2020 Tata Tiago Test Drive Review
We do a detailed road test review of the 2020 Tata Tiago.
Car Tested: 2020 Tata Tiago XZA+ Dual Tone; Road Test No. 1236; Test Location: Mumbai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs 5.56 – 7.91 lakhs
Gorgeous looks, a feature-loaded cabin along with excellent ride and handling dynamics make the 2020 Tiago a good hatchback
In the over-crowded hatchback segment, the Tata Tiago always stood out because of its packaging. Launched in early-2016, the vehicle was long overdue for a facelift which eventually happened at the start of this year. We finally got hold of the 2020 Tata Tiago which not only gets cosmetic updates but also comes with added features. But are these changes enough to help sales sustain in a segment where there is no dearth of options?
Exteriors – The Tiago was always a smart-looking, well-proportioned hatchback but you can’t deny the fact that its age had started showing. What Tata has basically done is upgraded the fascia of the vehicle and given it a design philosophy which matches the one followed on the Altroz. The Tiago, from certain angles, actually looks like an Altroz now, especially to the layman and this could be a very good thing. The gloss black grille looks great and there’s a chrome strip that runs below the grille, from one headlamp to another. The restyled bumper looks cool too and adds some flare to the design. The side doesn’t see many revisions apart from the new alloy wheels which, if my memory serves me right, were available on the Tigor earlier too. The rear bumper gets a new design with a black insert and the vehicle also gets a black roof, black ORVMs and a body-coloured spoiler with black inserts on the side (our test car was the top XZA+ dual tone trim). Overall, the Tiago looks handsome in this red shade and Tata is also offering a new yellow colour.
Interiors – The layout of the cabin remains the same as before and some useful additions are now welcome. The hatchback finally gets a start/stop button and it even gets a new steering wheel which is similar to the one on the Altroz but with no buttons on the RHS. The steering gets gloss black inlays while the one on the Altroz gets the bottom part finished in a shade of grey. The new instrument cluster consists of a large MID showing the speed, DTE, fuel efficiency, gear position, time, etc. while the large tachometer on the side looks a bit tacky and a more subtle design would have worked fine. On the other side, you get digital fuel and temperature gauges. Apart from that, our test vehicle had red accents around the AC vents, breaking the monotony of the black interior very tastefully.
The 2020 Tiago gets a new touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a reverse parking camera
The updated Tiago gets automatic climate control while the older one had manual AC controls. There’s also a new touchscreen infotainment system. It offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a reverse camera too but the fluidity and quality of the screen has some room for improvement, not that it’s bad though. The sound quality from the stock Harman speakers (8) is quite good for a car of this segment. Tata is offering dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and cornering stability control as standard across every variant and the Tiago has also scored a 4-star Global NCAP crash test rating. Apart from these, barely any changes have been made to the cabin. The seats continue to offer good support and there’s decent space at the rear too.
Performance – The Tata Tiago earlier had a 1.05-litre diesel engine in its line-up but it isn’t available anymore and now this hatchback is available with a single engine because the JTP has also been discontinued. The 1.2-litre, 3-cyl, NA petrol engine delivers 86 PS at 6000 RPM and 113 Nm at 3300 RPM. It is available with either a 5-speed MT or an AMT. The engine offers good low-end punch and city driveability is fine but start pushing the car a bit and you’ll notice that the mid-range feels quite dull and the engine lacks punch, which it starts gaining again towards the higher-end of the RPM spectrum. If you want to overtake other vehicles, you need to downshift every time because the engine takes time to respond and build up speed but for city commuting, this won’t be much of a problem.
The new 3-cylinder petrol engine lacks mid-range punch forcing you to downshift every time you want to make an overtake
NVH levels are good but you can hear the engine inside the cabin almost all the time. Some vibrations and juddering can also be felt at lower RPMs. The AMT isn’t the smoothest around and you can feel a fair bit of head toss movement while gear shifts are happening. If you’re a sedate driver you won’t notice the lag much but if you tend to drive fast, the slightly slower gear shifts will get to you. Most people aren’t likely to drive the vehicle aggressively and for day-to-day convenience, even an AMT is better than a manual transmission and worth the approximate Rs. 50,000/- additional cost. The diesel Tiago had class-leading fuel efficiency while the petrol variant delivers around 12-14 km/l.
Driving Dynamics – The Tiago offers fun driving dynamics and it’s a surprisingly good car to drive. Straight-line stability is very good and the car holds well on corners but there is a significant amount of understeer when you push it hard. The steering also weighs up well and offers decent feedback. The Tiago always offered a good ride and nothing has changed on that front. The suspension has been set up towards the stiffer side but it is very pliant on our roads and the way the car drives over poor roads and potholes is commendable. Braking performance is also impressive. Overall, the Tiago has sorted driving manners and it feels very mature and confidence-inspiring.
Verdict – There’s not much to dislike in the Tata Tiago apart from the dull response from the engine. The vehicle has a decent set of features for the price, drives well and looks great as well. Prices have increased over the years and the top variant touches almost Rs. 8 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai). The Tiago is a strong product and definitely worth a consideration but for people who seek a VFM proposition, they’ll be better off with the mid variants, especially the XZ trim since it is a good balance of features and price.
What’s Not So Cool
Alternatives – Maruti Swift, Maruti WagonR, Hyundai Grand i10, Maruti Celerio, Maruti Ignis, Hyundai Santro, Ford Figo
Further Reading –