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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tata Tiago XZA : India Ownership Review

Well this is going to be a long one, so you better indulge yourself and have some pleasure of time, because what's going to ensue would be process of balancing requirements with perspectives and options, from the point of view a Biker, and therefore while some of the experiences you would find interesting, there would be some experiences where you would have that quintessential "Really" expression on your face.

So, ThrottleQuest has been a motorcycle lifestyle undertaking till now, but as time moved on, the realisation dawned upon us that the vehicles of the 4 wheeled kind see the most action throughout the year, and it's something in this segment, that many are able to relate in this part of the rock. So, here's ThrottleQuest's serious take on the lifestyle and various other aspects of living around the galaxy of 4 wheel platforms available in India.

It's all about Why behind the What

Going for my second car after almost a decade and after having enough experience with other car platforms in India, I had my 10 point requirements from my second car absolutely crystal clear and pretty much lined out - 
  1. The car should be easy on the pocket to get it out on the road from the showroom and I wanted a top spec version.
  2. The car should be easy on the pocket to live with.
  3. The build quality of the car should be good as I am sick and tiered of the build quality of my decade old i10.
  4. The car MUST demonstrate comfortable drive quality
  5. The car MUST have ABS and at least front Airbags to start with
  6. The car MUST be spacious even at the back row
  7. The car MUST have a powerful AC, because I simply hate Indian summer sitting inside an AC office or house, leave aside driving outside during Indian summer
  8. The car MUST have features like Steering Mounted Controls, Bluetooth connectivity for Telephony, Navigation, Parking Assist
  9. The car MUST have an amazing Audio System, because songs on the go is indispensable for me.
  10. The car HAS to be an Automatic
I was not exactly looking for a powerful engine, because my expectation and requirement was to use the car primarily for commute, but heck if I get good engine performance with my 10 point agenda intact, then Hallelujah to that!!

So, as far as the available options go, I was clear about one thing - I would not go for another Hyundai, because I already have a decade old Hyundai i10 Kappa, and my back hates me after each drive. So, from the remaining options, I singled out the Tata Tiago XZA, because it ticked all my 10 point requirement check boxes and even more (I'll cover the comparison of the different options in this segment in a different article).

This is the first detailed India review of the Tata Tiago XZA - AMT. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the review.

Looks

When we saw the Tiago for the first time at the 2016 Auto Expo (then being known as the Tata Zica, which Tata promptly rechristened as the Tata Tiago in light of the lives lost due to the Zica virus), we were surprised, to put things conservatively. The car looked anything but a Tata or even Indian for that matter. Standing alongside the hefty Tata Hexa, the little Tiago was making it's present felt with some signature attitude.

Tata Tiago XZA

Tata calls the Tiago a Style-Back - fancy naming, but Tata has thrown in everything to justify the otherwise cooked up term.

The detailed and chunky two piece front sets up the hexagonal design philosophy that carries on to the rest of the detailing of the car. The big Tata Logo disturbs the design of the front grill, but it's understandable, that there's not many places where the manufacturer would like to place the logo.

The front is also accentuated by a lip line below the headlamps and eye brow lines on the bonnet which makes the otherwise suave looking front a bit aggressive.

The two side crease lines cover the length of the car and add a subtle detail to the other straightforward side profile of the car.

The Headlights look sharp and an added splash is attitude is provided by the chrome split lines. The fog lamps also get chrome accents. Overall, Tiago tries to restrict itself from overuse of chrome (which is rampant with other Indian man) and keeps the design as uni-tone as possible.

Back rear, the well integrated angular tail lamp and faux two piece spoiler add to the urbane styling of the car.

Tata Tiago XZA Tail Lamp

Tata Tiago XZA fender

The design is Smart, Urbane, Minimalist and yet has enough going it's way to make it look fresh and exciting.

Fit and Finish

The price bracket in which the Tata Tiago plays, the Fit and Finish levels of the car is simply outstanding. There's a generous levels of usage of soft touch material on the upper dash, the steering wheel, the AMT gear lever, the cushioning around the door giving the car a feel that feels premium a couple of levels higher than it's segment.

Tata Tiago XZA Logo

Tata Tiago XZA Gear Shifter

Tata Tiago Cabin

Tata Tiago Seat Fabric

Tata Tiago Dashboard

The panel fitting is spot-on and there's hardly any uneven panel gaps through out the car, minus the lower (rather inaccessible) section of the dashboard.

While Tata has shied away from chrome garnish on the outside, there are a few touches of chrome inside the cabin which are tastefully done. On certain color trims Tata even matches the color of the inside garnish with that of the outside body color, however for Espresso Brown, Tata has gone with chrome garnish, because that's what makes for the contrast.

Tata Tiago door handle

Tata Tiago AC Vent



Dimensions, Space and Comfort

Length x Width x Height (mm): 3746 x 1657 x 1535
Wheelbase (mm): 2400
Minimum Turning Radius (m): 4.9
Ground Clearance (mm): 170 with R14 wheels (165 with R13 wheels)
Boot Space (L): 242
Kerb Weight (KG): 1024

Though the Tata Tiago competes with the likes of Maruti Suzki Celerio, Hyundai Eon and Renault Kwid, the space inside the Tiago is comparable to class of Hyundai Grand i10, which is a car a class above it's segment.

