This honest hatchback from Tata will have us remembering it fondly.
For a Tata, the Tiago worked out to be quite a pleasant long-termer. The city runabout won a lot of praises for its looks, and over the course of one year, it performed quite well without any major hiccups. From its first day with us, aside from its looks, the Tiago gained popularity for its sturdy feel.
Speaking of that brings us to the Tiago’s doors. The heavy doors are a testament to Tata’s vastly improved build quality. Even after a year of usage, the door handles still feel tough and the heavy doors close with the same ‘thud’ that was present when the car was new. This is a stark contrast from the weight of the doors on models from other manufactures in the same segment or even above. The high-quality roof liner and dashboard have been discussed in earlier reports and that has stayed the same.
The Tiago came to me as a replacement for the Kwid 1.0 long-termer and it felt like I made a move from basic economy class to plush business class. Also, the Tiago could be considered the ‘typical’ upgrade for an existing Kwid owner. A textured dashboard, piano black trim on the centre console, power mirrors, this top-spec Tiago XZ has it all. Also, there’s the LED cabin light, and that’s not something you see in many mass-market cars. However, the light malfunctioned early on but was replaced at no cost. This, as we were told, was an issue on some earlier Tiagos but has been rectified now.
We got the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol variant and the engine did the job well. However, being a three-cylinder unit, it did throw up a few problems. There is a bit of vibration and power delivery isn’t as linear as the Maruti K10 engine. Also, I took the car out to Lonavla and realised that the car isn’t as happy on highways as it is on city roads. The engine feels stressed out around the 110kph mark. However, at 1,012kg, the Tiago is one of the heavyweights in its class, and that ensures the ride is quite pliant even at high speeds. It’s also got that big car feel. But the heft does affect fuel economy to some extent though; the best I could get from the Tiago (city and highway combined) was 12.8kpl, while the worst was around 8.9kpl.
Like all new Tata cars, the Tiago gets an Eco mode and City mode. I used ‘Eco’ a few times but didn’t notice any major gain in fuel economy. Also, the power delivery feels a bit lethargic here, so ‘City’ is what I preferred. In city driving, the car feels just the right size to punt in and out of traffic. Not just the clutch, but the steering is light too and it is also quite chunky to hold. Add to that the fantastic all-round visibility the car offers and you’ll find it’s quite easy to park in tight spots.
Our long-term Tiago came with a loud ‘double horn’, a necessity on our congested city roads. While a few of our staffers found it to be too loud and annoying, I thought it was handy; one beep was good enough to warn errant bikers to give way. What I really loved is the Harman sound system which is easily one of the best offered in a car that costs under Rs 10 lakh. The air conditioning, however, was a bit of a let-down. It struggled to keep the cabin cool during summers and the blower got noisy, especially at setting 2. This problem was seen on our erstwhile Zest long-termer and, more recently, on the Hexa.
I found the Tiago to be one of the better city cars for my daily commute. But what will make it even better is the more sorted petrol motor from the Tigor, which is less jerky and has more linear power delivery. At this price, the Tiago is quite competitive for what it offers, and now a lot more appealing thanks to the GST-related price drop. Tata seems ready to take a step further and introduce a new top-spec trim that’s equipped with projector headlamps, a touchscreen infotainment system and the larger and more stylish alloy wheels from the petrol Tigor. Also, a sub-woofer setup similar to the Hexa’s would be the icing on the cake for an audiophile like me.
The few niggles we experienced prove that Tata still has some way to go before cresting the quality curve. That said, the Tiago proved to be a solid companion during its term with us. The supple ride, top-quality interior, sound system and overall build are its impressive features. So, it’s no wonder that there are quite a few Tiagos on the road, and that number is only sure to soar.