Launched in 1998, the Indica was a… Well, we are all aware of everything about the last gen cars from Tata Motors because we have practically grown up seeing them. However, when you meet the new team of the Pune based vehicle manufacturer who have been taking humble strides to make sure the brand is back to its element, the feeling is different.
And by different, I mean creative, innovative and revolutionary. The last one particularly holds great importance as it was the only thing missing for the brand to challenge its own mould of traditional belief to make way for something extremely radical and fresh.
Enter the brand new Tata Tiago (earlier called the Zica) – a car that doesn’t carry the baggage of being a typical Tata car, instead has features and options that will make you sit up and take notice of it. Boasts of global design inputs and is powered by engines made in-house at Tata Motors, the Tata Tiago wants to carve a new perception about the Indian brand. Read everything about it in our Tata Tiago Review.
Tata Tiago Review: Design and Styling
It was this time that the team went berserk with the design as the brief was to create something that people will have an appeal for. There is a new design language where the modern meets the elegant. A lot of attention has been given to the detailing which can be seen on the overall profile of the Tata Tiago.
The brand new Tata Tiago looks grander in dimensions with lots of modern bits. It gets sweep back smart headlights with clear lens reflector. There are no day time running LEDs as seen on the Tata Zest, clearly, an approach to make sure the costs are kept at a reasonably low point. The visually expressive three-dimensional headlights make sure the illumination is at its best even in pitch dark conditions.
The wide radiator grille features the brand centric humanity line which is seen on all new age cars ranging from Tata Nano to the new Tata Safari Storme and will also be seen on the upcoming Tata Hexa. Also, importantly, the three-dimensional logo is a brand new addition.
The bonnet gets subtle power lines to give it more character and is better than being a mere flat surface. The wide front bumper which flows along the width before climbing up and meeting the wheel arch gives a wider stance to the vehicle. The top end variant will feature fog lamps with chrome garnish. The lower portion of the front bumper has been designed to display character lines as seen on some of the more premium hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Polo. The Tata Tiago benefits from new age design which has been done at studios in Pune, UK and Italy and the same can be seen with its overall demeanor.
The strong lines on the exterior profile give a very confident stance which can be seen being reflected throughout the design. The Tata Zica is 3746mm in length, 1647mm in width, 1535mm in height and 2400mm in wheelbase. It has a ground clearence of 170mm. The Tiago also gets wider section 175/65 R14 tyres with new design ten-spoke alloy wheels. The door handles are done in body coloured shade while the external mirrors come in dual shades of matte plastic and body colour and has turn indicators embedded in it.
In terms of lines, there are many and the subtle and intricate detailing take over when you see the strong wedge line connecting the headlight and the window line, and the crease line running on both doors as well as the strong rocker moulding. The wheel arches gets a subtle crease with a highlighted section at the lower portion of the rear arch.
The rear profile gets wider wrap around tail lamps with LED finished reflectors. To make it appear sportier than its rivals, there is a roof mounted spoiler with brake lights. Mid range and top end variants get defogger. The bumper too gets a dual tone finish with a shade of body colour on the top and a matte plastic cladding beneath.
Tata Tiagp Review: Interiors and Features
What Tata Motors has done inside the Tata Tiago is thoroughly commendable, especially, if you compare it with their offerings in the yesteryear cars. They no longer look vanilla and bland; instead feature all the new bits and options which made its competition look new age.
Tata cars are known for being spacious and this is one area where even the Tiago scores strongly. The front legroom is impressive and the so is the rear legroom. There is enough space for the knees to breathe happily and that is a good thing for tall passengers. The seats are knitted in premium quality fabric and come with adequate cushioning and supporting throughout its form. The seat fabrics sport new geometrical shapes and textures so it won’t necessary need fancy seat covers or fake leathers to enrich it any further.
Also, the premium feeling seats are as comfortable as they should be. The under thigh support on both rows is sufficient for longer travel and commutes. Another aid on such journeys is the extremely pro-active air conditioning which takes very less time to cool the cabin. The Tata Tiago gets a manual AC unit and also promises to be more effective than its rivals. During our roadtest in Goa, it did come around as a savoir.
The front dash of the Tata Tiago is inspired by the Bolt as it cleverly carries some of the elements while the other bits have been tweaked and modified to make them suit that of the Tiago. The multi-information display on the cluster displays essentials of mileage, trip and average fuel consumption again a score up compared to its nearest rival. The display and digits are very lucid. The dual tone dashboard is a nice element paired with a piano finished central console. The top end XZ variant also gives an option of body coloured AC vent surround. This particularly looks good for darker shades; however, for the sunburst orange and other brighter shades, it looks a bit loud for our choice. Customers will have an option to opt for the piano finish vents if needed.
The highlight of the Tata Tiago is its infotainment system developed by Harman as it features two new segment first features. First is the Turn-by-Turn navigation app which displays navigational turns on the compact screen and is also prompted by voice. Tata Motors has tied up with MapMyIndia and thus all the Tiago customers will have an access to all the maps across the country. While accessing the maps, the navigation system will only make use of the smartphone’s GPS and not the mobile data. It is an intelligent system and overrides the entertainment system while showing turns and next manoeuvre.
Second is the Juke-Car app, which has to be the most thought after and extremely convenient feature seen in any car. It basically makes use of mobile hotspot to create a virtual network. Other phones with this app can play their own songs by connecting to the master phone and this eliminates the need to disconnect and reconnect new smartphones only to play individual tracks. All of this happens using mobile WiFi so again the cost of phone data is saved.
Then comes the practically bit, the Tata Tiago comes with 22 intelligently designed spaces making it a lot more convenient with multiple storage options. There is a smart recess on the front dash for mundane pieces. The glove box, which also has a cooling option, features two-zone storage for inserting a tab on the upper half and a pen with a card holder in the lower half. In fact, it can swallow in five soft drink cans.
