The Zest wasn’t particularly successful for the same reasons the Bolt wasn’t, but that’s history now. Tata has given its Tiago a boot, and they’re calling it the Tigor. This has been Tata’s answer to Maruti’s Dzire, Hyundai’s Aura and Ford’s Aspire since its launch in 2017. Tata introduced the Tigor at a time when the competition wasn’t much because of the sudden demand for budget compact SUVs. In early 2020 however, the Tigor along with the Tiago, received facelifts and added equipment, whilst dropping the option of the brand’s small-capacity diesel engine. Tata Motors has called its Tigor a styleback – so let’s see what it can do and how.

A new face to see?

The differences in design aren’t much, but the re-styled front-end cannot be ignored. The sharper looking, smoked-out headlights feature projector lenses and the new grille is underlined by Tata’s Humanity Line in chrome. The front bumper gets a new look and includes a redesigned air dam and fog light housings. In order to meet current pedestrian safety norms, the bonnet has been raised a bit. At the rear, the bumper design is new; so are the tail lamp inserts. The window-line is unique with an upward kink at the rear quarter glass. What we really like though, is the coupe-like roof line that flows into the tail section so seamlessly – and that’s one detail that helps it stand out in its segment. After the facelift though, the Tata Tigor does tend to look a bit awkward when viewed from certain angles. But there are people who will find it attractive.

The cabin matters

Apart from the new 7.0-inch touchscreen, steering and the seat fabric, everything else remains the same in the Tata Cars. The dashboard has been lifted-off the Tiago, but it has a nice texture to it and the steering feels chunky to hold. The fabric inserts on the doors look nice, but quality still doesn’t match its Korean rival and some of the plastics do feel hard. The roomy cabin is a wonderful place to be in, and comfort is good. The big seats up-front offer good cushioning, and support and visibility from the driver’s seat is nice. The big rear windows will give passengers a good view out and tall occupants won’t have to worry, for headroom is full and plenty. Knee room is good, thanks to the scooped-out front seatbacks. Up to three adults can sit in comfort and the rear centre armrest is always useful. It gets features like automatic climate control, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, electrically adjustable and foldable wing mirrors, drive modes, a digital instrument cluster, 15-inch alloy wheels, and a Harman audio system. Storage areas are all over too.

Let’s drive then

The Tata Tigor is now powered by a BS6-compliant 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine, producing 84bhp and 113Nm of torque, paired either to a 5-speed manual or an AMT ‘box. For those who don’t do distances, the petrol engine does the job well. Power delivery is better and vibrations have been notably reduced. The gearshifts on the manual are quite slick and the light clutch makes driving easy. However, power isn’t particularly exciting. Power builds up slowly, and if revved too much, the engine doesn’t sound pleasant. To get the best fuel efficiency possible, drive modes like City and Eco come in handy. Ride and handling certainly impress to an extent, thanks to the well-weighted steering; however, while there is body roll, the car ensures confidence in the driver. As far as ride quality is concerned, like all modern Tatas, it doesn’t fail to keep you comfortable – and there’s not much of suspension noise inside the car.

The buying decision

While it may look like a Tiago with a boot, it is actually different in some ways. Firstly, you’ve got to give it to the folks at Tata for having designed a roofline like that. Second, it’s going to appeal more to someone who likes style over practicality – but that isn’t to say the car is not practical. In fact, the cabin is well designed and has lots of room for adults. Also, it gets all the features you need for the money paid. It could, however, make do with a turbo petrol motor under the bonnet, making it faster. Tata Cars managed to come up with a go-faster JTP version, but after the home-grown performance brand shut shop, we’re left wanting for more. Also, grab the latest info on the new cars, only at autoX.