Tata Tiago Review: Luxury now comes in Small Packages as well #Fantastico

by - December 11, 2015

Author's note: 
In view of the recent Zika epidemic, Tata Motors decided to change the name of their car (Zica) after we had the opportunity to test drive it. 
After a nationwide contest, the new name of the vehicle is now the TATA TIAGO.

As I travelled from Kerala to Goa for the test drive of the new Tata Tiago, I found it quite befitting that the vehicle that took me to the airport was a Tata Indica. It gave me the chance to focus on what Tata had offered previously. It also felt like a transition - moving on from the past and travelling towards the future.

Last year, Tata Motors rose like a phoenix again, the HorizonNext strategy and philosophy of theirs showcasing their earnestness to move forward with the times. Their first product, the sedan Tata Zest was a huge leap forward from their previous products (I was so impressed I convinced my surgeon to buy it and 1.5 years later, he still loves the vehicle) and was followed by the Tata Bolt.

Their new product, the entry-level  hatchback Tata Tiago has been kept under wraps for a while now. So when the opportunity to ride it before the rest of India arose courtesy Indiblogger, I found myself eagerly hoping to get selected so that I could see not just how the car was but also how the brand has evolved.

Having driven the Tata Tiago in Goa through both the serene streets and the hectic highways for over three hours and a little shy of 80 odd kilometers, I feel I am ready to give my verdict: 

In a simple easy-to-recall statement, The Tata Tiago is the best hatchback in its class by quite a distance.

Tata Tiago Godyears

You want me to justify this statement? 
Well, I am glad you asked. Because there are plenty of features that I wish to talk about during this review of the Tata Tiago that makes this car #Fantastico and #MadeOfGreat (their key taglines). I think you will come away just as pleasantly surprised and impressed as I was by the end of this post.

1. This is the best looking car from Tata Motors.

With each vehicle, Tata Motors seems to be aiming to outdo themselves. The Tata Zest had a mature and refined look to it while the Tata Bolt oozed competence. But the first time you see the Tiago, you instantly know its a babe! 

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica

This car is young, vivacious and wonderfully refreshing. 
We throw out the old Christmas light styled tail-lamps and get new jewel shaped ones in the rear. You also get an inbuilt spoiler and a very sleek shoulder line that adds to the sporty feel of the vehicle.

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica

The front thankfully does not succumb to the chrome fetish of most other companies and instead maintains the Tata smile with the jet black horizontal grille that looks striking against the SunBurst orange shade (again, the colour I expect will be the most sought after when booking begins.)

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica

The team from Tata Motors’ three design studios in Pune, UK and Italy have been busy and the effort shows.

2. That special touch - the best-in-class features.

I will get around to the Harman Kardon infotainment system shortly but let us talk about what else is on offer that makes this car a class above its competition in the entry hatchback level.

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica
Follow Me Home Headlamps
Image Courtesy: Blogwati G

* Follow me Home headlamps,
* Day and night Internal rear view mirror,
* 9th generation ABS,
* Rear defogger,
* Airbags for driver and passenger,
* Chilled glove compartment,
* Gear shift indicator,
* Switch between ECONOMY and CITY driving modes at the press of a button,
* Central locking with remote.

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica
Want to shift to ECONOMY mode and get better mileage?
Just click the ECO button.

3. Harman Kardon infotainment system with 8 speakers and steering mounted audio controls.

I could go in a regular order of exteriors, interiors and ride but I don't want to. Let me instead tell you about the Harman Kardon infotainment system which I first saw in their premium sedan, the Zest. Well, it is back and even upgraded now for the Tata Tiago. Sure, it has the usual suspects (Bluetooth, USB et al) but guess what? 
The new ConnectNext system also comes with 'MapMyIndia' integration, conveying turn-by-turn navigation data directly onto the screen.

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica

And what about the Juke-Car app? Forget first-in-class, let us talk about first ever! 
This app which integrates with the infotainment system allows everyone to connect their mobiles to the audio system. Selected songs from any and all of your mobiles can be added simultaneously to a unified playlist which will then be played on the system in the order you choose from the app. No more crying over who has the Aux cables! There will be peace! 

The Juke car app and GPS are signs that the Tata Motors team are not looking to merely match their competitors but instead forge ahead of them.


When all the members of the car agree on what song should be played, there will be joy & happiness and more importantly, SINGING IN UNISON! This song is so apt too for the TATA TIAGO - it is indeed time to come out of the pictures people see inside magazines and social media and wow the public in real life.

