After numerous sightings, great expectations and a long wait, the Tata Tigor is finally out of the bag. For those of you who just tuned in, the Tigor serves as a sedan version of the Tiago, and will sit below the Tata Zest. This is a compact ‘under four meter’ sedan for those buyers who need the convenience and practicality from such a vehicle but with an unmistakeable dash of style. It is for this same reason that Tata calls the Tigor a ‘Styleback’, thanks to the unique fastback-like design of the rear portion.
While the Tiago was the first well-rounded product from the Tata portfolio, a lot now rests on the shoulders of the Tigor to build upon that reputation. Let’s dig deeper to find out what makes Tata’s new Tigor tick.
The Tigor is also an outcome of the brand’s ‘Impact design’, a design philosophy which has already seen its footprint in the Tiago, Hexa and now the Tigor. However, what differentiates the Tigor 0from the Tiago is the completely new internals of the blacked-out projector head lamps. There’s also a new chrome-tipped honey comb grille that has a nice suspended look. However, it’s the profile section that shows off the larger wheels (15-inch on petrol) with the diamond-cut alloys, an angular quarter-glass section and a more slanting C-pillar.
This is of course complemented by the most striking design element of the Tigor, which is the prominent shoulder line that runs along the extended boot which the car maker fondly calls the ‘slingshot design’. In fact, we felt that a little more boot section would have made the Tigor look proportionate, but it was a small trade-off to get the car under four meters. Nevertheless, the long high-mounted stop lamp, contemporary tail lamp design along with the sharp boot lid and overall creases across the rear section, makes for an eye-catching design. Also, the 175 section tyres along with the stubby boot make the tyres look a little too thin especially, when viewed from the rear.
Moving on to the interiors, the resemblance with the Tiago’s interiors is strong here too. You get the same fish skin texture on the dashboard which makes it look premium. Though the quality levels are good in some places, it is still not up to the mark in others. Especially when you consider that the Tigor will be priced higher than the Tiago and will be competing with cars in a higher segment with better quality levels like the Hyundai Grand i10 and Xcent. The Tigor does benefit from the addition of a new touchscreen infotainment system and the auto air-conditioner, over the Tiago though.
We noticed that the visibility out of the rear is slightly hindered due to the high boot and the sloping rear parcel shelf area is simply useless. In fact there’s hardly any storage spaces at the back other than the slim door pockets and the cup holders in the centre armrest. Although Tata claims to have 24 storage spaces across this cabin, they are either too small or too slim. However, the glove box is large and very useable.
The front seats are softly cushioned and offer good support for the back and thigh along with ample head room. But a little firmer seats would have translated into more comfort over long journeys. At the rear, the bench spreads all the way to the edges of the doors to better fit three passengers and an arm rest also finds its way here too. With the 50mm bump-up in wheelbase, it has liberated more knee room. Now, the rear backrest is slightly more reclined than the Tiago and despite the sloping roof, headroom is also adequate. We would have liked some more thigh support and longer squab but it’s not a deal breaker, and the rear seat of the Tiago is actually a good place to be in.
Although the unique double hinge boot opening mechanism avoids it from eating into the boot space, there no running away from the fact that the opening is narrow which makes loading luggage a bit awkward especially since the boot enclosure is deep. This is a clear indication that design has taken precedence over function, in the way the boot opens. It’s something that could have been avoided if this was a proper three box design as the boot opening would have been larger. The good thing though is that the 419 litre boot space has no intrusions whatsoever in the enclosure.
Some of the features on the Tigor include a rear view camera with rear parking sensors, a new touchscreen display for the ConnectNext infotainment system that is compatible with Android’s ConnectNext app which uses its own maps for navigation. There are eight speakers, AUX, USB, bluetooth capability, steering mounted controls, all-four power windows with driver’s side auto-down, electric mirrors and tilt steering. The Tigor also benefits from a rear defogger, fog lamps, two airbags, and ABS with EBD.
The Tigor will be available with the same diesel and petrol motors that power the Tiago, and both motors will be mated to a five-speed manual transmission. As of the now, the petrol version will not get an AMT gearbox option which is available on the Tiago. Let’s talk about the diesel Revotorq engine first. This is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder diesel mill that makes 70bhp and 140Nm of torque. On firing the engine, the diesel clatter can be heard within the cabin and some of the vibrations filter through to the pedals too.
Off the mark, the diesel Tigor builds up pace in a linear manner and there’s hardly any turbo lag. It’s not exactly quick but there’s a mild surge at 1,900rpm till about 3,200rpm which helps the progression in speed. However, the narrow range means that you need to keep working the gearbox at times to derive the best out of this engine, especially for a quick overtake. One also needs to note that the engine gets louder when revved hard. This five-speed gearbox shifts with decent accuracy along a slightly rubbery gate but the throws are long and they sometimes don’t shift appropriately while slotting in a hurry.
This brings us to the all-aluminium three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine that produces 85bhp and 114Nm of torque. This motor has undergone tweaks to improve the refinement and it shows immediately. However, if you keep the throttle depressed, the engine noise makes its presence felt but it doesn’t sound coarse. This is especially pronounced when you rev it to overtake or carry out a performance oriented manoeuvre. However, after driving the diesel Tigor, the petrol version felt a lot more eager and the build-up of momentum is quite linear all the way to the 6400rpm red line. This motor also has enough grunt for some adequate highway cruising abilities too.
The five-speed gearbox on the petrol Tigor has long throws which feels far from precise. But thanks to the slightly lighter clutch (than diesel), the entire shifting process is easier. There are two drive modes on offer, namely Eco and City. The outcome of these modes are more pronounced in the petrol than in the diesel. When you start either of the engines, the City mode is activated by default, however on choosing Eco mode, the system slightly reduces the response from the engine to make way for more efficiency. Nevertheless, we felt that out on the highway, it makes sense to slot in City mode for some extra mid-range punch especially while overtaking.
The ride quality in the Tigor at slow speeds is on the firmer side and you can experience some vertical movement within the cabin. But it always feels strong enough to take on our diverse road conditions. As the speeds pick up, the suspension silently goes about dampening large undulations and harsh bumps with ease thanks to the long travel and damping characteristics of the set-up. Straight-line stability is good too and the car exhibits the kind of composure which is unseen in cars in this segment. Despite the Tigor’s ability to maintain a reasonable line around corners with some roll, it’s the steering that lets it down since there’s a tendency for it to feel vague around the dead centre. Plus, there isn’t much feedback coming in from the front wheels either. On the contrary, the brakes do a fairly good job of stopping this compact sedan even in hard braking conditions.
Tata’s Tigor has a lot going for it. Things like the attractive overall design with a premium feel, the spacious cabin with comfortable seating for four, is feature rich, has adequate performance from both engines, and has got a pliant ride with composed road manners at higher speeds. On the flipside, the seats can be too soft for long journeys, performance from the diesel motor could have been better, and the slow speed ride is stiff. Also, the gearbox has long throws, the steering feels vague and the visibility out of the rear windscreen isn’t great. That said, opting for the variant with a rear view camera should sort it out.
Now, the Tigor doesn’t really have a segment to fall under and should sit below compact-sedans like the Maruti Swift Dzire and the Hyundai Xcent. Which is ideally the space occupied by large hatchbacks like the Maruti Swift and the Hyundai Grand i10. Though it seems obvious by now that the Tigor plays the value-for-money card, it also benefits from a spacious cabin and practicality from the extra boot space. We expect the Tigor to be priced dearer than the Tiago by Rs 60,000 across variants which will make it yet another success story from the Tata stable.