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      Tata Tiago Review: First Drive

      Tanmay Pangam

      Tanmay Pangam


      Tata Tiago First Drive

      The hatchback segment in India is a hotly contested one. Competition is high and every new entry has to face well-established entries from the country’s top-two car manufacturers. That said, hatchback sales are all about numbers. This is where the volumes are and Tata Motors has made their intentions clear that they want a share of this pie.  The Tiago is Tata’s best ever effort in the hatchback space. Launched in both, Diesel & Petrol variants, we spent some time with them to bring you our initial impressions.

      Tata Zica Exterior 5

      Appearance Exterior

      Tata Zica Exterior 1

      Designers across Tata’s design studios in Pune, UK and Italy have worked on the car’s design and it shows. The styling on the Tiago is expressive and exciting, with the new design language being a strong indicator for products in the future. Coming back to the car, it sports a sculpted look, with sharp creases and bold lines everywhere. Up front is the signature, hexagonal grill that is placed vertically. The TATA logo sitting in the middle is new, as well, sporting a bolder, more prominent look. The smoked-lens headlamps sport a black bezel. It contrasts nicely with the chrome surrounds on the fog-lamps. The trendy looking spats on the spoiler at the back add to the sportiness of the car and also improve aerodynamics. The overall stance of the car indicates agility, with the sharp nose adding a very shark-like feel to it. The car looks very youthful and trendy, turning heads during our short time on the road.

      Tata Zica Exterior 9



      Appearance Interior

      The Tiago’s interiors are a marked improvement over what we’ve seen on earlier products from the manufacturer. The cabin is finished in black and grey. Tata’s decision to avoid using beige on the inside is a welcome one. The Tiago’s interiors have a very premium feel to them. Tata have used a lot of textures, both in the fabrics used as well as the plastic trims. This is evident in the geometric design of the headliner and the seats, to the door pads and the dashboard. On the top variants, the air-conditioning vent surrounds are finished in the exterior shade, bringing a nice splash of colour to the interior. The driver’s seat gets manual height adjust and the seats overall offer good bolstering. The cushioning on offer could be a bit soft for extended driving times, though we’ll wait for a proper test drive before commenting on this.

      Tata Zica Interior 1

      All the controls are within easy reach, and the indicator/headlight stalks have a premium, damped feel to them. The instrument cluster is finished smartly, featuring both, a rev-counter as well as the speedometer. There is a tell-tale, multi-information display that’s integrated into the centre of the instrumentation counter. This gives a detailed reading on the distance travelled, the overall fuel efficiency, real-time fuel consumption figures and the trip meter. There is also a useful gear indicator that serves to optimize gear-shifts. 

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      The Tiago gets the next generation, ConnectNext Infotainment system from Harman. The unit is well integrated into the dashboard and gets classy piano-black surrounds as well. The sound quality is quite good at low and medium listening levels. The speakers are punchy and have good bass, though they get overwhelmed at very high volumes. The HVAC unit on the Tiago is a chiller, particularly on the Diesel version. The flow of air too is good, and it shows that Tata have put some thought behind it, with even the passengers in the rear seat were kept cool and happy. The rotary control knobs have a tactile feel to them, though they could be finished better.

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      Interior space is a strength of the Tiago with enough leg-room for both, the driver and the co-driver at the front and the two passengers in the rear seat. Things do get a bit cramped at the back, in-case a third passenger decides to join in at the rear. Tata have also addressed the concerns on storage space within the cabin that had cropped up on the Bolt & the Zest. The Tiago, gets a total of 22-storage spaces. From a dual-zone glove box (which is chilled, by the way) to the tiny coin-slot on the driver’s side, Tata have given things a fair bit of thought. The 240-litre boot may be a bit low when compared to the competition, but suspension intrusion is kept to a minimum, ensuring high usability. The Tiago also gets multiple hooks within the cabin and in the boot, to hang bags, coats and their ilk. Each hook gets a weight rating to take the guess-work out of the load-bearing capacity – a smart move from Tata.

      Tata Zica Interior 16

      The Tiago gets dual-airbags at the front and ABS with EBD and corner stability control. In addition to this, the Tiago body shell has also been carefully designed to absorb the maximum load during crashes, ensuring higher passenger safety. 

      Performance Drive

      The Tiago comes with diesel as well as a petrol engine option. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

      The 1.05 litre diesel engine in the Tiago develops about 69 bhp of power. It also sports the highest torque figures of 140 Nm between 1800-3000 rpm in the segment. The three-cylinder diesel motor is the first of the new-generation motors from the Revotorq family. It gets dual overhead camshafts and central injectors. Tata have worked upon the technical details, optimizing the valve lift and giving it a low-friction crank to ensure optimum fuel efficiency. They have also worked hard on the cost-of-ownership factor, by improving the reliability and the life-cycle of key engine components like the timing belt, the auxiliary belt and the filters used.