4. Spacious interiors and luxurious seats. No sign of cost cutting.

The first thing I asked my partners during this ride (fellow bloggers, the vivacious Ankita and the charming Ragini) was about their opinion of the car the moment they got in. And they both had the same thing to say - this felt a lot more luxurious than they had expected
For a car this size, space has been carved out so that the people in the back row do not feel cramped. There was a feeling of being hugged by the seats thanks to the curved ends and the fabric too was high-end and comfortable. While I do not detest beige personally, the Tata team certainly decided enough was enough with it, opting for dual tones with black and a nice grey. Plastics for the dashboard were also top notch and yes, miles ahead of what the Tata Indica had to offer.

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica
Plush cushioned seats and a very up market dashboard greet you as you enter
Images: Indiblogger

5. 22 utility spaces including chilled glove box.

I think what is most creditable is that the team at Tata Motors is showing the capability to listen to their customers and evolve. A few of the Tata Bolt riders did have an issue about the shortage of utility spaces in that car. So what does the team do? They make space so that you can fit everything from cups of hot coffee to 1 liter bottles of water, your private documents and guess what? A Chilled glove compartment too!

6. More boot space than I expected.

At 240 liters of boot space, it is actually competing with premium hatchbacks and even beating quite a few of them by a comfortable margin.

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica
I know you are bored of pictures depicting the boot space by showing suitcases.
So I figured this was a better way to showcase the spacious boot.
*Now if you will excuse me, I have to explain to the approaching police man why
I have these two gorgeous women locked in the boot of my car!!!* 

7. No compromise on safety

I cannot stress how happy I am about this. Most entry hatchbacks do away with the most important safety features which I find silly. At the end of the day, you want your loved ones to come home to you. The team at Tata Tiago understand this and so you get Airbags for both the driver and passenger seat along with the latest 9th generation ABS. In addition to this, you have EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution), corner stability control and an energy absorbing body structure. 

8. Fuel efficient ride.

I was skeptical about the 1.05 L diesel engine. So when I got the chance to test it out, I was waiting to see how it would perform on the road. We drove through literally all terrains - smooth and cracked roads, potholes and speed bumps, slopes and curves. And yes, the car will need a little coaxing and a nice stretch of road before fifth gear comes into play but then you get a pretty high mileage for that. You will probably need to down shift a bit to get that extra boost of power but the sound that arises is more a roar than a wheeze so we were still grinning! 

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica
Good 'headroom' too! Even when I failed to detect a speed bump till it was too late,
we still did not end up knocking our heads... which is something not many other
 hatchbacks can boast off! 

More importantly, the suspension is a grade above its immediate competition and handles most undulations really well, which surprised even me. At the end of the day, it is meant to be a car for the city roads rather than the circuits and it does its duties admirably. While the official statistics will be available only at the launch, expect to see figures of early to mid 20s for the diesel version.
Having a dedicated button for Economy mode was once more a feature first seen on the higher end Zest and it is lovely that these features are not lost in translation as we move down to the entry level cars.

9. Customizable interiors!

What? Are you serious?
Yes, I am. And I am not just talking about the luxurious fabric for the seats this time. There are separate panels on the Tiago which can be painted in a colour that the customer wants, making this a first-in-class unlike any other I have ever encountered.

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica
Customizable AC vent panels!

10. Price.

Rest assured we have all asked the people in charge what the price will be (including the man behind the design of the car and the woman who played a key role in facilitating the union of Lionel Messi and Tata Motors) and they have had that Cheshire grin on their face as they played coy with us. So why am I adding this as a feature here? Because I know Tata after watching every car from their HorizonNext series. In both the Zest and the Bolt, Tata Motors successfully launched their vehicles by shaving an easy 30,000 to 60,000 rupees off the final price as compared to their main competition. And even with so many high end features, every instinct in me is ready to bet that we are in for a hat-trick.

The Tata Tiago is an entry level hatchback that forgot it was an entry level hatchback and is designed, fitted and ready to ride confidently alongside the premium hatches and even some of the sedans in the market presently. 

It is feature-rich with no - I repeat, no - visible signs of cost cutting at any level, be it exteriors, interiors or ride. 

So what does that mean? It means you will get a car that has features higher than vehicles two levels above its grade and even some sedans while paying a price that is less than its regular competitors. You will get to enjoy the brilliance of Messi while paying for chubby ol' me booting a football inaccurately. 

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica
My Mother always told me I was Messy.
Today, I finally proved her right! Yes, MAAA! I AM MESSI!
*Yes, she also used to tell me I was horrible in spellings too*

You will enjoy a smooth ride from within and admirable stares from without.

You will get the most luxurious entry level hatchback in the country.

"Dude, where's my (next) car?"
"FOR THE LAST TIME, it's right there! And yes, the Tata Tiago is just as awesome as you hoped it would be!"
Image courtesy: Ankita Singhal

Tata Tiago Godyears Zica\
The Tata Tiago will launch in India in the first quarter of 2016.

