After months of intense speculations, numerous spy shots and heavy camouflage, Tata Tiago is finally out in open. This is the next big thing from the house of Tata Motors we all knew by its codename, the Kite. Initially christened Tiago, Tata forced to rename it Tiago as similar sounding Zika virus broke out causing thousands of causalities. Tiago has got huge responsibility of replacing company’s original passenger car, the Indica. And going by its design, it seems to have started off quite well. Surely, front grille is heavily modified version of Bolt along with very familiar Tata’s humanity line, but apart from that, Tiago is completely fresh design.Unlike Zest and Bolt that are essentially reengineered version of Vista, Tiago is an all-new car.
Design, Style & Interiors
More importantly, with Tiago, Tata has finally ditched its Indica design template that continued from original Indica to latest Bolt. A wide upfront grille, pulled back headlamps, strong shoulder and character streaks, and equally animated rear sums up Tiago’s very proportionate and highly likeable look. Upfront grille is honeycomb and along with humanity line, lends fresh design of the Tiago. Curvaceous bonnet and well-designed bumper makes an attractive front fascia. In the profile, car looks very balanced and well planted. 14 inch wheels fill the Arches nicely which is pleasant departure from the Tata's own norm. Overall the Tiago measures 3746 mm long, stands 1535 mm tall, and 1647 mm wide between the shoulders. 170 mm Ground clearance is decent, and help the car to get over the road undulations without scratching its belly. Bits like strong waist line, rising window sweep, and upright C-pillar are in line with modern trends though we can’t help but notice Tiago’s passing resemblance to some of its rivals from certain viewing angles.
Inside the cabin, things remain quite interesting. Tiago’s cabin is cheerful and very neatly laid-out. Steering wheel feels sporty and is direct lift from Zest sedan. Top-end variant we tested come with feature additional convenience of mounted music and telephony controls. Tiago also have got a tiny multi-media display on central stack for that extra oomph! Given the rising safety expectations, Tiago features dual front airbags and ABS though lower variants are done away with it.
Another improvement that Tata has made is on storage spaces. Unlike Bolt and Zest, Tiago has lot of spaces for keeping your stuff though small items only. There is bottle holder on each door (good for taking in only half-litre bottle), a bay at the base of central stack, a set of cup-holder behind the gear lever and storage shelf towards the driver side of dash.
Space feeling all-around is enormous, especially at back where generous glass allows plenty of light to sneak in. Seats have got generous thigh support and unlike up front where seat base may feel a tad short, rear bench offers ample under-thigh support. Boot space is decent too though towers intrude quite a bit into useful space.
Engine, Transmission & Driving Dynamics
Not only Tiago is new outside and inside, it also acts as a Launchpad for Tata’s all-new petrol and diesel motors. Both units of are 3-cylinder, 4-vlave configuration and come mated with 5-speed manual transmission.1.2-litre Revotron gasoline engine has been developed from the scratch and uses all-aluminum lightweight construction.Spec-sheet reads out power of 85 PS along with 114 Nm of max torque.3-cylinder oil-burner, on the other hand, feels nicer than its petrol counterpart. Displacing 1.05-litre, this engine is heavily modified version of Indica’s 4-cylinder motor. We test drove the Revotron petrol motor and found this unit quite competent.
Spec-sheet of gasoline reads out power of 85 PS along with 114 Nm of max torque. Numbers seems impressive on the sheet for three cylinder motor though actual performance isn’t very lively. Motor lacks the rev-happy character and power seems sufficient and no more. You have to work on the gearbox to extract the best and longer third-gear further exaggerates this feel. In stop-start traffic, the delivery is quite jerky and one can feel the shudder on release of the clutch and flooring of accelerator. Clutch is light though we wish it to be a little more progressive. 5-speed gearbox is significantly improved over the previous Tata cars but still requires directional efforts for right slotting at times.
Tiago’s underlying spring firmness causes some sharp vertical moments, still 165 mm wide tyres dispatches the potholes well. Handling deserves a special mention as from our short ride experience; we can uninhibitedly declare this Tata a new benchmark in handling the corners.Straight line stability too stands out and it’s really hard to unsettle this small Tata baby. Steering wheel weighs up nicely with some heft though it lacks in communication especially in straightforward position.
With price starting from ridiculously aggressive tag of Rs 3.20 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), Tiago run down its rivals on value for money. Tata has invested lot of effort and result has certainly lived up to the expectations. Tiago looks modern, comes with spacious interiors and boasts of a cabin that could be easily mistaken for class higher car. Further, the Tiago rides well and its handling can be easily considered among the best in the business. Unfortunately, the spiritless engine has taken some sheen away from what is otherwise a very well rounded package. However, we expect the folks of this category will be willing for making a compromise on performance at the altar of fuel-efficiency. Tiago is exceptionally good value for money but its real strength is its optimum mix of modern design, contemporary engineering and quality cabin that makes this 5-door hatch a sure-shot winner. Finally, we have got Tata Motors back in the race.
Style & Substance 4/5 Ride & Handling 4/5
Interiors & Ergonomics 4/5 Safety & Equipment 3/5
Power-Plant &Transmission 3/5 Fuel Efficiency 4/5
Value for money 4/5