Tata Motors arehoping to make a big impression with the small Tiago, and they've certainly gone out of their way to try and do so. Wedrove the Tiago around in South Goa for a day and here's what we think is good about the Tiago and what could have been better.
The Tiago's design is quite eye-catching with its hexagonal theme, and it looks like Tata is trying to grab the younger generation's attention with this hatchback. The neat lines that run along the belt and shoulder line of the car, along with the slightly protruding front end make the Tiago look a little larger than it is. The hexagonal design element is carried forward to the interior as well with a neatly laid out dashboard that has a few premium touches to it.
2. Interior space:
For a car of its dimensions, the Tiago offers quite a bit of interior space. There is sufficient leg room thanks to the 2,400mm long wheelbase, while good head room has been accounted for as well. Although this isn't an ideal five-seater because of the short 1,647mm width, the Tiago should be more than sufficient for four passengers. The 242-litre boot isn't the largest in the segment, but still manages to beat the Maruti Suzuki Celerio.
3. Infotainment system:
The Tiago adopts the same Harman system seen in the Zest and Bolt. The system offers great audio quality along with impressive aural feedback. There are more impressive features on this infotainment system though. It can create a network using a cellphone hotspot to let all the passengers in the car connect to the system and play their playlists at the same time. Apart from that, the system displays turn-by-turn navigation commands on its screen based on input from the phone's map-service provider.
4. Ride quality
The Tiago uses an independent MacPherson strut setup in the front and a semi independent twist beam at the rear. It has been set up to handle bad roads rather than carve corners. The suspension manages to absorb undulations over rough surfaces quite well, and also keeps the car planted and steady at speeds of over 100kmph. The electronic steering unit, although a little lifeless, is quite easy to use and also gets heavy enough at higher speeds to improve confidence.
5. Engine and transmission
The 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol mill is quite likable with its 85PS of power and 114Nm of torque. The power delivery is quite linear and although it isn't zippy, it isn't sluggish either. We drove it around the small streets of South Goa and found that it never felt exhausted or lacked power. The 3-cylinder 1047cc common-rail diesel engine too is quite linear with 70PS and 140Nm, but our scales tipped in favour of the petrol unit. We found that the 5-speed gearbox, although not the most precise one out there, is quite smooth with impressive shift quality.
1. Material quality
The Tiago's interior is a mixed bag in terms of material quality. The top half of the Tiago feels quite premium with good plastic quality and a piano black finish on the gear knob, steering wheel arms and the door handles. However, that's where it ends. The lower half of the dash looked quite dreadful with cheap, down market plastic that completely contrasts the upper half in terms of quality and looks. The instrument cluster was quite out of place too with its cheap plastic bezels.
As with all Tatas, the biggest issue is reliability. The Tiago test car that we drove has already put doubt in our minds on how well put together the car is and how long it will last. The gaps between the panels in the lower half of the dash werequite an eyesore, and even the driver's side door handle wouldn't work on our test car. Although that was a pre-production vehicle, similar issues were found in the Zest and Bolt when we had tested them initially.
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