The well bolstered bucket seat up front and the wide bend back rear provides amazing comfort for the entire cabin. I have personally not had a chance to travel extensively out of the rear seat, but the Family mentions that the reason seat is way more comfortable and spacious than the 2008 Hyundai i10 Kappa that has been doing the family duties till now. Tata is scooped out the back of the front seats to create more space of the rear passengers. The 1657 mm of width ensures that the both the front and back passengers are comfortably seated and specially the front passengers are not touching each other during the drive (until and unless deliberating wishing to do so ;) )

Up front, the leg room is ample and I can very easily stretch my legs during the long hauls and with no clutch, the left leg easily and comfortably rests on the dead pedal rest.

Tata Tiago XAZ pedals


The Tata Tiago XZA also get driver seat height adjustment too which adds up to the perfect comfort spot as per the drive.

Tata Tiago XZA seat height adjuster

The Air Conditioning of the Tiago is easily one of the best in this category if not the best. The AC running at level 3 takes roughly couple of minutes to get the cooling going for a thoroughly sun cooked car. Once the car cools down, level 2 is all that's needed to keep the cabin comfortable and cozy.

Tata Tiago XAZ AC knobs

The control are ergonomic and fall are in comfortable reach without needing too much attention to operations.

The Tiago offers in a total of 22 storage spaces to adjust your knick-knacks and water bottles around.

Tata Tiago XZA storage space

Special mention in the comforts and engagement department should go for the Harman and 8 speaker Audio system that comes with the XZA. The sound quality is nothing short of pure bliss. One needs to listen to the system in order to understand that sound staging levels this system provides. If you are an audiophile, then your grin might go out of the boundaries of this car every time you turn that system on.

Tata Tiago XZA Harman music system

To be brutally honest, I am not a big fan of the ConnectNeXt interface, because it's not the most intuitive one. However, the simple Bluetooth interface gets the job done for audio playback and calls.

Tata Tiago steering controls

Added convenience is provided by the steering mounted controls, which have a good tactile feel to them and have smooth and comfortable operations. The in-call audio quality is clear and crisp based on the feedback that I have received from the other side of the call.

The Instrumentation Console provides all the required information that one might want to know except for the latest political trends and planetary alignments. Useful information bits (apart from a galaxy of other info options) include - 
  • Ambient Temparature
  • Real Time Fuel Efficiency
  • Average Fuel Efficiency
  • Distance to Empty
The unit looks gorgeous specially at night.

Tata Tiago instrument cluster

Talking about night, there are three elements of the Tiago, which are specially impressive during the night.

The LED Key Hole strip not only looks amazing during night, but also makes it convenient to find the key hole during low light situations.

Tata Tiago key hole lit

The white cabin lamp also provides comfortable ambiance when required. The lamp is centrally located to be usable for both the front and the second rows.

Tata Tiago cabin lamp

The headlamps coupled with the fog lamps provide amazing illumination and visibility, something my Hyundai i10 always kept me wanting for more.

Tata Tiago head lamp

The Tiago also offers Follow-me feature for the head lamp which makes it very convenient to find the car in dark places as it switches on the headlamps in low beam. However, it's not much of use if you are lost in the car parking trying to find the car. I would have loved to have a audio cue along with the Follow-me feature.


Performance and Drive

Engine: 1.2L 3 Cylinder Revotron, with Multi-drive City and Sport modes
Fuel and Emission norm: Petrol, BS IV
Max Power: 85 PS @ 6000 RPM (Power/Ton : 90)
Max Torque: 114 NM @ 3500 RPM (Torque/Ton : 123)
Transmission: 5 speed AMT

This is exactly where my initial declaration of being a biker is going to make a cameo.

Tata Tiago Revotron engine

The 1.2L Revotron engine is a 3 pot unit churning out a healthy 85 PS @ 6000 RPM and a meaty Torque of 114 NM @ 3500 RPM. 3 cylinder units are tuned to be more efficient than Inline 4 at the price of -

  • Refinement levels are a little lesser than I4 engines
  • Peak power comes at higher RPMs
  • Low End power leaves you wanting for a bit more
That said, the Revotron unit of the Tiago (mind it, it's also shared with the Tigor with a slightly different state of tuning) has been tuned perfectly for the small car. Being a motorcyclist, I have a habit of "rushing" out of stand still. Put the Shift to "Manual" and click away to glory I would say. The Rev and Speedo needles climb as quickly as possible as the 3 cylinder engine howls into action.

Yes, the 3 cylinder loves to make itself audible, and that's what makes me feel more connected with it, because as a motorcyclist, I hate quite engines, I love to hear a vocal unit, it makes me feel that I am actually communicating with the engine and engine is communicating back with me. I love feedback from the entire vehicle, because that's what the connection with the vehicle is all about. Give me a butter smooth engine and vehicle and I might throw up thinking that I have reached a vegetative state in my relationship with the vehicle. I am so fond of Engine Notes, that I personally, hardly feel that there's any kind of engine noise filtering into the cabin.

