The Indian sub-4 metre sedan segment has an interesting history. It was born out of a 2006 legislation that allowed small cars to qualify for a lower excise duty. In fact, the then finance minister, P Chidambaram, in his 2006 Budget speech, said, “…I propose to reduce the excise duty to 16%, but only for small cars. A small car, for this purpose, will mean a car of length not exceeding 4,000mm and with an engine capacity not exceeding 1,500cc for diesel and 1,200cc for petrol…”
The speech didn’t mention hatchbacks or sedans!
Quick to exploit the opportunity – and Indians’ craze for sedans – Tata Motors shortened the Indigo sedan’s boot, reducing the car’s length to 3,988mm, and passed on some of the excise cut benefit to customers. Thus was born the Indigo CS (Compact Sedan) – India’s first sub-4 metre sedan.
Tata Motors has come a long way since the Indigo CS. Under the HorizoNext approach of producing vehicles which are both exciting and appealing, the company now has world-class products like the Tiago hatchback and the Hexa MUV. On March 29, it’ll add another to the list: the Tigor sub-4 metre sedan.
However, Tata is branding the Tigor as a ‘StyleBack’. Products in this segment have a boring design and “we want to bring ‘style’ ‘back’ to the segment,” said Pratap Bose, the head of Design at Tata Motors, whom we met during the pre-launch drive in New Delhi.
It’s a challenge to design compact sedans. One has to ensure that looks, design, roominess, storage spaces and driving dynamics aren’t compromised. However, innovation can help overcome any challenge. That’s what Bose’s team has achieved with the Tigor.
View it from any angle – especially the rear three-quarters – and the Tigor looks stunning. The best thing about its design is that the boot is neatly integrated with the body. The car has a lively and dynamic stance that exudes the feeling of youthfulness. The paint job is as good as it can get.
The dual-coloured bumper with the Tata signature grille is accentuated with a striking chrome design line, extending into the crystal-like, smoked projector headlamps. The design lines run through the length of the car, integrating seamlessly with the signature split LED tail-lamps. The top variants of the Tigor will get an integrated high-mounted LED stop lamp – it looks very stylish.
The cabin is the same as that of the Tiago. Space all around is good, and there are 24 utility spaces to provide ample storage to carry one’s world along. The patterned seats with bolsters, a premium knitted roof liner and customisable air-vents lend a very upmarket and feel to the Tigor. The boot, at 419 litres, is one of the most spacious you will find in this class of cars.
The Tigor will be available in both petrol and diesel variants. The petrol is the Revotron 1199cc engine and the diesel is the Revotorq 1047cc engine. The petrol produces a maximum power of 84bhp and a torque of 114Nm, while the diesel produces peak power of 69bhp and a torque of 140Nm. Both engines are available with multi-drive modes – Eco and City. The Eco mode optimises engine performance for superior fuel economy, while the City mode – which is also the default mode –optimises engine output for both a peppy driving experience and efficiency. Both engines are mated to a 5+1 manual transmission. As of now, there is no automatic gearbox on offer.
Brief drive (diesel)
The engine is noisy, and a lot of that sound enters the cabin. It’s not peppy either, initially. The turbo appears to kick in at above 2000rpm and the car is slow to take off. However, midrange is good, and when the engine is running at a high rpm, you don’t really feel lack of power. Ride and handling is also good. The diesel Tigor weighs 1,130kg.
Brief drive (petrol)
As compared to a few other petrol cars in the segment, the Tigor petrol is noisy. However, for its size, the engine is peppy. The car is quick on straights, and power delivery is so good that it’s fun driving it on twisty roads. The petrol Tigor weighs 1,062kg.
Tata Motors has worked closely with Harman – the global leader in connected car technology and audio innovations – to design and engineer an acoustic audio and infotainment system for its cars. In the Tigor, the infotainment system comes with a five-inch touchscreen enabled with video playback, voice command recognition, and SMS readout and display for the rear parking-assist camera. It has a total of eight speakers and these deliver an amazing sound quality. Steering wheel-mounted controls make driving convenient.
The Tigor will also get a comprehensive app suite with dedicated apps for navigation, but right now these are available only for Android.
The Tigor will be launched on March 29. It’s one of the most spacious cars in its segment and is so stylish that it will attract a cross-section of buyers. It’s got that “I-wanna-buy-it-for-the-way-it-looks” character. And the Tiago experience proves that these new-age Tata cars are not just about style, but more about substance.