By Aditya Chatterjee
The Tata Tigor had been in news for quite some time since it was shown at the 2016 Auto Expo for the first time. Developed under the project name Kite 5, where 5 stood for 5 seater, the Tata Tigor competes with the likes of Volkswagen Ameo, Maruti Suzuki Dzire and also the Honda Amaze. With the long list of features and a fresh design, it is being said that the Tata Tigor will set a benchmark in its segment. Does it stand tall against the competition? We find out in our review.
Design and features
Tata Motors has managed to bring all the impressive bits of the concept onto the production model. Pratap Bose, head of design, Tata Motors, states that three of the company’s design houses based in Italy, UK and India collaborated for the Tigor. When seen from the front, you might mistake the Tigor for the Tiago as both the sedan and the hatch share almost every aspect except for minor detailing on the radiator grille. The Tigor maintains headlight design but with smoked finish and projectors.
The rear profile of the Tigor has to be best that one has seen on a sub-4 m sedan. With the sleek LED tail lights, compact yet well-proportioned boot with chrome garnish and a well-sculpted bumper, Pratap’s team has got it right in every possible way. In fact, it makes the more premiumly positioned Zest look dated.
Step inside the Tigor and you are reminded that this one is based on the Tiago as the cabin layout and design is shared by both the offerings. Now what’s unique about the Tigor is that it gets a mild color revision with a tad darker shades on the trims. The signature steering wheel has been carried over, but it gets piano-finished detailing instead of the satin finish. While the design of the cabin feels modern, the quality of plastics isn’t appealing enough especially when you compare it with Hyundai. Here is where it needs substantial improvement.
The Harman-developed infotainment system has been updated for the Tigor as it is now a touchscreen unit that doubles up as the screen for the rear parking camera. It also features emergency assist, service reminder and navigation which is projected on the screen by connecting an Android phone with the help of USB. All of these functions and few more can be accessed with the help of Android apps only thereby leaving no option for iOS users. We asked the company officials on when can we expect to see modern infotainment connectivity options and were told “very soon”. The Nexon perhaps? The most impressive bit about the Tigor’s features has to be its music system, as has been the case with all the newer offerings from Tata Motors.
The longer wheelbase has increased the rear legroom of the Tigor and it does feel more spacious. Instead of hard plastics, it gets a fabric cover for the side support of the rear seats. The only concern is that the hip point of the rear seats has been lowered which might be an issue for the elderly while exiting the cabin. In terms of utility, there are 24 storage spaces to house bottles and other knick-knacks. The Tigor gets a boot space of 419 L that is 177 L more than the Tiago. The bootlid gets a smart 4-link opening mechanism that has removed the need of hinges, making it a cleaner and more useful layout.
Tata Motors has retained both the 1.2 L petrol and the 1.05 L diesel motors from the Tiago without altering the output. The 3-cylinder diesel unit makes 70 PS/140 Nm and comes mated with a 5-speed manual transmission. As soon as the motor is started, the typical diesel clatter is evident, and it doesn’t feel as refined as other 3-cylinder units that we have experienced in other cars. The loud diesel clatter that seeps into the cabin is bothersome when you are travelling in bumper-to-bumper traffic. This also indicates that the NVH levels could have been better.
The 1.2 L petrol unit puts out 85 PS and generates 114 Nm, combined with the lower kerb weight, by 104 kg, offers a reasonably better driving experience. . It is my pick between the two motors as I feel it is more suited to commute in the city. To make the diesel motor perform, you have to push it past 2,500 rpm. However, if you do so, the motor feels stressed and this also the case while driving at high speeds.
Both the motors get two drive modes, City and Eco. The City mode is active by default, whereas the Eco mode is activated via a switch on the centre console. The changes between the modes are evident. In Eco mode, the throttle response is toned down in the interest of better fuel economy. The petrol motor does not feel out of breath while travelling at higher speeds and has enough juice for quick overtaking manoeuvres. Helping that is the smooth 5-speed manual gearbox that is useful while tackling city traffic.
The suspension set-up in the Tigor is identical to the Tiago’s and offers similar ride and handling despite a 40 kg increase in kerb weight, stated an official. While driving the Tigor in and around Delhi, we didn’t find it any different from the hatch. While the suspension does a fairly good job at ironing out the bumps and undulations, we did find the ride quality in the petrol variant was a lot more juddery than its diesel counterpart.
On the positive side, the Tigor feels planted and stable at higher speeds. The electric power steering is light enough to manoeuvre around narrow lanes and tight parking spots and weighs up sufficiently at high speeds.
Should you get one? For starters, the Tata Tigor is one of the most smart-looking sedans in the sub-4 m space. In addition to that, the sedan also comes loaded with features. The Tata Tigor is priced between Rs 4.7 lakh – Rs 7.09 lakh (ex-Delhi).
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