Tata Tiago aka Zica: First Drive Expert Review
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Watch First Drive of Tata Tiago
It was supposed to be called the Kite, but then Tata finally unveiled it as the all new Zica aka Tiago. While the name might have changed, Tata still expects this baby to soar sky-high when it comes to sales. We take the new Tiago out for a spin on the streets of Goa to tell you whats it’s all about!
Competition is one thing that keeps everyone on their toes. The whole bid about staying one up on each other is what keeps things on the boil at all times and ofcourse gives us consumers a wide platform to choose from. Case in point is the new Tata Tiago which Tata says they managed to put on the roads in just three years from scratch. With the Zest and the Bolt in the market for a while now, Tata needed something that would regenerate the consumer’s interest back in the brand. The Kite was doing the rounds on spy pages for quite some time and the cat is finally out of the bag.
The Tiago will go head to head with the Maruti Celerio and the Hyundai Grand i10. However if you do look at the price gap between the Celerio and the Grand i10, its quite substantial. We think the Tiago will fill this gap aiming to offer the best of both worlds. While we’ll save the comparo for another day, let’s have a look at the Tiago on its own.
Thanks to a few leaked spyshots, the world already knew what was coming and from what we saw, we liked it too. And when we saw it in the flesh we liked it even more. Even with an all-new product like the Bolt, Tata messed up as far as the design was concerned. While it looked good, it still had too much Indica Vista in it for it to stand out amidst the competition. Tata knew this and did not want to make the same mistake again and as a result has focussed hard on the design front. What has helped this time are the inputs from Pune, UK and Italian studios.
At first glance the Tiago will be difficult to be recognised as a Tata product. Its only when you notice the bold new three dimensional T logo on the smart hexagonal grill that you believe that it is indeed a Tata. The design is further enhanced by those large swept back headlights which really give the Tiago a confident face. Even the sides gets nice character lines which gives the car an interesting side profile. The rear looks just as smart with those sharp tail lamps. Even the spoiler has a nice touch with the specially designed spoiler spats as Tata calls it on either ends of the spoiler. Overall the Tiago looks extremely fresh and comes across as a new design trend from Tata. We definitely like the way it looks.
While exteriors play an important role, Tata had a lot of work to do if it wanted the interiors to math up to international standards. Entering the cabin tells you they have. What is noticed immediately is the design and the quality which seems to have gone up in leaps and bounds. Tata tells us that they have banned beige from the insides of their car and boy are we glad they have. You now get a nicely designed black-grey dual tone dashboard which looks very good. Quality of plastics is impressive and we are glad Tata have gone the distance here. You get chrome and piano black inserts thrown in as well which do a good job of livening up the insides. The chrome bits deserve a special mention considering it’s very easy to get it wrong and makes things look cheap. But that’s not the case here.
The centre console gets a Bolt like infotainment system again by Harman and boasts as many as 8 speakers along with Bluetooth and other connectivity’s. And we can safely say that this system packs a punch that is not only the best in the segment but also a segment above.
The steering wheel which comes with telephony and audio controls and the gear knob are borrowed from the Bolt. The instrument console gets two sporty pods for showing revs and speed, while the center MID is again similar to the Bolt.
The seats are height adjustable and pretty comfortable but could do with some more under thigh support which we felt was a little lacking. Where Tata has also done a great job is the storage places. With as many as 22 utility spaces inside the cabin, you have a place to keep any and everything in the car. The boot which can swallow 240 litres is pretty spacious for a car in this segment as well.
Coming to the rear, we did manage to squeeze three healthy people on the back bench. Of course it was a squeeze but then if you consider average size adults, the Tiago is pretty wide and comfy. Again, under thigh support could be a tad better. All said and done, the Tiago’s insides offer plenty of equipment, feel plush and well-made and offers enough space. Good job Tata!
Engine and Performance
Revotron 1.2L Petrol
We drove the petrol first which is the second new petrol engine from the Revotron series. The 1199 cc three cylinder engine puts out 85 PS @ 6000 rpm and 115 Nm of torque @ 3500 rpm which is a little more than the Grand i10 and significantly more than the Celerio. While this engine does not get a Turbocharger like in the Bolt, the naturally aspirated unit does come with Variable cam timing for low friction and optimal performance. Start the engine and you do get greeted by that characteristic 3-cylinder clatter, but it’s far lesser than say the Kwid or the Celerio. Clutch action is light and gear throw feels much better. It’s not a slick shifter like in the Maruti’s but nothing to complain about either. At 1012 kg, the Tiago feels quite zippy and revs quite freely. Yes the engine does start objecting with coarseness past 4000 rpm but you can still push it harder with the rev needle turning red as you approach the limiter. We found the driveability to be quite good too with the car climbing a decently steep slope in as high as third gear. Putting the engine in Eco mode does choke it a little in a bid to get better efficiency but then you can always switch back to City for more performance. Unlike the Bolt neither of these engines get a sport mode. We still need to see how good this engine is and number shall reveal how good it really is when we get to test it.
Revotorq 1.05L Diesel
This is the first new diesel engine from the Revotorque series. This engine also comes loaded with DOHC, central injectors, electronic throttle control and then some and pushes out 70PS @ 4000 rpm and 140 Nm of torque between 1800-3000 rpm. The figures are impressive for a 3-cylinder diesel and it feels quite refined too. However on the road, it feels too restricted. The power delivery is extremely linear which is good, but then you miss that hammer like punch that one is used to in diesels. As a commuter one will have nothing to complain. The diesel will make for a good urban commuter belting out good mileage thanks to the City and Eco modes to choose from but expecting anything more will leave you a tad bit disappointed. Again numbers will reveal where the diesel excels and fails once we put it through the test.
Ride and Handling
On the dynamic front the Tiago gets a new dual path suspension which is tuned to offer balanced ride and handling. The ePAS steering feels good and is neither too light nor too heavy and feels quite confident inspiring at high speeds. The suspension is slightly on the stiffer side but takes in bumps quite well. Even with speeds in excess of 130 km/h on a wide corner the Tiago held on confidently. The suspension on our diesel car though was a tad bit noisy as it went through bad patches. The suspension calibration is slightly different in the diesel variants thanks to the heavier engine. Other than that it is pretty much well sorted.
It’s finally time for Tata’s kite to fly and Tata has made sure it does not leave any stones unturned. Everything from the styling, interiors, engine and performance and reliability has been thought about. Tata knows that the Tiago is an extremely important product for them and wants it to be the game changer for them across all aspects. They have definitely done their homework well and it shows. Now all they need is the right price tag and the right after sales service to make this kite take off and fly high!