Tata Tiago Diesel First Drive Review
With the hatchback segment already being flooded with competitors from various automakers, it was high time for Tata Motors to introduce a potent contender in the market. When the Tata Bolt was introduced a couple of years back, it wasn’t really able to stir the segment, owing to the fact that people perceived it to be a redressed Tata Indica. But looks like, the Bolt was just a ‘filling-in’ product, as Tata Motors was developing an all-new hatch to compete with the likes of the Maruti Celerio, and the Hyundai Grand i10. And here we are, two years down the line, with a Tata car that as the caliber to shape the budget hatchback segment of the future.
The Tiago was launched last year and has widely been appreciated for its value for money and contemporary image. The fact that it is an all-new car from Tata Motors, something that has been missing for a really long time, makes it worth consideration. Based on the company’s new IMPACT design philosophy, the Tiago is the freshest product to come out of Tata’s stable in a very, very long time.
Look at the Tiago from any angle, and it just doesn’t remind you of any other Tata car. The front face gets an all-new smiling grille, while the Tata logo is embossed in the centre. Simple yet elegantly styled wrap-around headlamps give the car a contemporary appeal.
Move to the side, and you can clearly differentiate the Tiago from any other car on the road. The egg-shaped design theme of the Indica has been given a farewell, as the Tiago gets a squat stance, a winding roofline, and prominent characteristic curves on the door panels. 14-inch alloy wheels do look a bit plain jane, but will probably appeal to a wider audience. In our personal opinion, 15-inch wheels could have really helped to add a pinch of dynamism to the car’s character.
The rear end is unmistakably similar to that of the new Ford Figo. The waistline runs along the side of the car, into the taillights, and continues onto the boot lid. This adds a pinch of dynamism to the Tiago’s character, especially when looked from the rear. Glossy black spoiler extensions are unique, but have been integrated tastefully to enhance the Tiago’s aggressive looks. All-in-all, the new Tata Tiago is surely worthy of being called an all-new car.
Moving to the inside, the first thing you will notice is the fact that the Tiago is not a car you can simply walk into. The roofline and seats have been placed a lot lower, even as compared to the Bolt. Hence ingress and egress can be an issue, especially for the elderly. But once you sit down and gaze, the cabin does look a pleasant place to be in.
The dashboard gets a contemporary design, and is adorned in black-grey dual tone. Steering wheel gets all important function buttons integrated in an easy-to-use layout. The well-informative MID is embedded in the twin-barrel instrument cluster, and displays all necessary information. Moving to the centre console, the AC vents get piano black accents by default, though they can be personalized to the color of the car on customer demand.
The 2-DIN music system does a satisfactory job, but a touchscreen unit on the top-end variant would have further given the Tiago an edge over its competitors. However, the sound quality from the Harmon Kardon is simply amazing. No car in this segment, and even above a segment, comes with such good sound. The lower tones and the mid range are sharp, while the top-end notes do get slightly blushy, especially when you are playing the tracks on higher volumes.
There are plenty of storage spaces below the centre console, in the glovebox, and the door pads. Seats have been padded on the softer side, which might be a boon in city rides, but can be a bit uncomfortable during long journeys. All variants get fabric upholstery, no leather option here!
Move on to the rear, and the Tiago continues to amaze you. With a wheelbase shorter than the Celerio and Grand i10, the Tiago offers enough legroom for its segment. The front seats have scooped out backs, in order to liberate a bit more knee room. But there are a few issues here. The floor hump is quite tall. The handbrake console juts out a bit more than normal. The seat bench is not totally flat. And the car itself is not really wide. All these factors make three sitting abreast at the rear, a bit uncomfortable.
The Tata Tiago can be opted with two engine options: a 1.2-litre revetron petrol and an all-new 1.05-litre revotorq diesel. We drove the diesel. With power rated at 69 hp and 140 Nm of torque, this 3-cylinder engine is satisfactorily loaded on paper. And as a surprise, all this power does translate to better driving dynamics in the practical world as well. The Tiago has enough power to take care of all regular requirements one will come across in the city. Slot the gear into first, and the Tiago Diesel moves off the line a lot like a petrol powered car. Gear shift can be a bit rubbery at times, but it is not to an extent that can be a deal breaker. The engine is great to maneuver around in city traffic, thanks to the linear power delivery.
However, when it comes to highway drives, the smaller displacement mill shows some minor issues. While you can easily maintain good speeds, overtaking maneuvers need to be well-planned in advance. The engine doesn’t have any juice above 4,200 rpm, which makes it important to work the gears to make a quick move on the highway.
Another issue we had with the car is the refinement. The engine is fairly audible, even at standstill. The NVH levels obviously rise when the engine is strained, however it is much better than the 2-pot diesel mill of the Celerio. When the car is stationary and the engine is on, some vibrations are felt on the gear lever, pedals and steering wheel. However, the amplitude of these vibrations is very small and owners will soon get used to it.
Let’s now talk about something that we simply fell in love with – the Tiago’s suspension setup. When it comes to ride quality, this little cutesy hatch can defeat every car in the segment. The suspension does not let shocks and road undulations filter in the cabin, thus ensuring a planted ride. No matter how harsh the road is, the Tiago will absorb every single jerk and insulate the cabin completely.
While such soft suspension setups often result in a compromise in the handling department, Tata engineers have managed to spot the perfect balance. Put the car around a corner and it will eat it without any dramas. There is some amount of body roll present, however it isn’t anything that will unsettle the car’s dynamics.
What sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise spot-free powertrain are the brakes. Though the Tiago gets Bosch sourced ABS+EBD, they lack initial bite. The feedback from the pedal is satisfactory though. Meanwhile, emergency braking conditions are handled with ease thanks to the ABS.
If you are in the market to get your hands on a budget hatchback, the Tata Tiago has arrived to make your choice even tougher. Frankly, at such a lucrative price point, there is simply no other car that offers the features and contemporary design of the Tiago. We surely recommend it to anyone in the market looking for a diesel hatchback in the B-segment.