With the Tiago, Tata Motors seem to have gone back to their USP — developing low cost, city hatchbacks. While products like the Vista and the Bolt were competent offerings from the Indian automaker, they’ve always lurked in the shadows of the iconic Indica. The Tiago, however, aims to be different by kicking things up a notch. The new avatar is radically different; not something the average joe would associate Tata with. The spiritual successor to the Indica is all set to hit showroom floors in early 2016. What does it bring to the table? Read on:
Peppy petrol and torquey diesel engines. Tuned just right for the city and occasional highway jaunts
Impressive feature list - integrated music system, chilled glovebox, electric mirrors etc
Interior build quality. A notch above the Celerio and on par with the Grand i10
Refreshing styling. Does not look like a derivative of the Indica (a la Bolt/Vista)
Cramped footwell at the front will make taller passengers uncomfortable
Rear seats lack under-thigh support. Will be uncomfortable over long journeys
Engines sound coarse and unrefined at high revs
Stand Out Features
8 - speaker sound system developed by Harman. Arguably the best in the segment.
Colour co-ordinated interiors in the top-spec variants look cool.
Multi Drive Modes. Driver can switch between ECO and CITY modes to alter behaviour and response of the engine.
Prices for the Tiago start at Rs 3.2 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Bearing this price in mind, we have to say that the Tiago, is Tata’s best foot forward yet. If you are looking for a hatchback that is trendy, has loads of features and ample amount of space, the Tiago fits the bill nicely.
The Tiago bears no resemblance to any other Tata product, which in our books, is a very good thing to begin with. The Bolt and the Vista were plagued by the ‘Indica lookalike’ tag which didn’t go down well with the masses. The hatchback follows Tata’s ‘Impact’ philosophy, just like it’s elder siblings, the Zest and the Bolt. It looks fresh, contemporary and modern. It is amongst the widest cars in the segment at 1647mm, second to only the Grand i10. It has a shorter wheelbase than the Celerio, in spite of being a full 146mm longer. However, it is the heaviest car in the segment by a considerable margin.
Maruti Swift Dzire
Ground Clearance (mm)
Wheel Base (mm)
Kerb Weight (kg)
The front profile is home to a pair of swept back, smoked headlamps. Joining the headlamps is a curved strip of chrome that Tata calls the ‘humanity line’.The grille harbours a three-dimensional Tata logo and hexagon detailing that become smaller as they spread out towards the headlamps. The air dam is sleek and is peppered with some more hexagons. The fog lamps are placed at either end of the air dam and get a chrome surround as well. The subtle creases on the bumper complement the ones on the bonnet, thereby lending the Tiago a confident face
We particularly like the sharp character line that runs across the side of the car and finishes into the wrap around tail lamp. As is the norm in the segment, the Tiago gets blacked out B-pillars and indicators on the wing mirror as well.
The side shows off the low-slung stance of the car beautifully, with the 14-inch alloys filling the wheel well. However, the design of the alloy itself is a bit of a letdown. In comparison, the diamond cut wheels on the Grand i10 look truly a class above.
The rear profile is clean and minimalistic. The almond-shaped tail lamps and the faint character lines connecting the two look really classy. It also gets an integrated spoiler that houses a high mounted stop lamp.
However, the things that drew our attention remain the gloss black spoiler spats that are placed on either end of the integrated spoiler. Tata says that it not only looks cool but also aids aerodynamics. The matte-black finish around the number plate area helps break the monotony of colour at the rear. Notably, the exhaust is neatly tucked away from view.
Boot space stands at 240-litres, which is on par with the Celerio for all practical purposes and is slightly smaller than that of the Grand i10.
Boot Space Comparison
We will go out on a limb and say that the Tiago is the best designed Tata till date. The proportions, the sharp lines and attention to detail are praiseworthy.
The interior theme of the Tiago mimics that of its elder siblings, the Zest and the Bolt. Tata has spent a lot of time maximising cabin space and improving the quality — it does show.
Amongst the first things you notice when you enter the cabin is the soothing black-grey theme that envelopes the dash. Tata tells us they have bid goodbye to beige for good, and we're glad! The colour combo not only looks pleasing, but is easier to keep clean as well.
The quality of plastics used in the interiors, especially on the top half of the dash is very, very good. There's a dab of piano black on the centre console and on the surrounds of the side AC vents amongst other places. Tata says the side AC vents can be colour coordinated to the exteriors, which we think is a pretty cool touch.