      Tata Zica Pan Shots 1

      The 1.2 litre petrol motor develops about 84 bhp and 115 Nm of peak torque at 3500 rpm. It comes with Variable Cam Timing (VCT-i) and a variable oil-pump to improve efficiency. Tata have given this engine a durable chain-drive system, hydraulic lash adjusters and an auto-tensioner to drive down cost of ownership.

      Tata Zica Pan Shots 2

      Both engines have been tuned for drivability and maximum fuel-efficiency. To aid-this, they get Tata’s signature multi-drive mode – City and Eco. The former is the default mode on, while the Eco mode is switchable. The diesel feels a lot peppier, being eager to drive. Turbo-lag is minimal and there is little hesitation between gears. Thanks to the best-in-class torque and the well-chosen gear ratios, the car tracks stable and true even on the highway. Overtaking is a breeze and one can cruise comfortably at ton-up speeds. The petrol engine is better suited to pottering about in the city. With highway driving requiring the engine to be kept on the boil. Overtaking manoeuvres are best planned in advance and aided hugely by dropping a gear. Drivability is good, though one can feel the torque difference after driving the diesel engine. NVH levels are low on both cars, though road noise did creep in in the petrol. Another thing noticed is the vibrations that creep up through the gear-lever on the petrol. They aren’t as pronounced as they were in the Zest, but they’re present nevertheless.

      Tech Specs

      Make Tata Motors Tata Motors
      Model Tiago Tiago
      Fuel Petrol Diesel
      Variant XZ XZ
      Engine Capacity 1.2-litre 1.2-litre
      Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 83 @6000 83 @6000
      Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 115@4000 115@4000
      Gears  Five Five
      Length mm 3746 3746
      Width mm 1647 1647
      Height mm 1535 1535
      Wheelbase mm 2400 2400
      Fuel Capacity (in litres) 35 35
      Tyre size 175/65 R14 175/65 R14


      Features XZ ZXI(O) Asta (O)
      Steering mounted Audio controls Yes Yes Yes
      Speakers for surround sound effect for all doors Yes Yes Yes
      Air conditioner Yes Yes Yes
      Electronic power steering Yes Yes Yes
      Front power windows Yes Yes Yes
      Rear power windows Yes Yes Yes
      Adjustable tilt steering Yes Yes Yes
      Electrically adjustable ORVM Yes Yes Yes
      Keyless central door loacking Yes Yes Yes
      Front fog lamps   No Yes
      Rear wiper,washer,defogger Yes Yes Yes
      Integrated music system with backlit buttons Yes Yes Yes
      Driver SRS airbag Yes Yes Yes
      Co Driver airbag Yes Yes Yes
      Anti-Lock Braking System Yes (with Cornering Stability Control) Yes Yes

      Competition All Specs

      Specifications Tata Motors
      Maruti Suzuki
      i10 Grand
        Tata Motors
      Maruti Suzuki
      i10 Grand
      Variant XZ Zxi (O) Asta (O)   XZ Zdi (O) Asta (O)
      Fuel Petrol Petrol Petrol   Diesel Diesel Diesel
      Engine Capacity 1.2-litre 1.0-litre 1.2-litre   1.2-litre 0.8-litre 1.2-litre
      Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 83 @6000 67 @ 6200 82 @ 6000   83 @6000 47 bhp 71 bhp
      Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 115@4000 90@3500 113 @4000   115@4000 125 160
      Gears  Five Five Five   Five Five Five
      Length mm 3746 3600 3765   3746 3600 3765
      Width mm 1647 1600 1660   1647 1600 1660
      Height mm 1535 1560 1520   1535 1560 1520
      Wheelbase mm 2400 2425 2425   2400 2425 2425
      Fuel Capacity (in litres) 35 35 43   35 35 43
      Tyre size 175/65 R14 155/65 R14 165/65 R14   175/65 R14 155/65 R14 165/65 R14


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      As a product, the Tiago comes out rather strongly in the segment. The styling is a big win as well as the hugely improved interiors. The diesel would be our pick overall between the two cars. It does go up against some well-entrenched competition in the form of the Hyundai i10 Grand and the Maruti Celerio. Our initial feel is that the Tiago twins have what it takes to take the fight to the competition, but pricing is going to be the key here. If Tata have to make a mark in the segment, they will have to undercut the competition on the pricing front.


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      Tata Tiago ₹ 5.00 Lakh Onwards
      Tata | Tiago | Tata Tiago