First Drive: Tata’s Tiago Might Just Be a Gamechanger For Tata
Tata Tiago comes with an aggressive price tag but does not compromise on the quality, as compared to the competition.
There are new cars and then there are new cars that change the way we think about the manufacturer. The Tiago belongs to the latter breed; with it, Tata Motors has taken a bold new step into a very young future.
It’s not just about that bright orange colour scheme that adorned the test cars in Goa ready to be sampled for the first time by the media fraternity. The philosophy is engrained into every single element of the Tiago, like we’ve never seen before from Tata. This isn’t just a coincidence. What the Tiago does to Tata Motors’ product range can only come through a whole lot of thought in the right direction.
The Tiago is a clear breakaway from traditional Tata shapes and design themes – all the way from the subtle shark nose upfront to the spoiler extensions at the back, this model is a completely new design direction for the Indian manufacturer. Gone is the cute little smiling grille which has been replaced by a more modern, sporty and aggressive version that extends all the way to the headlights on either side.
Every line on the Tiago exists to provide a sense of dynamism to the design and a more front-biased visual character. The often monotonous side profile is broken up well by the various creases, a rakish glass house and wheels that fill their arches well.
Gone are those vertical tail lights that had become characteristic of Tata vehicles to give way to more sleeker lamps. Black rear spoiler extensions haven’t been seen before on any car in India and the rear defogger design looks like an inspiration straight out of The Maze Runner!
And finally there’s that dual textured rear bumper with a black lower half that again shifts the visual mass towards the front. All in all, the Tiago is a fresh design that can easily be mistaken for something European and hints at what is to come from Tata Motors in the future.
It’s not just the design that is a first for Tata Motors with the Tiago. Under that hood are two new engines – both three-cylinder units and both extremely fit for the role the Tiago is designed to fulfil. This hatchback is mainly intended for use inside cities where you need great driveability over out and out power.
In that scenario the 1.2-litre Revotron petrol with 85PS and 114Nm on tap does a great job in keeping the driving experience peppy as well as efficient. It’s got enough grunt for those quick in-city overtakes and with a light clutch and well-matched gear ratios, it’ll keep you fairly stress-free when you’re stuck in traffic.
The other engine option on the Tiago is obviously a diesel and this is a brand new family of engines as well – this one is the RevoTorq turbocharged 1047cc three-pot oil burner and it’s good for 70PS and 140Nm. The diesel mill is as refined as you can expect from three cylinders and it keeps things interesting with its power delivery.
Both engines may tend to sound noisy owing to their configuration but it really isn’t something that ends up bothering you much once you get behind the wheel. Tata Motors has included a two-mode Multi-Drive system that can be switched to the very ‘do not press unless you really, really have to’ Eco mode from the default City mode with both engine options. That said, the kind of customer eyeing the Tiago won’t really need anything more than what the two engines are already offering.
Needless to say, the Tiago is a very well-packaged product which instantly means loads of room inside the cabin. Fit and finish is top-notch and the materials used are a cut above anything we’ve seen not only from Tata Motors, but from some of the other bigger cars too.
There’s a nice flow of the exterior paint extending into the cabin around the air conditioning vents on the far corners of the dashboard adding to that youthful flair we talked about earlier. The seats are comfortable and there’s enough storage space for you to tuck everything you have either out of sight or into a neat little cubby-hole. There are no beige interiors on the Tiago and that’s a good thing because the same pollution levels that have prompted Delhi’s odd-even rule also tend to turn those beige interiors black anyway.
What really makes the Tiago so appealing on the inside are the gadgets – with turn-by-turn navigation relayed straight from your phone to the screen on the Tiago’s infotainment system. And then you’ve got the Tata Motors Juke-car App that lets all occupants connect through WiFi to the audio system and then run it like a jukebox from their individual playlists on their phones – pretty neat thought this! Speaking of embracing technology, there’s a shelf in the glovebox to safely store tablets and other devices too. After all that, if you’re still left with anything that doesn’t find place inside the Tiago’s cabin, you can just move it to the 240 litres of boot space at the back.
The Tiago is an all-round, well put together car for daily use in the urban jungle – great ride quality and a tight turning circle included. The engines do a fabulous job and the car is eye-catching.
This is the sort of car that will catch the fancy of a younger minimalist generation that just wants its gadgets and nothing else. This is a car that does its job with great aplomb.
Tata has also priced the car aggressively at a starting price of Rs 3.2 lakh for petrol and Rs 3.94 lakh for the diesel variant (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi).
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