A familiar Tata steering greets you as you get into the driver's seat. The unit is chunky, feels good to hold, and gets controls for the audio and telephony. The wheel is fairly thick at the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock position that lets one get a firm grip. The steering can be adjusted for tilt.
The two-pod instrument cluster looks like a downsized version of the one on the Bolt. A multi-information display (MID) sits in the centre with the pods housing the tachometer and the speedometer respectively. The MID can be used to cycle through information like time, trip distance, instantaneous fuel consumption, average fuel consumption and distance-to-empty. The tachometer has a cool trick up its sleeve — the needle turns red as you reach the redline!
The hexagonal theme continues on the inside too with the centre console. It houses a pair of AC vents and the Harman developed music system. The music system is coupled to 8-speakers and the output is fantastic, to say the least. The music system is easily the best we've heard in a budget hatch. The system can also double up as navigation when paired with a smartphone. By downloading the ‘Turn by Turn Navigation’ app, the system shows driving directions on the LCD screen. Another cool addition is the Juke car app, that creates a WiFi hotspot to which 10 phones can connect simultaneously. This can be used to stream music. Both the apps are unheard of in this segment.
The controls for the air-conditioner sit below the centre console. There's no automatic climate control, but, to be fair, none of its rivals has it either. Unlike the Grand i10, there are no rear AC vents. That said, performance from the AC is acceptable.
The front seats are well contoured and offer a decent amount of support. Headrests aren’t the integrated kind thankfully, like in the Celerio or the Grand i10. People with larger builds might have a small issue with under thigh support, and find the footwell to be a tad cramped. This apart, the front bench is a nice place to be. The driver’s seat gets a healthy range for height adjustment too, which, coupled with the rake-adjustable steering makes it easy to get into a comfortable driving position.
The rear bench is best suited for two people. Accommodating three people, although possible, isn’t recommended. Shoulder room is just about enough with two and non-existent with three. The leg space is generous by small car standards and the Tiago comes a close second to the Grand i10. The backs of the front seats are scooped out to liberate some more space for the knees.
You'll find a total of 22 cubbyholes around the cabin. There's plenty of storage space around the gear lever and it gets pockets on all four doors to store water bottles. The glovebox is deep and gets a chilling function too, just like the Grand i10. There are also little thoughtful touches like a small hook on the lower half of the dashboard, that can hold up to 2 kilos of groceries.
The Tiago features one of the best-appointed interiors in the segment. The fit, finish and build quality is now in the league of the segment leader, the Grand i10. Segment firsts such as the 8-speaker Harman sound system and the associated apps round the package off nicely. Overall, it has a well-packaged interior with just the right amount of features one expects at this price point.
The Tiago features two new engines, that will go on to power the upcoming compact sedan as well. While the petrol engine is entirely new, the diesel motor is a derivative of the CR4 engine that powers the Indica currently.
Tiago Diesel (Revotorq - 1.05 litre)
The Tiago diesel is amongst the most powerful hatches in its class, second to only the Grand i10. What is key to note, however, is that the Tiago weighs considerably more than all of its rivals. The extra weight means that outright acceleration isn’t as strong as the Hyundai. However, it is definitely peppier than the Maruti Celerio and the Chevrolet Beat. Peak torque comes in a smooth surge at as low as 1800 rpm, post which acceleration is brisk. The engine does not feel too short-handed out on the highway and it does perfectly well within the confines of the city too. The only sore point with the diesel engine remains its refinement. It sounds coarse at high revs, which takes away from the driving experience.
Performance Comparison (Diesel)
Engine Displacement (cc)
Top Speed (kmph)
0-100 Acceleration (sec)
Kerb Weight (kg)
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI)
Power Weight Ratio
Tiago Petrol (Revotron - 1.2 litre)
The petrol engine on the Tiago loves to be revved! Like most hatches in this price bracket, the little Tata too needs to be driven with a heavy foot to extract performance. It is the most powerful hatch in its class, but only just. Much like the diesel, what tilts the balance away from the Tiago's favour is its weight. The Grand i10 is 77 kilos lighter, while the Celerio is almost 200 kilos lighter than the Tiago. However, it does decently well even under heavy load. For instance, we had no issues climbing up a steep slope with a couple of passengers and some camera equipment on board.
