The compact hatchback is a very narrow product segment facing fierce inter as well intra-segment competition. It lies between the more economical small car segment and the more feature-rich proper hatchback segment.
In my opinion, Tata’s Tiago has hit a very sweet spot within this space and has the best of both. With a starting price of 3.3 lakh (ex-showroom), it is a great catch for budget buyers. On the contrary with fresh, new & quality interiors it definitely attracts more up-market buyers as well, thereby giving more expensive cars like Grand i10, a run for their money.
Tiago’s design is nothing like the regular Tata cars. I fell that it is a futuristic yet simplistic design and will definitely remain fresh for a long time. The hexagonal front black grille is very different and pleasing to the eye. The two character lines on the side body give it a sporty look which works well for the intended young target segment. The horizontal tail lamps are sleek and the back view of the car is uncluttered and classy.
I got my hands on Tiago exactly a month ago and I have no regrets in confessing that I was taken aback by its interiors. Everything from the steering wheel, to the instrument panel, the centre console, the honeycomb design of the dash seemed really upmarket. The eight-speaker connect-next Harman infotainment system is an absolute bliss and elevates your driving experience remarkably. Tata is after-all borrowing the J-LR cues and passing it onto budget buyers. It is an excellent strategy to succeed in the Indian market. A small disappointment though is that the external body-coloured front AC vents are only available for the launch colour (and of course in the top end variant only).
There are more than enough bottle holders and spaces for your knick-knacks inside Tiago. The rear seat comfort of Tiago is more than a compact hatchback and can match to a proper hatch. Two adults and a kid can be comfortably accommodated in the back seat. The legroom for the back passengers is more than adequate with the driving seat adjusted for a 5 ft. 10” (me). The 242 liter boot space is very generous considering the segment and beats that of swift by a good 40 liters which means that with Tiago, you are all set for that weekend getaway.
Coming to the ride and handling of the car, the steering wheel of Tiago is from a different world altogether. It is extremely light, very accurate and retracts back to its original position almost completely. It is a boon while driving in the city and also allows you to have some fun on those highway drives. Another arrow in the quiver as far as ride & handling is concerned is ‘driver seat height adjustment’. A compact hatchback with ‘driver seat height adjusts’ is a surprise element for me. Also you have telescopic steering adjustment which is the icing on the cake.
I own the petrol variant which has the 1.2 liter, 3 cylinder Revotron engine and the one thing that could have been better in Tiago is the mid-range of the car. At lower speeds it is extremely responsive but between 60-100 Kmph, the Tiago takes its time. This is slightly bothering on a highway where you really need to put the pedal to the metal. Hence the ‘ECO’ mode of the car makes less sense to me because it dulls the performance further. Tata could have traded the availability of driving modes with other features like chrome handles or Automatic climate control, although it is too much to expect from a car at this price point to have ACC.
I must say, with ABS with EBD and dual airbags the Tata Tiago is an extremely ‘safe’ package at an on road price of 5.5 lakhs for the top end variant. The mileage for the petrol variant is 18-19 in city traffic which is all I could ask for.
For young buyers like me who are in their mid to late 20s, aspire for a stylish feature-rich peppy car but are low on budget, Tiago is the only option in the Indian market today. To me, Grand i10 seems out of budget and Celerio is not that appealing. I definitely feel jealous when I hear about the upcoming Tiago Active, but nothing to complain from the existing Tiago either.
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