Launched in January 2016, the Tata Tiago saw some difficult early days. With a name change at the last minute from the now infamous ‘Zica’ and the aura of the Indica lingering around still, the Tiago had to impress everyone at first encounter. And with a very traditionally European hatchback design, a decently level of performance, it did. It even packed a great handling chassis and a well made and well equipped interior. With the package that it offered, the Tiago went on to win the 2017 NDTV Entry Hatchback of the Year Award too. The only thing it missed was an automatic gearbox. And now, Tata Motors has launched a new variant of the Tiago which gets an AMT option. Read on to know more….
The Tiago AMT is only available in the top of the line variant – XZ or XZA where the A stands for the AMT gearbox. As with the other top spec cars with the manual gearbox, you get the gloss black grille, the 14-inch alloy wheels, the two piece spoiler with the black inserts and front fog lamps. You also get ORVM mounted indicators and the rear bumper with the black central lowers half. I personally have always loved the way the Tiago looks with its simple and honest euro style design language and in this particular shade of red, I think it looks even better. There is no real way of differentiating the AMT to the normal manual versions though apart from the badging.
On the insides, the Tiago remains unchanged. The car still gets the Bluetooth enabled infotainment setup with the inbuilt GPS assist and the media jukebox feature. The Tiago also continues to impress with the level of quality that all the plastics exude and the overall build quality. For its price range, the Tiago is the most spacious car out there with enough room in the front and the rear to seat passengers comfortably. The Tiago also gets decent shoulder room in the rear to compliment the legspace and you still get a large enough boot.
Under the hood is a 1.2-litre three cylinder unit that also does duty in the standard manual gearbox equipped car. You get 84 bhp of peak power and 114 Nm of peak torque. The gearbox essentially stays the same, a 5-speed unit on which is mounted the AMT shifter module. The module is mated to a traditional shifter lever, which replaces the manual shifter in the cabin. Just like the unit on the Nano and the Zest, the Tiago also gets an AMT unit with a drive, neutral and reverse mode and a manual mode that allows the driver to shift up or down. The Tiago AMT also gets a sports mode to compliment the AMT unit.
Now usually, it is the ‘sport’ mode that we always advice consumers to use all the time as it ends up making the auto box a lot sharper and crisper with shifts taking place at a slightly higher rev band than usual. In the Tiago though, akin to the Zest, it is actually the other way round. It is the normal drive mode that offers the best all round performance from the 5-speed AMT unit. There is minimal lag in this mode and the AMT unit shifts through the gears smoothly and without any typical shift-shocks that one gets in some other units. The AMT gearbox also responds well to heavier throttle applications and adapts well when you need to put down some power to accelerate or overtake.
As we mentioned earlier, the AMT gearbox does have a sport mode. Although shifts are much quicker between gears in this mode, they are also noticeably jerkier too. The sport mode, especially from a standstill also is a lot jerkier and in some cases makes the car lunge forward which could be slightly dangerous.
Now one of the main issues we had with the Tata Tiago in its manual avatar was the pack of performance for the 1.2-litre unit despite being quite powerful on paper. In the AMT though, especially in the preferred normal drive mode, that complaint ceases it exist. It is almost as if the Tiago’s 1.2-litre motor was tuned for the AMT gearbox right from the get go and not for the manual – and that is a very rare occurrence in the Indian automotive scene.
As with every other Tiago, the AMT continues to impress with its excellent chassis dynamics. The car is poised in the corners and even with the lack of weight transfer that can be initiated by kicking down the clutch and shifting into a lower gear while taking tighter corners fast, the Tiago AMT continues to showcase an almost go-kart like setup. Brakes too continue to be great and the AMT gets ABS as standard. And continuing on the safety front, the car also gets two airbags as standard, one of the driver and passenger each.
On the whole then, the Tiago AMT is a great product for the price point. The only real improvement in the car and in the Tiago in general would be the addition of the touchscreen infotainment unit that does duty in the Tigor. Priced at Rs 5.35 lakh, ex-showroom, it makes sense for a wide range of customers who are looking for something that makes a great all round package. The Tiago is spacious, performs well and is built well to. It is most certainly a car we would recommend, especially if you are a first time car buyer or a first time automatic car buyer.