Tata cars have a history of not aging too well. If you’ve sat in a year or two old Indica or Indigo (read Uber), you would have heard more than a few rattles and squeaks. Plus the plastics, seats and other cabin bits would be in be pretty shabby condition. The Tiago, however is unlike any other Tata Motors car of the past and is a sign of the significantly improved quality of passenger cars from the company. It’s a fresh design and one that looks rather smart in the metal. The Tiago looks stylish and contemporary.
The upgrades don’t stop on the outside, in fact the cabin is the biggest surprise of the Tiago. It’s spacious and thoughtfully designed. Tata Motors have gone the extra mile to make the cabin feel special and better than any Tata cars from the past. A lot of thought has gone into things like the choice of seat fabric, which doesn’t get hot even if the car is left out in the sun for long and the nice knitted roof lining, which feels properly premium. The plastics are also of good quality, the textured finish on the dash top is something you won’t find even on some of the more expensive cars. Everything is rightfully where it should be, with enough cubby holders for your knick knacks. There’s a bottle holder on each door (albeit good for small half-litre bottles), two cupholders behind the gear lever, a little shelf at the driver’s end of the dashboard to keep change and a slot to hold your mobile at the base of the centre console. The glovebox is cooled and features a dedicated recess to hold a tab or small laptop and the glovebox’s soft release with a neatly integrated button on the dash is a good touch.
What’s worth mentioning is that even after 10,000 kilometres, there are no audible sounds in the cabin. This is a testament to the use of good quality material and shows how well finished it is. There are still some annoying bits like the shiny silver border around the AC vents that look tacky and reflects very badly in the driver’s eyes when the sun is directly behind the direction of travel. Also, despite having had the filter cleaned at the recent service, the blower is still loud and the air con hasn’t been able to cool the cabin quickly or effectively during the scorching summer. From the driver’s perspective I like the meaty steering wheel (shared with other Tata vehicles) and great visibility all-round thanks to the large windows, low dashboard and comfortable seating position. Where the Tiago scores big in my books is the combination of a super smooth ride and with stable and at times entertaining handling. There is a slight firmness to the ride and at low speeds it does transmit sharp bumps but it still deals with our pothole-infested roads very well with a sophistication to the ride from a class above. I also like the way the Tiago handles corners thanks to the more than sufficient grip offered by the Goodyear tyres. Straight line highway stability is good too and the Tiago doesn’t get unsettled. The steering has a nice amount of heft which is reassuring. The excellent efficiency seems to have further improved post service, thanks to the the fresh oil and changed filters. I actually saw 29kmpl on the instrument cluster after close 150km. Tata Motors rectified the faulty steering mounted controls. We’ve been surprised by the Tiago and the fact that its done over 10,000km in just three months is a testament to how good Tata Motors’ new cars are.
Date acquired: March 2017
Duration of test: 5 month
Total mileage: 22,539km
Mileage this month: 3958km
Overall kmpl: 18.5kmpl
Costs this month: Nil