- Test Drive Review: Yatharth Chauhan
- Photography: Dhruv Saxena
It was back in 2008, when Tata Motors became the first-ever car manufacturer to launch a sub-4 metre sedan in India. Based on the popular Indica hatchback, the Indigo CS offered additional boot space whilst ducking under the 4-metre mark to let the manufacturer avail an excise duty cut. The Indigo CS went on to become a success, at least amongst fleet operators. In August 2014, months after the launch of the Bolt upper B-segment hatchback, Tata came up with its second compact sedan, the Zest. However, stiff competition, mainly from the Maruti Swift Dzire, ensued the Zest got only a luke warm response from the market.
Tata’s compact sedan onslaught, however, is far from over. It’s ready to launch yet another sub 4-metre sedan. Christened as the Tigor, the latest compact sedan from Tata is based on, you guessed it, the Tiago. So, basically, Tata Motors have taken the Tiago back to the design boards, and have not only stretched out the boot, but have also increased the wheelbase by 50 millimeters. And this is only half the story. The big highlight here is that the Tigor isn’t yet another hatchback-based contraption. Instead, the design team at Tata Motors, led by Pratap Bose, has given the Tigor a posterior that can make you go weak at the knees, well almost. Basically, Tata has ditched the conventional three-box approach in favour of a notchback body style. Tata calls it a ‘styleback’; we call it the perfect approach to amalgamate a bigger boot on to a hatchback. Of course, the Tigor carries all the qualities of the Tiago, which, in the first place, is a well-sorted car. Prices are yet to be announced, but in all probability the Tigor looks ready to shake the budget-end sedan market.
Chapter-1: A Back like That!
The Tigor made its first public appearance as the ‘Kite 5’ at the 2016 Auto Expo. Akin to every other compact sedan derivative of a hatchback, the Tigor shares in plenty with the Tiago. It looks almost exactly like its hatchback sibling till the B-pillar. The biggest apparent difference in the front-end arises from the smoked double barrel headlamps. The Tigor was recently showcased at the Geneva Motor Show, where it featured a rather sporty front bumper. The production-spec model, however, gets a bumper that’s identical to one on the Tiago. Another visible difference in the nose is the chrome highlight that runs along the width of the front-grille.
In side-profile, things take a dramatic turn once you move past the B-pillar. Like we said, the Tigor boasts a notchback form, which means it gets an extended boot that gels pretty well with what was once a hatchback. We’re really happy with Tata’s approach. Thanks to the ‘styleback’ form, the Tigor’s DLO doesn’t mimic that of the Tiago. Instead, the rear window is new and comes with a small quarter glass. The greenhouse gets a chrome applique that runs along the beltline. Trust car makers to depend excessively on such chrome applications to enhance the ‘premium-ness’ quotient of their models! The petrol-powered Tigor gets stylish 15-inch 5-spoke alloys that look very sporty. The Diesel model gets slightly less attractive 14-inchers.
The rear-end has to be our favorite part of the design. There’s a definite touch of sportiness from a roof-mounted spoiler that houses an upper rear window stop light- a styling feature that’s highly reminiscent of cars like the Bentley Continental! Also, the rear windshield flows down into a discreet lip spoiler. There are split tail lamps that feature LED detailing. The reflector units and a single reverse light have been placed in the bumper, which also features a thick black insert that helps break the monotony. Designers have also added some chrome garnish to the boot lid. Overall, the rear-end is very well sculpted and the design team at Tata Motors has surely redefined the way these budget-end sedans are designed.
Chapter 2: A Stylish, Well-appointed Cabin!
As expected, the Tigor’s cabin looks much like that of the Tiago. The dashboard is identical in design. Here, too, the plastics are of good quality and there’s ample usage of gloss black and bronze-coloured inserts, which do help in making the cabin feel a tad more upmarket. The switches, the steering wheel, even the dials come from the Tiago.
There are also a few additions in the features list. The Tigor comes with a premium infotainment unit. Unlike the hatchback’s non-touch colour display, the Tigor offers a touchscreen interface for the infotainment system. Also, the top-end variants get auto aircon controls. Much like the Tiago, the Tigor offers decent cabin space. The Tigor’s wheelbase has been stretched by 50 mm, which helps in freeing up some leg space for the rear passengers. Of course, you still don’t get Indica-like spaciousness, but the Tigor can easily seat four adults in reasonable comfort. There are plenty of cubbyholes for the knick-knacks, but the front door pockets aren’t deep enough; all they can hold is a 500 ml bottle each. The enlarged boot displaces 419-litres, which stands at par with most offerings in this segment.
Chapter 3: Frugal, But Sufficiently Powerful!
Much like the Tiago, the Tigor offers two engine options- a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, normally aspirated Petrol and a 1.05-litre, three-cylinder, turbocharged Diesel. Both the engines come mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. For now, there’s no automatic on offer. However, the Petrol engine is likely to get a 5-speed AMT at a later stage.
1.2 Revotron Petrol
Powering the Tigor’s petrol model is a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, naturally aspirated engine that outputs a max. power of 85 PS @ 6,000 RPM and a peak torque of 114 Nm @ 3,500 RPM. Like we just said, it comes mated to a 5-speed Manual Transmission. This new-age petrol engine from Tata benefits from a DOHC head and 4-valves per cylinder. Its Aluminum construction has ensured that the weight is kept under a check. Not to be mixed with the 1.2-litre mill on the Bolt and the Zest, this three-cylinder unit (versus four-cylinder on Bolt/Zest) made its debut on the Tiago and is known to deliver a pretty impressive fuel mileage whilst offering decent performance levels. The motor has a long stroke, a variable oil pump, hydraulic lash adjusters, and a chain-drive.
