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09 Mar, 2017 ,
When we hear the brand TATA the first thing that strikes in our mind is the INDICA which was introduced almost two decades back. Along with the launch of INDICA they also came up with the tag line ‘more car per car’. The car was a huge hit amongst the masses for its frugality, space and practical approach. Fast-forward to the present and Tata has come up with another product which is not just a car, but also a revolution not just for itself but also for the automotive industry. And why do we say revolution? Because this car is modern, fresh and oozes out that international appeal with its ground up design. Tata after its string of failures like the future iteration of the first launched INDICA (VISTA, XETA, INDIGO) went back to the drawing boards designed a car from the scratch and came up with their latest star offering the TIAGO.
The first thing you will notice about the Tiago is that the design looks refreshing and nothing like we have seen before. It ditches the eggy and ovular design stature of the previous TATA cars and adopts a new modern and stylish design language. The Tiago on the outside looks quite eye-catchy with strong lines running around the design. The protruding front of the car makes it look larger than it actually is. The smiley faced honeycomb grill and the sleek headlamps gel well with each other. The front fog lamps are encased in chrome which adds a bit more taste to the front fascia.
The side profile of the car is pretty strong and it reminds you of a passing Hyundai Grand i10. Details like the belt and the shoulder line carry the profile forward with aplomb. The chunky C pillar keeps up with the contemporary trends and the directional arrowhead shaped door handle is a wonderful design touch.The characteristic lines are edgy and goes all the way to the back to the rear of the car. Then there is the tidy spoiler which adds to the overall appeal. The spread out tail lamps look distinctive with a well sculpted rear bumper. This design is the best one from the TATA stable so far and we can’t take our eyes of the car.
The cabin is the USP of this car. The cabin is surprisingly spacious considering the compact and edgy exterior. The quality, fit and finish of the cabin is immaculate and it will bowl you over. Yes, that’s how premium the cabin is! TATA is pretty serious about this car and it shows. In fact the cabin can give some serious competition to it’s premium peers. The seats and the roof line have been knitted with the best of fabrics and the cushioning is pleasurable for long rides with apt thigh support. Plastics used is also of high standard and we loved the textured design on the dash. The instrument console is a let down with that silver shroud. Then there is this chunky steering wheel from the ZEST and BOLT which has made it into this car and it’s quite an handful which in our opinion is pretty likeable. Overall aura and visibility from the cabin is pretty positive for the drivers and passengers alike.
The dash comes with the exterior body colored ac air vents which is a beautiful and thoughtful touch from TATA. Coming to the highlight of the dashboard is Harman developed infotainment system which comes with a four speaker and four tweeter set-up. The sound quality is pretty awesome and you won’t be disappointed. The screen is not touch responsive but it does come loaded with aux-in, USB and Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming and telephonic functionality. The system can be synced to a phone to display and readout navigational instructions. Then there is the Juke Car app to add songs from your devices via mobile hotspot to a playlist on the phone paired with the audio player. Get ready to be entertained on those long highway journeys. Overall the dashboard looks pretty neat and cool.
The air conditioning unit present in the cabin was a bit disappointing as it couldn’t cool the cabin quickly. We felt that the blower was too loud but it didn’t cool effectively. Tata should take a note of it and look into this problem as soon as possible. Tata has also taken care of your knit picky storage predicament by offering a lot of storage spaces for small items. A bottle( for slim 0.5 litres) holder is present on each door, two cupholders near the gear lever, a mobile phone bay at the center console and a shelf at the driver’s end. The glove box is pretty cool and you get a good recess to hold your tablets or cans. The glove box can be released softly with a well integrated button on the dash. There is a spacious footwell and dedicated pedal for drivers which is commendable.
The rear interior of the car packs some punch with comfortable seats and excessive thigh support. The rear passengers get a good amount of space and comfort for those long highway journeys. The seat is well cushioned and the windows let in plenty of light. TATA finally responded to the customer feedback and gave it a 240 litre boot space for those extra luggage and baggages. The rear seats can be folded just incase you find the 240 litre of boot space insufficient to load your baggages and stuff. Everything is pretty likable and within rich in this cabin and TATA has literally managed to stun us with this level of attention to detail and finesse.
TATA has come up with their new and in-house developed three cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Both comes with the five-speed manual gearboxes and TATA says they are planning to pitch an AMT version in the near future. Both the engines run high compression ratios and oversquare bore stroke configurations which solely focuses on improved fuel efficiency and enhanced driveability.