Performance Comparison (Petrol)
Engine Displacement (cc)
Top Speed (kmph)
0-100 Acceleration (sec)
Kerb Weight (kg)
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI)
Power Weight Ratio
Note : Multi Drive Modes
The Tiago gets 'multi-drive' modes, called 'City' and 'Eco'. It misses out on the Sport mode that its elder sibling, the Bolt has. By default, the car starts up in the ‘City’ setting, and one can switch to 'Eco' mode by pressing the button on the dash. Pressing the button again switches it back to default. The two modes alter the way the engine responds to throttle inputs In effect, these modes let you choose between power and efficiency.
Ride and Handling
The steering is just as light as one would like it at city speeds. Going lock to lock isn't a task at all, making the Tiago a nippy little hatch inside the city. Parking in tight spots or making a quick u-turn is fairly easy thanks to the light steering. At highway speeds, it weighs up sufficiently. It isn’t vague when shoved into a corner and doesn’t feel as light or twitchy like the Grand i10.
The suspension strikes a fair balance between ride and handling. While it is on the firmer side, it doesn’t thud over broken roads or potholes. The suspension setup is better on the petrol Tiago compared to the diesel. Since the diesel engine weighs an extra 20 kilos, Tata has used stiffer front springs and dampers to account for it. Ride quality is acceptable for most parts, and at highway speeds, it does ride relatively flat. It does not bounce around like the Hyundai. The added weight comes in handy here, as the car feels planted at high speeds.
The Tiago gets an energy-absorbing body structure that will bear the brunt of a crash without transferring much of it to the cabin. It also gets dual front airbags along with ABS and EBD. While the airbags can be opted for in every variant barring the base, ABS remains exclusive to the top-spec Tiago.
Body Coloured Bumper, Integrated spoiler with spats, Engine Immobilizer, Multi Drive Mode: ECO and CITY, Air conditioner with only blower, Electric Power steering with tilt adjustment, Remote fuel and tailgate opening, 100% flip-fold rear seat, Driver Information system with Gear shift display, Trip meter, Distance to Empty Indicator, Door open and key-in reminder
[in addition to XB] Chrome strip on front grille, Wheel Hub cover, Front power outlet, Air conditioner with heater
[in addition to XE] Premium full fabric seat upholstery, Driver Seat Belt reminder, Dual front airbags, Seat belt pretensioners, Driver seat height adjustment, Adjustable front headrests
[in addition to XE] Half Wheel Covers, Rear parcel shelf, Grab handles with hook, Interior lamps with dimming, Speed dependent auto door locks, Follow-me-home lamps, Central locking, Power windows front and rear.
[in addition to XM] Premium full fabric seat upholstery, Driver Seat Belt reminder, Dual front airbags, Seat belt pretensioners, Driver seat height adjustment, Adjustable front headrests
[in addition to XM] Full Wheel Covers, Body coloured door handles and ORVMS, Premium full fabric seat upholstery, ConnectNext Infotainment system with 4 speakers, USB, AUX-IN, Bluetooth connectivity, Turn by turn navigation, Juke-car app, Speed dependent volume control, Driver Seat belt reminder, Rear parking sensors, Day and night IRVM, Electrically adjustable ORVMS (turn-by-turn and Juke only for Android currently)
[in addition to XT] Dual front airbags, seat belt pretensioners, Driver seat height adjustment, Adjustable front head rests
[in addition to XT] Alloy wheels, ORVM with LED turn indicators, Body coloured air vents with chrome finish, Knitted fabric on interior roof liner, 4 speakers + 4 tweeters, Steering mounted audio and phone controls, Dual front airbags, ABS,EBD Corner Stability Control, Front fog lamps, Seat belt pretensioners, Rear defogger, Rear wiper+wash, Cooled Glove box, Boot lamp
The base 'XB' trim is best avoided since it not only seems spartan in terms of equipment but also skimps on safety tech. If you are on an absolute budget, the 'XE (O)' variant comes across as a logical buy. However, we think the mid-level 'XM' and 'XT' variants are the most bang for the buck. Most bases are covered here with the power windows, central locking and parking sensors. The top end 'XZ' trim gets all this and much more in the form of steering mounted audio controls, ABS,EBD, corner stability control, cooled glovebox and fog lamps. In our opinion, the ABS could have (and should have) been offered for XT, making it an even better package.