If looks can sell, then Tata Motors’ latest ‘Styleback’ Tigor to be launched on March 29 could make the company reach a new milestone. Capturing a unique niche, Tata has chosen a Styleback design to distinguish the new sedan from its platform sibling – the Tiago. Unlike the regular three-box sedan with its boot lid, the Styleback has a coupé like profile and its tail-gate is hinged at the roof.

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The unique design of the Tigor was frozen after the company worked on the styling over the past three years and the prototype was showcased at the last Auto Expo with the concept name of ‘Kite 5’.

Though the Tata Tigor will fall under the sub-four metre sedan segment, it will be facing tough competition from the likes of Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and Baleno; also from traditional rivals Hyundai Xcent and Elite i20, as also from other sub-four-metre sedans like Volkswagen Ameo and Honda Amaze. We got to test-drive the Tigor over the weekend. First impressions are positive and include a rising feeling that along with the Tiago, this one too can definitely help Tata Motors build its market share in the passenger cars segment.

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Design

The Tigor is the third vehicle based on Tata’s ‘Impact Design’ philosophy that was started a few years ago. The product is smartly designed on the outside and did catch onlooker’s eyes on the road. The styleback’s uniqueness is a big draw. It flaunts a dual-coloured bumper with the Tata Signature Grille and a striking chrome humanity line at the front. This extends into the crystal-like, smoked projector headlamps to create the face of the car. The character lines integrate with the signature split LED tail lamps and an integrated high mounted LED stop lamp, highlighting the length of the car.

On the road, quite a few people even stopped us to know more about the detailing of the design and features inside the car. Cabin features intelligent use of space and, of course, the high quality infotainment system. Tata engineers have worked closely with Harman to design and produce an acoustic audio and infotainment system, which has apparently been certified by the globally renowned Golden Ears and tuned by seasoned Harman audio experts.

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Cabin space is quite impressive; Tata engineers have managed to better legroom and include as many as 24 utility spaces, to provide ample storage. It has a dual-tone cockpit, luxurious patterned seats with bolsters, a premium knitted roof liner, along with customisable air vents. However, the driver-side power window doesn’t have an ‘auto roll up’ option, which many of its competitors would have. It doesn’t have electrically folding ORVMs, which most of the cars in its segment offer, at least in the top-end variants.

Performance

The Tata Tigor’s performance is similar to the Tiago’s. Both the engines are offered in the same state of tune in the Tigor as in the Tiago. The performance is quite a satisfying for the small sedan segment in both petrol as well as diesel. The 1.2L Revotron petrol engine was quick to respond to our commands on the city roads as well as on the highways. The three-cylinder engine delivers an optimum power of 85PS and a maximum torque of 114Nm. However, the diesel variant comes across as being a bit slower on the highway, with the turbo kicking in late and you get its boost only at around 2,500-3,000 rpm. Though noise, vibration, harshness levels are much better than erstwhile Tata passenger cars, it is still a bit a noisy. The Revotorq 1.05L diesel engine delivers optimum power of 70PS and a maximum torque of 140Nm. Both engines are available with multi-drive modes – Eco and City. The Tigor is also equipped with multiple safety features such as dual front airbags, an energy absorbing body structure, advance ABS with EBD and cornering stability control for improved braking efficiency.

Bottomline

Needless to say that Tata Motors has managed to improve the performance of its vehicles, with cars like the Tiago and Hexa. The company is similarly expecting a lot from the Tigor too. But, Tata has to work harder to convince the customers’ and break out of their mindset, when it comes to performance of their cars. For instance, we still get to hear certain perceptions like one we got while driving between Gurgaon and Manesar, where a village leader (sarpanch) said “dikhne mein toh bahot achha laage hai, par Tata ki gaadiyan uthhe na hai” (look wise it is great, but Tata cars lack in pick-up).

Expected price:

Petrol — Rs. 5.25 lakh to Rs. 6.99 lakh

Diesel — Rs. 5.99 lakh to Rs. 8.03 lakh.

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