Tata Tiago JPT Review & Tata Tigor JTP Review: Ever since we saw the Jayem-Tata Performance Cars at the 2018 Auto Expo we have been waiting with baited breathes to get our hands on these hot Tata performance cars. Even on paper, they seemed like the most holistic attempt to build proper performance cars in India to date with 1.2-litre Turbo-petrol engines that make 112 hp and 150 Nm of torque. Tata had promised that this wouldn’t be just a cosmetic job and they have delivered. We recently drove the hot Tata performance machines in and around Jayem’s home-base at Coimbatore to find out exactly what these cars were all about. But before we get into the details of how these cars look and how they drive, let's talk a little about Jayem Automotive and why we are so excited to see this badge on these cars. Jayem Automotive has long been in the background of a whole lot of Tata Motors R&D, over the years building cars like the Indica Silhouette V6 that made 330 hp from its 3.5 litre V6 racing engine, and the Super Nano which made 130 hp from its superbike sourced engine. Both these cars, like the JTP cars, have been developed at the Kari Motor Speedway under the supervision of Jayem boss, J Anand. Anand himself is sort of a legend in the Indian Motorsport history with a reputation for being soft-spoken and amiable outside the car but brutally aggressive inside one. Two big names under one roof leave only one question unanswered, do these cars live up to the name on the badge.
2018 Tata Tiago JTP and Tigor JTP Design:
The two JTP cars are a stark visual contrast from their standard counterparts, the most noticeable change on the outside is the fact that both cars feature lightly smoked projector headlamps from the 2018 Tigor Facelift. Both the Tigor and the Tiago get a new front bumper with a larger grill and a black lip placed right below the bumper. The new projector headlamps also get the pronounced chrome humanity line that sits above a larger blacked out grille, with a new blacked-out treatment to the fog lamp recess as well. Both cars get side skirt that not only increases the road presence but also add to the siblings’ go-faster theme. ORVMs are painted in the new signature JTP colour “FireEngine” red. Both cars also get a working bonnet scoop off-set to the left that help feed air slightly quicker into the air-filter and consequently the turbocharger.
The Tiago and Tigor also run bigger 15-inch wheels with modifications made to the wheel arches to accommodate the larger, wider wheels while this is more of a dynamic upgrade on the JTP cars the result also help give the JTP Cars some additional stance on the road and add significantly to the visual appeal. Another dynamic update that benefits the two JTP cars visually, in terms of stance in the lower ride height of 4mm. All considered these updates are not massive but do a great job in ensuring the JTP cars stand out significantly from the competition.
2018 Tata Tiago JTP and Tigor JTP Interiors
On the inside, the Tata JTP cars feature a black and red theme. The front seat on both cars is slightly updated, with the more lumbar support ensuring the driver and the co-passenger are better held within the seat even when the road surface is undulating or even when the road involves lots of sudden direction changes. Once again this is one of those changes that aren’t really big but, show that JTP has thought like an enthusiast, ensuring that the inside of the cabin is comfortable even when you're pushing the limits of the car. The rest of the interiors, including the roof, have been completely blacked out. To break the monotony of the black, bright red glossy inserts around the air conditioning vents in JTPs signature Firehouse Red have been included. The front seats have the JTP logo embossed on the seats, with red-stitching to add to that sporty appeal. The red-stitching even features on the gearstick. Even the steering wheel, while not a flat bottom unit, features the red stitching accent on the black wheel and is slightly plusher with better materials than its standard counterpart. Aluminium pedals with rubber grips, replace the stock one, and they do offer better grip especially for heel-toe downshifts.
In JTP spec, the Tiago also gets an exclusive upgrade from the old black and white infotainment system and now features the touchscreen infotainment system from the pre-facelifted version of the Tigor. The Tigor on the other hand also employs the same system that misses out on Android Auto and Apple Car Play. This, in our books, is a big miss for JTP, although, sources close to the brand say that the new system will be added to the cars soon. Overall, the Tiago and Tigor are functional although we could have wished for a slightly more comprehensive approach to the interiors.
