The sub-four-meter sedan is one of the trickiest segments in the Indian car market. Carmakers usually launch the hatchback version of the vehicles first, followed by the compact sedan version a bit later. Though we have no complaints about that, one of the perennial problems in this process is that the compact sedan version, in most cases, looks like a hatchback with a boot slapped at the rear.
However, Tata Motors seems to have taken this task pretty seriously in its new product, the Tigor. The sedan version of the well-received Tata Tiago hatchback blends the typical practicality of a compact sedan with style, a feature that most of the rivals have been missing out. In fact, Tata doesn't even call the Tigor a compact sedan. 'Styleback' is how Tata pitches to explain the Tigor.
We drove both the petrol and diesel iterations of the Tigor to find out how it stands out in the competitive vehicle segment. Here's what we think.
Exterior and design
As the name suggests, Tata Tigor is certainly one of the most stylish small sedans. It gets a face similar to the Tiago hatchback in line with the new Impact design philosophy. However, a closer look reveals that the headlamp has been given a smoked finish, and inside, it features projector lamps in double-barrel layout. The grille also gets a new hexagonal pattern.
It is from the sides that the Tigor sheds Tiago's design cues. Tata has increased the wheelbase by 50mm and thereby the length of the car has also gone up by 246mm. That makes Tigor's wheelbase longer than Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire. Tigor gets larger rear doors and the chrome lining for the lower portion of the side glass area adds to the richness. The roof flows into the high-set boot like a coupe and the 15-inch diamond cut alloy rims add mass to the exterior of the Tigor. However, this is reserved for the petrol models, while the diesel variants get 14-inch alloy wheels.
With a swooping roof and an integrated boot, Tigor gets a cohesive rear that puts many of its rivals to shame. The split tail lamps are slim and feature an LED strip at the bottom of the unit. The chrome strip above the number plate and the black plastic strip at the bottom of the rear bumper add elegance and sportiness to Tigor.
The boot of the Tigor requires special mention since it is the major addition in the car. With a capacity of 419-litres, Tigor's boot has ample space despite the vehicle being a sub-four metre car. The four-bar hinge set up is a clever addition, as it does not eat up the space when the boot is closed. The boot opens through a switch on the centre console or by pressing at the centre of the key fob.
Interior and features
The Tigor shares its interior with the Tiago hatchback. With textured finish to the dash top and fabric inserts on the doors, the Tigor feels premium inside. The cabin is spacious and comfortable too. The steering and drivers seats are adjustable in terms of height and there are plenty of cubby holes on the dash and centre console. The rear door pockets can accommodate a large bottle, while there is additional charging socket for passengers.
The rear row can seat three adults without adjustments, thanks to the door to door seat cushioning and integrated head rests. The seats are plush and the additional under thigh support makes it perfect. The fold down rear centre armrest comes with two cup holders. The Tigor offers decent headroom and knee room with a large window opening.
The top-end XZ variant, which we drove, comes with automatic climate control. The car also boasts of new 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system from Harman with four speakers and four tweeter setup. The touch-screen also acts as display for reversing camera. However, the screen takes a little time to respond to the swipes. Tata offers a suite of ConnectNext mobile apps that you can use with the system. For now, the apps support android only.
Engine and transmission
The Tigor also shares its engine options with the Tiago. The 1.2-litre three-cylinder Revotron petrol mill churns out 83.8bhp of power at 6,000rpm and 114Nm of torque at 3,500rpm, while the 1.05-litre three-cylinder Revotorq diesel mill develops 69bhp of power 4,000rpm and 140Nm of torque at 1,800-3,000rpm. Both the engines come mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
Drive and performance
We got our hands on to the top-spec XZ diesel version first. A 69bhp is not a big number in the segment and hence the power feels just adequate to the car. The Tigor gained about 50kg from the Tiago and that has the car craving for more power. It has been well calibrated for city use with a light steering wheel. But when you hit the highway or when planning for a quick overtake, the engine misses the mid-range punch. The mill is often left wanting for power. Being a three-cylinder one, the engine comes with fair amount of engine noise. The clutch is light and the gearbox is smooth; both work in harmony with the engine.
On the other hand, the petrol mill gets a balancer shaft to reduce the vibrations and it does its duty fairly well. The power delivery in the Tigor petrol is smoother and when you throttle, the engine responds quickly. Having said that, do not expect a surge of power when you floor the accelerator. Tata could have worked on the petrol mill to make it a lot peppier.
Both the diesel and petrol versions come with two driving modes - City and Eco. City is the default mode, in which performance is in full swing, while in the Eco mode optimises the engine and accelerator response for increased fuel efficiency.
The suspension set up of the Tigor is well composed to absorb speed humps and road undulations. The route where we drove our test cars had a lot of speed breakers, but there was no hint of the underbody getting scratched. The Tigor also offers good stability at high speeds and even after 100kmph speed, the car is planted on the road. While the Tigor is not a corner carving machine, the suspension and tyres give adequate confidence when you are chucking it into corners.
Tata Motors will announce the fuel efficiency data and the price of the Tigor on March 29. These are the two most important determining factors in this segment. Apart from these, the Tigor has a very attractive style. Most importantly it is not a Tiago with a boot attached. Well thought out detailing on the exterior and interior makes the Tigor an ideal buy for people who want style apart from value for money.
While the not-so-cool thing about the Tigor is the powertrain that craves for more power, the features, good ride and handling package make it an ideal toy for city dwellers. Tata has gotten the pricing right for Tiago and hence, the Tigor can be expected to come with a competitive price tag. In that case, the Tigor will give its rivals a run for money.