Got any queries on the Tiago that you need answered? Ask away. I will be more than happy to reply to what I know.

P.S. The blog post on the Indiblogger TATA MOTORS event itself is NOW ONLINE

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  1. You summed everything about the car pretty well. Awesome.
    And Amazing pictures.
    Nicely written, Doc.

  2. This has come out Awesome Doc.. :)

  3. Informative and cool at the same time...damn good post doc :)

    1. Thanks Vaisakhi... expect to be featured in the coming post about the event :D

  4. Very crisp yet detailed review Doc! Liked the way you have categorized everything and the humor part was amazing, I laughed so many times! Loved the video, we can totally launch our own band, pictures are pretty awesome too! Keep it up, loved the post!

    1. You and Ragini were as an absolute delight to have for the ride... couldn't have chosen a better two out of the 60. Made it so much fun :)
      And yes, the band must assemble and show the world what they have missing for so long!

  5. good post and the pictures rekindled the Goa trip perfectly

    1. Thanks... more than this, I think the nostalgia is really going to kick in once the event, beach and party posts come up :)

  6. Looks like a sweet ride! I like that color, too. It's my current favorite for just about any vehicle. Unfortunately, in the USA our diesel Chevy Cruze and electric hybrid Volt didn't come in that lovely orange. Still, the vehicles suit our lives perfectly. Happy cruising!

    1. It's relatively new as a colour here. I think a few others have orange but in a different shade. This catches your eye instantly.

  7. Interesting narrative... loved the way you made truth flow without jerks. :)

    Arvind Passey

    1. Thanks. Was awesome to finally meet the legend after reading your work for so many years :)

  8. This is a very detailed listicle and I love the giggles that I expressed after reading your funny lines! Also, I think your "mehbooba" is trying very hard to stay back in the the "tasveer" after hearing you guys sing! Hahahaha....Great post doc! :D

    1. Zainab, you dare mock the RagiAnkishan group (we are still working on a name for the band!) - we are the next Beatles, the Police, the new Disco Dancers!
      Plus, you have already witnessed my unmatchable prowess in Antakshari... lyrics tho bayeein haath ka khel hai :)

  9. I would like to see it in black color first but I really like no Aux cables system.

    1. Vandana, did not see a black there but I assume it will definitely be there... The one we drove was an espresso brown. There will also be a red and blue shade in this.
      The music system is really classy and high end - miles better than what you expect in a car like this.

  10. I would like to see it in black color first but I really like no Aux cables system.

  11. Nice Post.
    You guys have enjoyed a lot :-)

    1. Guilty as charged... honestly, this is the relatively serious post :D
      I just finished typing down the post on the blogger meet itself - you can check it out here (be warned... lots of pictures!) http://www.godyears.net/2015/12/tata-zica-indiblogger-meet-madeofgreat.html

  12. You seem to have an excellent time there, Doc ! Awesome! So J seeing these pics!

    1. As I mentioned on Facebook, this is the SERIOUS post :)

      The real fun post on the event is here:


  13. Agree with all your points.
    Super pics and captions, Doc :) But, there was no Policeman anywhere on that beautiful Verna road :P
    License to drive away!
    It was a wonderful Zica experience. Happy to connect.

    1. hehe... lucky me! Or else I would have been in real trouble :)

  14. This is one of the best reviews of the car I have read . You have analyzed and simplified the car and almost created a post which will act as a informed decision making tool for the buyer

    1. Thanks man... seriously though, have actually got three calls from fellow doctors already regarding its performance and options. So yes, it does seem to have made an impression.

  15. Beautiful review Roshan, I liked your view on boot space in particular :-D. You guys had an amazing time in Goa it seems. I missed it completely. ZICA looks cool, stylish as well as sporty. I'd love to drive and experience it, if given an opportunity.

    1. Hahaha :) Yes, Gowthama... I guess the old 'luggage bags' method was just outdated for me :)
      And seriously, do give it a test drive if you are looking for a city car... especially the petrol. I do believe it will be well within most people's budgets and as for features, it already has more features than my present vehicle which today goes at 1.5 lakhs higher in the market.

  16. nice pics and detailed review

  17. Hi, thanks for the detailed review. Did you drive both the petrol and diesel variants? Which one seemed more refined to you? For city driving with an occasional long drive, which one would you recommend- petrol or diesel?

    1. Hi Krishna, thanks for dropping by. I personally tested the diesel. Of the two, based on the discussions we had with fellow bloggers after the ride, I believe the petrol version would suit your needs better. It is more refined and offers more power for the long drive.
      For a city ride and cutting through traffic, both will be perfectly fine.

    2. Thanks Roshan for your response!

  18. Very nice car and i did pre launching booking too of Tiago because its Fantastico..


Let me know what you think.