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Review: Tata Tigor
Driven March 2017
In one line, what is this?
It’s a notchback version of Tata’s youngest small car, Tiago.
But I read Tata calls it “styleback”?
Styleback is a fancy name Tata has coined itself. Essentially, the Tigor (pronounce that as tee-gor) is a sub-4-meter sedan derived from its hatchback version. The wheelbase has been increased by around 50mm and the roof slopes backward into the stubby boot. But unlike conventional small sedans that abundant Indian roads, the Tigor gets a more stylish coupesque roof that runs into the boot, which is less pronounced unlike a regular three-box design.
Okay, tell me more…
Tigor, just like the Tiago and Hexa, is a result of the new “IMPACT” design philosophy - brainchild of its lead designer Pratap Bose - that Tata showcased a few months ago. The Tigor has a face similar to the Tiago’s so it gets that smiling mesh grille and stretched headlamps. In profile too, the first half is quite similar – front fenders, door, sloping front windscreen. It’s after the B-pillar is where you realise the slightly larger door and a sloping rear roof that almost belies the fact that this is a sedan.
How much has this ‘styleback’ affected the boot’s practicality?
It’s a compromise over a regular boot but Tata engineers have tried hard to make this less of a hassle. The boot-lid hinges on specially-designed hydraulic arms on the side rather than conventional metallic arches that intrude into the boot. This means the entire rectangular mouth of the boot is available to squeeze in a large suitcase and even be able to shut without touching it inside. The boot itself is cavernous enough for a sub-4m sedan – 419 litres available to be filled in case you need a number.
What about the powetrains?
Same as the Tiago’s. So, on the petrol side there is the 1.2-litre ‘Revotron’ unit belting out 89bhp at top whack. Torque peaks at 114Nm. This is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, which has identical ratios too as in the smaller hatch. No claimed fuel efficiency figure was available during our drive but the on-board computer showed 16kpl.
If you will click the diesel option you will again get the same 1047cc Revotorq unit with figures of 69bhp and 140Nm. While the engine is identical, Tata claims to have smoothened the operation further in this with a new balancer shaft in the mix.
Did you notice the difference?
Well, no. In fact we found the diesel a tad more shuddery than in our test diesel Tiago. A lot of it also gets transmitted to the gear stick, which isn’t a good feeling. The inherent clatter of a three-cylinder is quite apparent on the outside. Tata has tried hard to mask it with cabin insulation. While engine noise isn’t a problem once inside, wind and tyre noise are, which is tiresome over long distances.
Over short ones though, you will love the driveability that this torquey engine offers. There is a bit of work needed from the driver’s side to keep the tacho needle past the 2000rpm mark that keeps the Tigor moving smoothly. Once the turbo sets in, there is enough meat to potter around and even pull the car from a higher gear than would normally be needed. Gearshifts don’t happen with sharp clicks but throws are short and the slots are not hard to find.
How’s the petrol on the move?
Nicer. Peak torque may come a bit higher compared to the diesel, the ease with which you can rev this unit brings power into play quite easily. Shifts are short and smoother here, which makes it for an engaging drive. General refinement is noteworthy and you do get a feeling of moving in a pleasantly quick car. The steering is light and weighs up just a bit as speeds build. You will not struggle to keep it in a straight line.
There is a bit of body roll during quick lane changes but that feeling has more to do with the light steering. Typically, it will understeer if shown the stick into a corner, unless the driver intervenes with some sensible inputs. But maybe, we're nitpicking here. The Tigor, most likely, wont be anyone’s getaway car and for most kinds of regular driving, it ticks all the right boxes.
Traditional suspension set-up. And as with most Tata cars, the Tigor scores highly on the ride bit. Felt comfortable over most of Delhi and Gurugram roads that we drove on, soaking in the road joints and potholes without much drama, or noise. Pretty much like the Tiago.
Is the cabin identical to the Tiago too?
Almost. The front seats, most of the dashboard, plastics, fabric, instrument cluster are all carryover parts. New bits are a slightly larger infotainment display, which is touchscreen unlike the Tiago’s regular LCD, and climate control.
This sounds like an apt package. So, now what happens to Tata’s other sub-4m car, the Zest?
Good question. The Zest will stay, obviously. With slightly more space, Tata feels the Zest will make sense to a lot of fleet owners who now make a substantial portion of this small sedan segment. The better-looking Tigor is said to attract personal car owners who seem to be increasingly shying away from this segment “for want of good-looking cars”. It sounds logical, almost.
Important thing will be the price…
Of course, and going by what it did with Tiago, Tata can get it right with the Tigor too, if it doesn’t get too ambitious. The launch is later this month and Tata has remained tight-lipped on the price. We can safely estimate that the Tigor too will get four trims, similar to Tiago, with prices starting from Rs 5 lakh onwards for the petrol version and Rs 6 lakh for the diesel (estimated, on-road, Mumbai). This should make you stand up and take notice if the styleback design hasn’t already done the trick.
Petrol: 1199cc, 3 cyl, 84bhp, 114Nm, 5M, 1062kg, 14.2kpl*, Rs 5 lakh onwards
Diesel: 1047cc, 3cyl, 69bhp, 140Nm, 5M, 1130kg, 16kpl*, Rs 6 lakh onwards
LxWxH: 3992x1677x1537, Wheelbase: 2450mm, Ground clearance: 170mm, Fuel tank: 35 litres, Boot: 419 litres
*As per onboard computer
Arguably the best-looking compact sedan. Comfortable and surprisingly pleasant to drive. Petrol engine is our pick.