Sometimes you’re caught up with so many things and one day it strikes you that you’re old, failing to be attractive and almost invisible in a room full of potential matches. Happened to me just last week when some folks brought up the topic that I can’t be like this anymore, I have to settle down. Tata Motors apparently had the same conversation about four years ago, and they’ve taken some measures which I’ve decided to follow.
They lost weight, cared more about the outward appearance, cleansed the internal bits, threw a couple of parties during the various stages of progress, and finally succeeded in showcasing new charisma that tangibly attracts new prospects. In technical terms, they reworked on their platforms, put together a new design language, developed new engines and sub-components, launched new products with new changes – Zest, Bolt and Tiago, and finally filled their showrooms with products that no longer look dated (no pun intended). I think it works, and I better follow the same game-plan, what say?
The latest and most influenced is the new Tata Tigor StyleBack we were acquainted with, and drove yesterday. Although at a glance, Tigor might seem to resemble all its three preceding products, don’t go by the photos, even ours. Standing beside it made us admire intricate design tweaks, not to mention the glaring paint job, a new copper brown colour. Tata has earned a badge in making budget cars look premium now.
Claiming to be the first ever styleback in its segment, Tata Motors says exterior styling of their new car is one of two major USPs. The other being its infotainment system. Well, we do agree. Though Tigor looks similar to Tiago from the front, it is at the rear where the game has changed, for good that is.
Ever since the sub 4 metre sedan idea has been implemented, we have seen hatches getting converted into ugly compact sedans, just so manufacturers could add about 50-100 litres of extra boot space. The reason, car buyers in India tend to directly relate their new car purchase to status in society. This ushered huge demand for compact sedans, which are nothing more than hatches with boot.
In a hurry to launch compact sedans, many manufacturers neglected style quotient. As a result, there are many compact sedans on road which, aren’t pleasing to the eye. With Tigor, Tata Motors have given us something stylish and sporty, and also practical.
The intelligently designed rear comes with a sloping roof and roof spoiler, which also acts as LED stop light. On the tailgate, you have a thick chrome slat adding to the car’s premiumness. On the sides are smartly wrapped LED tail lamps. The meaty lower bumper adds to its bulky characteristic, giving it a good road presence.
The Tata signature grille with Tata logo in the centre sits upfront. On the sides are smoked projector headlamps and LED DRLs. A lower bumper houses a stylish black grille and chromed fog lamp unit on each side. Overall, Tigor looks attractive and will definitely separates itself from the crowd.
Not much has changed on the inside. One can clearly see interiors seen in Tiago. Dashboard, steering wheel, centre console, seats are more or less the same as seen in Tiago. There are minor changes. Steering wheel now gets piano black accents. Tiago’s steering wheel has silver accents.
Centre console gets a new touchscreen infotainment system, which will show you navigation routes on the screen, unlike in Tiago where it only showed directions. AC controls have been replaced, and are housed in a piano black finished rectangular scheme.
Seating and comfort remains same as in Tiago. There is enough space for five to be seated. In addition to this, Tigor gets a foldable rear seat arm rest, something missing in Tiago.
Speaking about space, there is plenty of that in the cabin. There are as many as 14 cubby holes and storage spaces inside the cabin, in addition to 419 litres of boot space. What’s missing is rear AC vents, which Tata says is not needed for this car. We feel it would have been a nice addition in a car that’s going to be promoted as a more premium and stylish option.
Engine Specs, Mileage
Like Tiago, Tigor will be offered in petrol and diesel engine options. Petrol engine is a 1.2 litre three cylinder Revotron generating 85 PS and 114 Nm. Diesel engine is the 1.05 litre three cylinder Revotorq generating 70 PS and 140 Nm. Tata Motors has not revealed fuel efficiency figures yet, but during our test drive, we managed to squeeze 14 kmpl from the petrol variant and 18 kmpl from the diesel variant.
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If I had three or four cars in my parking lot, I wouldn’t pick Tigor if I’m late to catch a train or a flight. It’s not meant to be quick or sporty. If I’m taking my family to the mall, or driving to and from work, I would enjoy doing in a Tigor. It’s a well rounded family car with sophisticated looks and comfort-focused features.
Tata Tigor petrol is super linear to drive and uses the Zest engine minus one cylinder. The engine is smooth and it has a nice roar when you rev hard. That however doesn’t mean you’re gonna make it to triple-digit speeds very soon.
The diesel Tigor is punchier than petrol but still linear to the liking of a calm driver. If you’re confused about choosing between both, decide based on how many passengers you are likely to carry on an average over a week of driving. The petrol is an ideal choice if you’re gonna commute to office and run some errands, to a total of upto 1,500 km per month. The diesel would be recommended if your family is going to tag along most of the time, and/or if you’re gonna drive for more than 2,000 kms every month.
Tata Tigor is a car tuned for comfort, and as a prerequisite, it has a soft suspension setup. It gobbles speed bumps and potholes so well that it wouldn’t wake up a sleeping toddler. Same for braking. It is soft, and progressive. Tigor has a super light steering that weighs well when you turn. Body roll is high ib Tigor when you turn swiftly, especially on a hill-curve, but that’s part of the bargain for comfort.
The car is stable on highways. We didn’t test it at its top speed as we figured that one who would drive it so fast so often isn’t going to buy the Tigor. The one who would indeed buy this car, is a family looking to upgrade from a small hatchback, someone who wants to buy their parents a car, or someone who has a very long commute everyday like between Delhi and Noida, or Mumbai and Panvel, or Bangalore and Electronic City. But, that’s not what the Tigor is all about. With this car, you can do the above in a new sense of style, with up-to-date features, an amazing entertainment package and with enough safety features.
The purpose and main highlight of Tigor is the boot, which, contrary to usual practice has made the car look better – more stylish and upmarket. Thanks to clever arrangement of four-bar linkage with gas charger (damper) for the boot-lid open/close mechanism, Tigor’s 410-litre boot-space (which is already a segment crusher) makes for more utility than what it would with traditional goose-neck hinges. Tigor’s boot swallows upto four large travel bags and still has space to shove smaller backpacks.
Tata Tigor is not a car to be scribbled away when you’re looking for a budget family car just because you think you know what Tata cars mean in general. It truly deserves a personal visit before you make a decision, and you’d at least leave the showroom surprised if not as a customer.
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* All prices above are ex-showroom, New Delhi.