight.
              1. I
                Feb 23, 2016 at 10:01 am
                LOL to your knowledge about cars. This is one of the best car in entry level small cars. Not only in technology but this car is way ahead of Indica in terms of look also. If they can price it at around 3.8 Lacs then certainly it will e tough compeor. (And about TATA's ability to produce car- No body has ever produced a complete car with 4 wheels and 4 doors in 3000 $, they are competing in worlds deadliest market with companies which has decades of experience in penger vehicle; whereas TATA has only 15 years of experience in penger car. They will surely turn the tide in which they are experts)
                1. I
                  Feb 23, 2016 at 9:54 am
                  NO its not Indica. Every mechanical engineer can observe the great improvement made by TATA to reach global norms. This is surely a great car in this segment, certainly can be termed best in cl if they price it around 3.8 Lakhs.
                  1. santhosh j
                    Aug 11, 2016 at 6:32 am
                    It's been 2 months 18 days I made the booking of Tata Tiago XZ petrol - espresso brown with Aadya Motors in Bengaluru and still no clue of allotting a car to me and not even a date, when would you deliver the car! The wait is going on n on. It's quite unprofessional. My friends n relatives warned me not to go for tata as they don't provide the good services but i didn't listen and had faith on your company but you have proved me wrong. You people will never improve. You can't build the image in the market by making the false commitments with the customers. Don't make false promises at least and more importantly dont take orders if you cant make it.The pathetic response by the TATA people/Aadya Motors Bengaluru is pushing me towards cancelling the order.
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