We will start off with the petrol unit first. The all new 1.2 Revotron petrol engine is a lightweight aluminium constructed, four valve per cylinder DOHC setup with variable cam timing for the intake. Peaker power churned out from this engine is 83.8bhp at 6000rpm and max torque of 11.6kgm is available at 3500rpm. Now don’t expect outright performance from the above mentioned specs. The engine is pretty linear and doesn’t rev quickly as you would expect. The performance is adequate if not exciting. You have to leg it out on the gas to bring out that final throw of power and the third gear makes it all the more evident in the city traffic. In stop and go traffic you will find the power delivery to be a bit shaky. The fuel cuts off the moment you lift off the throttle. The clutch is light but it doesn’t offer smooth progression. The gearbox requires a lot of intent to slot in at some situations. NVH levels good but if you push the engine beyond the 3000rpm mark you get to hear that three cylinder thrum inside the cabin along with the some cabin vibrations. You also face a little bit of tremor when you step a on that clutch and engage the throttle.
Now compared to the petrol cousin the three cylinder Revotorqe turbo-diesel engine felt much better and comparatively pleasing to drive. The 1.05 litre engine is a cast iron unit with aluminium head housing twin cams and four valves per cylinder. The engine is capable of producing 69bhp at 4000 rpm and 14.27kgm of torque. The max torque is produced from 1800rpm all the way to 3000rpm with engine speed limited at around 5500 rpm. Start the engine and there is no escaping the fact this is a small displacement three cylinder motor. There are minimal vibrations and what TATA have done is that they have used a balancer shaft to shake out the major vibrations and an oil sump made of sound-deadening steel which is intended to reduce NVH levels. Leg the throttle and you will notice that this engine takes its own sweet time to build speed from 1500rpm. The real meat of the power comes in after 1800rpm. Sure the motor sprints ahead sufficiently but it doesn’t feel lively either. The engine doesn’t excite you but ends up fulfilling your commuting duties. By 3500 rpm you know that the engine is at its peak and there is no point in pushing it further. Post that the engine gets too noisy with a rough grunt and you will not tend to push it beyond 4000rpm. The gearbox is a little clunky and does feel mechanical. Clutch action is light and breezy and performs much better than its petrol counterpart.
Both the petrol and diesel come with driver modes. There is a default City mode and also an Eco mode to maximize fuel economy. Just push the button and you will immediately notice a dip on the throttle response. We recommend to use the ECO mode only while cruising on the highway as the lazy throttle response may prove to be frustrating for the driver to wander in city or town.
The ride quality on the TIAGO is pretty assuring and substantial. This car earns some browny points in this ride and handling department. The TIAGO is equipped with a monocoque chassis. The front is loaded with an independent MacPherson suspension setup while a semi independent twist beam suspension is deployed at the rear. The car is shodded with 175/65 R14 Goodyear tyres. The top end variants which we are testing uses alloy wheels and a combination of disc and drum brakes(front and rear) respectively.
The suspension setup is tuned for a comfortable driving experience rather than outright cornering dynamics. Ride quality is plush like any other TATA offerings and the suspension clears out all the roughness and undulations of the road with aplomb. Out of the two petrol and diesel variants we felt that the suspension set-up is better on the petrol TIAGO. The diesel being the heavier of the two has stiffer front suspension and dampers. This results in the undulations and shocks creeping through the steering column as it is more front-heavy than its petrol sibling. Cruising upwards of 100 kmph the TIAGO feels more planted and secure. The cornering mannerisms is taken care of by the corner stability control and ABS with EBD(ELECTRONIC BRAKE DISTRIBUTION).
The electric power steering felt unresponsive at times and the feedback was kind of lifeless. But as and when the speed increased the steering feels surefooted and provides you with ample confidence. ABS and EBD are driver airbags are standard across the entire range. The top end also comes equipped with a co-passenger airbag at the front.
The New Tata Tiago 2017 has two modes – Eco and City. The petrol engine has a fuel efficiency of 23.84km/l and for diesel it is 27.28km/l. Both these are as per the ARAI cycle. In the real world driving conditions we got a fuel efficiency of 14kmpl to 16kmpl from the petrol engine and from the diesel we got an average fuel efficiency of 20kmpl to 22 kmpl which is pretty impressive. On the highway you get even better economy figures. But it all depends upon the nature of the roads, riding style and throttle input.
The service quality and network from TATA still remains a gamble. Sure TIAGO is much more assuring in terms of overall build quality but the service record of TATA from the service centres is pretty dicey. The service network is far behind than that of Maruti and Hyundai. How TATA manages to overcome their service network problems is yet to be seen. Spare parts availability and cost shouldn’t be a bother considering TATA has invested so much on the research and development.
Tata has managed to bring out an impressive product after a long time. Tata has put their heart and soul into the TIAGO and it does shine out. With a premium and feature rich cabin along with attractive looks the TATA Tiago is the best value for money proposition that you can find in the market today. WIth it’s decent driving experience and a well rounded package Tiago is sure here to make history like the INDICA. The Engine could have been better but hey it manages to tick in all the right boxes on the practicality front. Many buyers would actually buy it for it’s impressive fuel efficiency. Tiago has put TATA back into the race!
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