On the central console itself, there are so many options with a large cubby pocket just beneath the AC controls, two cup holders for front occupants and a central pocket for the rear occupants. The door trims feature pockets and sections for a litre class container. Lastly, it gets a 242-litre boot space sufficient for the dailies from the supermarket along with the occasional weekend getaway.
Tata Tiago Review: Drive, Engine and Performance
Under the brand new bonnet lies an option of a brand new diesel motor as well as the in-house petrol motor which is already doing a noble duty in the Zest and the Bolt. The petrol is the one that we sampled first. This 1.2L three-cylinder Revotron engine pumps out 85PS of power at 6000 rpm and 114Nm of torque at 3500 rpm. This three-cylinder motor is paired with a five-speed manual transmission.
There are two drive modes to choose from namely City and Eco. The primary default drive mode is City as it is here that the vehicle is at its peppy best but then if you aren’t ferrying around on empty stretches of road and are nested amongst mushrooming traffic, it is the Eco mode to take care of the fuel consumption. The Intelligent Engine management system shuffles between both the modes at the touch of a button.
The petrol motor is not exactly quiet and is evidently audible but that is a given considering it is a three-cylinder engine. One good thing about the motor, though, is its free revving nature which opens a wide band to be pushed around. Saying that, the entry level and mid-range performance is something that will earn accolades for the power and torque concentration is strongly felt in this sector.
City commutes and traffic battling can be easily dealt with the petrol engine. The gear shifts are considerably smooth and can take on hurried shifts with ease. The steering feels light and overall the vehicle feels very agile thus making it easy to manoeuvre anywhere possible. The short turning radius of 4.9m is helpful. Almost everything about it feels positive inside the city as it is only on the highways; the lower output dampens the high spirit.
As soon as the engine speed exits the mid-range and enters the top end level, the performance falls flat and the response gets bland as it lacks enthusiasm to be pushed any further. This compels for a downshift every time you want to pull out an overtaking manoeuvre. The positive bit is the NVH levels are low as the ambient noise barely creeps inside the cabin.
If you are looking for a highway tool, we will definitely recommend the torque friendly and aptly named Revotorq 1.05L engine. This brand new three-cylinder engine, like the petrol motor, has been developed in-house and makes 70PS of power at 4000 rpm and 140Nm of torque at 1800 rpm to 3000 rpm. This motor makes use of the same TA65 five-speed manual transmission.
At idling, the motor is highly audible but the same diminishes as the engine speed increases. At lower speeds, there is no lag felt as the highest torque of 140Nm starts from a lower 1800 rpm. Impressively, the engine doesn’t feel lazy to produce greater speeds and this feeling is initiated at lower engine speeds. The five-speed manual transmission is at its element and doesn’t hesitate during quick shifts.
The multi-drive modes of City and Eco make it to the diesel engine as well. We must say that the difference between the two drive modes was negligible, however, can confirm this only when we spend brief time with both the vehicles. With the virtue of a well distributed torque band, the need for often shifts is completely eliminated. This one also weighs 68kgs more and as a result feels very stable at higher speeds.
The light steering wheel makes sure the Tata Zica is on its toes and its nose can change directions with the slightest of steering movement. Also, while playing around with the steering, there is no roll whatsoever felt inside the cabin. The other department where the Tata Zica is a huge leap over its earlier offerings is the ride and handling department. The ride quality is extremely impressive felt more so with the disc and drum brakes on front and rear wheels which have an impressive bite.
The suspension setup makes use of a McPherson struts in the front and twist beam in the rear. Both collectively keep the cabin completely insert from all the disturbances caused while driving on hard surfaces and rough roads. The diesel scores more than the petrol as the built quality gets highlighted while driving on uneven undulations and surfaces.
In terms of safety, it comes with ninth-generation ABS system, dual front airbags, rear parking sensors with display on the infotainment screen and energy absorbing body structure.
Tata Zica Review: Price and Final Verdict
This time around Tata Motors has played a keen attention and heard what a customer really wants in his car which can be seen with the meticulous efforts done in the detailing of the Tata Zica. The design of the Tata Zica will be its unique selling proposition as it really looks extremely different from what we have ever seen roll out from a Tata plant. In fact, it scores more points than the Hyundai Grand i10 on certain areas. The rear profile of the Tata Zica is mind blowingly impressive.
Innovative apps and features such as the Turn-by-Turn navigation and Juke-Car app prove a point that there is no particular range of car to have a top end feature. Both these features are very well thought of. The space inside the cabin will be the highlight along with the new layout and lines on the dashboard. The fit and finish is still not the best yet as the one inside the Grandi10 is better. The choice of colours further proves the point with the lighter shade of grey leaving a rather dull impression. The after effects will be seen after some years of ownership. An all-black interior will definitely solve this problem.
Both the petrol and the diesel engines do good to make the Tata Zica a smart choice to deal with the city and highway traffic. The engines surely have room for improvement as they are in their first generation life and thus come with typical pros and cons. As cliché as it sounds, the pricing of Tata Zica will be a decision making factor and we expect Tata Motors to go extremely aggressive with it, however, prices for the Tata Zica Diesel top end will be around Rs 6.5 lakhs while that of petrol will be around Rs 5.6 lakhs. The exact prices will be revealed during the launch of Tata Zica in January 2016.
Over and above, the Tata Zica ticks all the right boxes and comes at the right time as the brand is taking right strides in the right direction. It will still be too early to think of it as a game changer since changing a perception of the brand will take some time but it will be a steady process. The two models a year launch plan will definitely help Tata Motors regain its dominance in the Indian market.