Even at idle, there’s some noticeable vibration and engine sound making its way into the cabin. No, it’s definitely not too bothersome, but you tend to miss the refinement levels of the 1.2 K-series from Maruti Suzuki. Honestly, the NVH levels aren’t even in the league of Bolt/Zest, even when Tata has added a balancer-shaft to cut down the vibes. Performance is pretty decent, definitely not the best-in-class, but, you know, on most occasions, you won’t complain of lack of power. There’s enough grunt lower down the revs, but things become a bit drab in the higher rev range. The torque delivery is linear, which, along with a light clutch action, enables this car to effortlessly trod along at city speeds. We spent a good part of the drive stuck in Gurgaon’s nightmarish traffic, and are impressed by this car’s tractability. Also, even with some spirited driving on the expressway, the Tigor’s MID showed an average fuel efficiency of over 12 KMPL. It’s worth a mention here that the same engine boasts an ARAI certification of 23.84 KMPL for the Tiago petrol. With only a 50 KGs weight difference, the Tigaro is likely to flaunt a similarly impressive figure. Lest we forget, the engine offers an ‘ECO’ driving mode, which changes the throttle response in interest of better fuel efficiency.
Overall, the Tigor Petrol leaves us with slightly mixed emotions. The good part is that this car is very good in the urban environment, which, for most, is all that matters. On the flip side, the refinement levels are a bit on the lower side, and so are the performance levels.
1.05 Revotorq Diesel
The Diesel model gets a 1047cc, three-cylinder, turbocharged Diesel engine that outputs 70 PS @ 4,000 RPM and 140 Nm between 1,800-3,000 RPM. The engine comes paired with a 5-speed Manual Transmission. This oil burner has a cast iron block and an aluminum head. This engine, too, enjoys a DOHC head with 4-valves per cylinder. Compared to the petrol mill, this engine, at 1130 KGs, is roughly 70 KGs heavier. As aforementioned, the Diesel Tigor doesn’t get the larger 15-inch wheels. This has been done in interest of engine performance and efficiency.
Much like its petrol sibling, even the Tigor Diesel offers a light clutch action and decent low-end performance levels. Our Diesel car’s MID showed an average fuel economy of more than 16 KMPL, which, given the conditions we tested the car in, are nothing short of impressive. And we didn’t even need the ‘ECO’ mode to achieve a high fuel efficiency. On paper, this engine offers a full 15 PS lesser than the 1.2 Revotron Petrol, but a higher torque of 140 Nm makes this engine variant much more fun to drive. There’s some noticeable lag below 1800 RPM, but things get a lot peppier post that mark.
Make no mistake, the Tigor doesn’t try to be your everyday sportscar. Ultimately, in spite of that attractive posterior, it’s a budget sedan that is best suited to commuting and the occasional expressway trip. Here, too, the NVH levels are on the higher side. Overall, however, the Tigor Diesel will keep most buyers happy with its frugal nature and adequate performance levels.
Chapter 4: Handles Well, Rides Great!
As you must have already guessed by now, the Tigor is much like the Tiago in this department, too. Ride quality has always been Tata’s forte, and the Tigor, thanks to a longer wheelbase, larger wheels and additional weight, is even better than its hatchback sibling. The suspension is set on the softer side, which enables this car to offer a really comfortable ride on most surfaces. We spent some time in the rear seat of this car, and the ride is as comfortable here as it’s for the front occupants. The car swallows most of the craters with ease and only the biggest of the undulations threaten to ruin the ride.
The Tigor’s steering, in a typical EPS fashion, is light and offers little in terms of feedback. It does weigh up a bit as speeds rise, but there’s definitely some vagueness around the centre position. In terms of ergonomics, the steering scores rather well. It’s just the right size and feels good to hold. Body roll is well contained and the tyres are sufficiently grippy. The Tigor feels planted at high speeds. The only real grouse we have is that the steering feels a tad too eager with its self-centering action. Braking is strong and the car can be hauled down from high speeds without much drama.
The Tigor is not perfect. It’s not very refined and isn’t very poised in the corners. Also, the Tigor isn’t an enthusiasts’ delight, no, far from it. However, the Tigor is easily the most attractive compact sedan we’ve ever seen. Also, it has a long list of features and offers a spacious cabin. Prices are yet to be revealed, but we are expecting a Rs. 60,000-70,000 premium over the Tiago. At such a competitive price point, armed with qualities like a spacious cabin, a great infotainment system, frugal engines, and, of course, a great design, the Tigor makes tremendous sense.
Honestly, in a world full of ungainly sub-4 metre sedans, the Tigor comes as a breath of fresh air. The Tigor looks so good that we give it a big thumbs up on the basis of the looks alone!
So, what do you say about our Tata Tigor Test Drive Review? Do share your views in the comments section below. Also, tell us, do you plan to have a test drive of the Tata Tigor?
Tata Tigor Test Drive Review – Specifications
|Type||Revotron, 3 cylinder, MPFi with MULTI DRIVE;
Revotorq; 3 cylinder, CRAIL with MULTI DRIVE
|Cubic capacity||1199 cc; 1057 cc|
|Made of||All-Aluminum; Head: Aluminum, Block: Cast Iron|
|Installation||Transverse, Front wheel drive|
|Max power||85 PS at 6000 RPM; 70 PS at 4000 RPM|
|Max torque||114 Nm at 3500 RPM; 140 Nm at 1800-3000 RPM|
|Bore/stroke||77 mm x 85.8 mm; 75 mm x 79 mm|
|Compression ratio||10.8:1; 16:1|
|Valve gear||DOHC 4 valves/ cylinder|
|Engine management||ECU controlled|
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- Editor Rating
- Rated 4 stars
- Tata Tigor Styleback
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