The Tiago is a fresh design with an unmistakable face. The large swept back headlamps and oversize mesh-type grille gives it a distinct front face. A strong waistline coupled with prominent creases that run the length of the car makes it look modern and contemporary. Same goes for the rear hatch with large tail lamps that complete the fresh new design. This top of the line variant gets 14-inch alloy wheels with a unique design too. Tiny aero spoilers at the rear add to the sporty touch.
The one issue I have is with that humanity line, which is Tata Motors designer Pratap Bose's signature. The curve of that line which forms the base of the front grille reminds me too much of the Bolt and it's not baggage I would have liked attached to this car. With the fresh start, I do believe the Tata Tiago deserved a fresh identity, not something that is already associated with the Zest/Bolt. Take note, we haven't seen what the lower variants will look like, neither have see sampled details of what the lower variants will have as ornamentation on that front end. So details such as whether lower-end variants will get body coloured bumpers and driving lamps on that hexagonal air dam will remain undisclosed till the time of launch.
The side is also a very strong profile and immediately reminds you of Asian influences. But more than the overall profile, it's certain details that carry the profile forward, such as the belt and shoulder line. The belt line emerging from the headlamp and the shoulder line stretching into the tail lamp give it a sense of length. The creases around the door handle shaped as a windswept arrowhead is another strong detail in that design subtle but eye catching.
I also like the effect the tail lamps provide. These are the wrap-around type but at either edge they also protrude slightly outside the edge of the car, like a small ledge, lending a sense that the Tiago is also a wide car. There is some very clever design work at hand here and full marks to Bose and his team who have done some extra ordinary work.
Space is the buzz word where any Tata Motors vehicle is concerned and the Tata Tiago does not disappoint in this respect. With a 2,400mm wheelbase, the wheels are pushed to the most extreme ends of the Tiago. This means a large cabin space can be created. The leg space isn't the only benefit, there is enough head room as well. However, width at 1,647mm means you can seat three on the rear passenger bench but it will be a bit of a squeeze. Ideally, this is a car for four and should be enjoyed thus.
The interior design is attractive and I never thought Tata Motors would ever pull this off but they have, and impressively at that. I like the shapes on the dashboard, especially the centre console, which once again bring out the hexagonal effect. But at the same time while the design is definitely better than what they have ever wrought from any of their works before, the quality of the mix of materials used in constructing that dashboard leads me to believe that certain corners had to be cut.
Most elements in this interior make this cabin feel premium and a very cozy place to be in. You have that fantastic music system from Harman that critically lifts the mood within this cabin. It's built of quality plastic with smooth buttons and dials that work flawlessly.
The piano black mirror finish on the gear knob, steering wheel arms and the door handles are another classy touch. Even the upper layer of the two-tone dashboard feels premium thanks to the shade and texture the grain provides. However, a layer below, the dashboard instantly feels completely out of sync. The plastic feels cheap and down market. The instrument console also has these flimsy looking bezels made entirely out of plastic that appear pedestrian. A simple chrome surround would have improved the look and feel significantly. Even the door pads, the dark layers feel premium but the light gray feels and looks like a compromise had to be reached to keep costs in check.
Overall, the Tata Tiago is the car that Tata Motors have strived to build for a very long time. It's unlike anything they have ever manufactured yet, better than anything for that matter. If Tata Motors can price it right, it would make for a very compelling purchase and hard to ignore despite being positioned against cars such as the Hyundai Grand i10 and the Maruti Celerio. A few niggles still need to be ironed out but all will be ignored depending on the pricing. A little birdie tells us that Tata Motors intend pricing to begin at around Rs 3.8 lakh which would undercut the Maruti Celerio by around Rs 10,000 and the Hyundai Grand i10 by almost a lakh. That is a hard bargain to drive home the point that Tata Motors intend taking the fight to their competition in a big way.
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