Tata Tiago and Tigor JTP Dynamics and Handling
To make the Tiago and Tigor better handlers than their stock counterparts, JTP upped the tyre size to 15-inches with a significant increase in contact patch coming through the tyres massive 185 section. This may just seem like a convenient cosmetic upgrade, but having driven the car in the tight ghat sections around Ooty and Coimbatore the added contact patch helps to keep the power down and really improve the grip and balance of the car. These uprated tyres may seem like just a minor update, but actually, require significant R&D with modification required to the wheel wells to accommodate the tyres. Ride height has been dropped by 4mm as well, this not only benefits the high-speed stability of the car but also ensure that the suspension is stiffer with better feedback coming through to the driver. What is interesting, is the fact that this drop in ride height has not affected the NVH at low speeds with both cars doing a good job of absorbing bumps and rattles at low speed without sending shocks through the cabin.
However, while this goes without saying its worth a mention that the Tiago JTP Hatch does handle a lot better than its compact sedan counterpart the Tigor JTP. The body roll on the Tigor is slightly more pronounced, thanks to the boot which hangs over the rear-tyres. The Tiago on the other handles likes it is on rails, gripping the road surface hard even in banked and inclined corners. With respect to safety too, the Tata Tiago JTP and Tigor JTP have just the right amount, with ABS, EBD and dual-airbags in as standard. This not only ensures that desensitising electronics don't drive up the price but also ensures that the cars are safe enough for you to drive without much worry.
Tiago and Tigor JTP Engine and Performance
The Tata Tiago and Tigor JTP cars both get power from the 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder motor from the Nexon, although the maps have been altered. My favourite thing about the new maps is how power is delivered from the Turbo, most turbo petrol cars that we have driven to date spool up way too early in the powerband to be used on a daily basis. As a result, the motors feel laggy in traffic and end up using much more fuel in the process. This is why cars like EcoBoost engine on the EcoSport 1.0 litre quickly went out of fashion despite being a great performer. JTP, on the other hand, have found the sweet spot, with the turbo only kicking in high only after the needle gets past 2000 rpm mark. This means that in everyday traffic, and start-stop driving you aren’t wasting gas on the turbo spool up every time you need to roll. This also means that torque steer which is a constant niggle of turbo-charged front wheel drive cars is almost absent, only really spirited starts on loose surfaces have any semblance of torque steer.
Once again this proves that the car was made by an enthusiast for the enthusiast. Sources from within the company say that they have sought to recreate the beauty of iconic motors from the 90s like the G13B (which powered the Esteem and the First generation of Swift) and the 1.5-litre Honda VTEC(from the City), that were dual character motors. Motors that were as comfortable being in the lower reaches of the rev-band and made most of their power way up in the powerband. From an enthusiasts point of view, Tata’s JTP outfit have not only chosen the most accurate muse but have managed to recreate that with more usable power and better handling. That is something you really, really cannot put a price on. All put together this results in a 0-100 time of 9.5 seconds for the Tiago while the 50 kg heavier Tigor takes 10.3 seconds, which is far from slow. Another thing that the JTP outfit set out to do was, bring back cars that made you feel something. Instead of the regular set of very bland stereotypical cars that lead most of the sales charts. Once again, they have come out on top. Driving the JTP cars is truly an experience, the pronounced whistle of the turbo as it spools up, the waste-gate letting out its signature “psssh”, matched with the raspy exhaust note all contribute to an aural attack your senses that bring back the feeling of driving fast. A feeling that we feared was lost within the 90s.
Tata Tiago & Tigor JTP Verdict:
Straight off, the Tata Tiago and Tigor JTP are the most holistic attempt at building a performance car by any company in India, period. Right from the time you first set eyes on them, it brings back that feeling of being in a proper performance car. Something that is further exemplified the moment you get behind the wheel, both the cars make all the right noises and all the right moves stopping short of being scary. What the Turbo JTP siblings are a tip of the hat to the good old manual performance cars of the past. Simple, Quick, inexpensive to own and inexpensive to service. The kind of car that you could drive to work every day, and still blister past your boys (or girls) on your weekend drive. What JTP has done then is made a mass-market car that puts the driver back in the driver's seat and them gives more than one reason to stay there. Rarely, do we give a verdict this conclusive but these two siblings are truly the last word in mass-market performance cars. If you are an enthusiast looking for well-priced, well-powered performance car that makes you smile every time you put your foot down. Look no further! Troubles only begin when you have to choose between a really nice hot hatch or the more practical hot sedan.