I have heard a lot of bantering from "Auto Enthusiasts" where the NVH levels of the Tata Tiago is putting their Sex Lives off course which they so enjoy in cars in-line four cars like the Hyundai Grand i10. However, for me - 
  • the NVH levels of the Tiago are totally under control and hardly make their presence felt,
  • the in cabin insulation is simply superb,
  • there are mild vibes when you take the engine close to 6000 RPM, but that's not at all a deal breaker at all,
  • the Gear Transitions in this AMT unit is the smoothest that I have experienced. The AMT transmission is at par of the AMT unit of the Renault Duster and in super slow speeds, it's even better than the Duster and that's a very big statement in itself.
The Real Time Engine Mapping between the City and Sports mode works like a charm. The City Mode ensures that Gears are shifted at around 2500 RPM, there by conserving more fuel. The Throttle response also becomes a little laid back in City mode and you feel the AMT at work.

Got an open stretch of road ahead of you - switch to Sports mode and the engine springs into life. The Low End Throttle response gets a sudden burst of life with the Mid Range behaving like a raging bull. The AMT now shifts at close to 4000 RPM giving you all the muscle to blast ahead.

However if the requirement is for even more muscle, then simply shift to Manual and now the AMT unit holds the RPM till 4500 RPM before Auto-Shifting.

In all the three modes - City, Sports and Manual, the cabin insulation works amazingly well, but as is quite understandable, the City mode is the quietest and Sports and Manual are the most fun, but that quite, but fun none the less.

Now, once the car is on the move, the Drive Comfort comes to picture, an area where  the Tiago gives the Ford Figo a run for it's money.

Front Suspension: Independent, Lower Wishbone, McPherson Strut with Coil Spring
Lower Suspension: Semi-Independent, closed profile Twist beam with Dual path Strut
Brakes (Front/Rear): Disc/Drum, ABS with EBD
Tyre: 175/R14 Alloy

Tata Tiago XZA Alloy wheels


Tata has pulverized the target in terms of Suspension Setup of the Tiago. The suspension is plush enough to make the car to glide over 95% of most real life undulations unless you are driving over meteor impact craters. Whatever discomfort the remaining 5% can cause is handled extremely well by the comfortable bucket seats and the well weighted steering. Body Roll is at it's absolute minimal resulting in an amazingly engaging drive.

Talking about the steering, the unit is light and well weighted, providing decent amount of feedback. Couple that with Tata's CSC (Corner Stability Control), the sense of sublime control and the confidence just grows with every single drive.

The ABS and EBD equipped is stellar, but needs some getting used to in terms of modulation. Since the car is still breaking in and so are the brakes, for the first 100 km, the brakes felt a little unpredictable, sometimes there was too much braking pressure and sometimes, it felt that there was a slight delay in braking pressure. However, at 650 km and in the 3rd week of ownership, the Braking feedback has improved leaps and bounds and so has the confidence levels.

Verdict

I required a car that offered the best in class comfort, features and safety and ended up going for the Tata Tiago. I must admit that I didn't think very highly of Tata's quality and prowess in providing world class vehicles, but I am pleasantly and joyfully proven wrong and for a change I am enjoying being proven wrong. At INR 6.11 on-road Gurgaon, I got the Tata Tiago XZA home, which sums up a value for money proposition which is almost impossible to out gun.

Text and Images by : Sajal Chakraborty

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8 comments:

  1. Well written review Sajal. Thanks for not comparing Tiago with high level car. People are comparing Tiago with high level cars and disappointing Tiago owners. You have very well said about the NVH. It's a VFM car. Excellent review. Have a safe ride..!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nicely written. Very good photographs. However, you should take ample precautions while taking a shot and driving the car at 120 clicks! :D :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry to dissapoint Ken Da, but that's not a true 120 clicks, it's the instrument boot up (clue - all the indicators are lit!!) :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very nice, apparently honest review. Thanks for this, it helps!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awesome writeup Sajal. Just when i came back from a test drive :)
    I really liked the cars behavior in different modes. Yes the modes are not just namesake they serve diff purpose all in same gearbox. Can you pls shed some light on real world mileage of car.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If you go by the features, Tiago XZA seems to be value for money. But when you own one, simply by getting overwhelmed by its features only, you will realize it is the worst buy and total waste of hard earned money. I own a Tiago XZA of which the AMT broke down within 1400 Kms and even before second free service and the service team could not rectify it even after two weeks. The car has been returning very poor mileage of about 9Kpl(with AC) to 12Kpl(w/o AC) in city , less than half of the claimed mileage. The service people told that it will be improved after first service and it never did improve even after the service but went further down to 8 to 11 KPL and the pulling also got reduced. My bitter experiences with Tiago XZA compel me to warn that, going for it is likely to be a blunder and worst decision.
    Does the author still hold his views after driving it for these many months? I really doubt.

    ReplyDelete

Item Reviewed: Tata Tiago XZA : India Ownership Review Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal Chakraborty
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