Quick intro about me as it is my first post here.
Iam an ex Maruti marketing guy, with good experience in vehicle ride and handling testing, and was part of development teams of cars like SX4, WagonR etc. Had run an automobile review website (automate4u.com) in which I had reviewed many popular cars, but had to discontinue it as some priorities changed in life. Now in Pune, but no longer associated with automobiles to a great extent.
Quick 2.5k km review of Tiago XTA.
Purchased Espresso Brown XTA variant of the car, and I guess mine is the first XTA in Pune :) Purchase decision
Compared it against Celerio Vxi, and Ignis. Ignis was rejected as I felt the price is a bit high for what it has to offer.
Celerio certainly was more peppy, smooth drive and said to give better real life mileage, but the quality and features felt way inferior to the Tiago. Most importantly, Tiago looked better compared to the dull and boring Celerio.
Coming to the experience so far, it has been mostly positive. Not talking about the looks here as you can find detailed description elsewhere also. Drive experience
Let me come straight to the driving experience. There is good amount of jerk when you start the engine probably due to the 3 cylinder motor, but thereafter it feels very much smooth and with low NVH. Mine is an automatic, and there is significant lag in the throttle response initially. Thereafter there is sudden response, which will take you by surprise. This is a bit irritating in stop and go traffic, and I haven't been able to really predict the throttle response in traffic yet. Once the initial hiccup is over, it is smooth thereafter. But in city mode, the vehicle feels very under powered. The car takes its good sweet time to give enough power even to do a low speed overtaking in city. Switch to sports mode and you feel you are in a different car altogether, with good response and excellent pickup. So I had to switch to sports mode quite often, especially for overtaking and to climb bridges at low speeds. Once on the highway, both city and sport modes give good driving experience, and you can switch modes based on your requirement. For quick overtaking on highways, one can floor the throttle and the car downshifts for that extra punch, but many times end up upshifting even before the overtaking is complete. So, quick overtaking is best done in sports mode. It goes without saying that sports mode is a must on any type of hilly terrain. The other option is to switch to manual mode, but I don't prefer to do it personally as sometimes I end up forgetting to shift gears :P. Also the car does not remember your mode setting once the engine is switched off, you will need to set it to sports mode post every engine restart if required. It was a bit irritating as I prefer to drive in sports mode in city also, and had to engage sports mode everytime I switch off engine at traffic signals. This is clearly an area where the Celerio scores over Tiago, as per my test drive experience. Ride, handling and braking experience
Coming to the ride and handling experience, it is real good. The steering feels light at low speeds, and is excellent to zip around in city traffic. One negative is that it behaves in an odd manner in the initial 30sec or so after engine restart, when it does not come back to centre by itself after turning. Post that it is a real breeze, and it gets optimally harder with speed. No surprises there. Even at high speeds, the car feels very stable and comfortable on highways, and sharp turns can be done at high speeds with ease. Body roll is also good and car does feel in control always. Another mild negative is that the steering does not self centre post quick steering input at high speeds. But this will not be a concern to most drivers, unless they plan to do handling testing on highways. Ride is also very comfy, probably the best in any car in this range, both on rough roads and good highways. Also, I would suggest to maintain adequate tyre pressure always. I personally find it better to keep at 33/31, slightly more at the rear than recomended 33/30. Another small issue is the tyre noise while going at high speeds on not so smooth concrete roads, which you may find once in a while. Otherwise the car does well on good and bad roads alike. Braking is at best decent, without ABS
, in the XTA. The behaviour is not in sync with the push you give on the pedal, and it takes a bit of time to get used to. I would have liked it to be a bit more linear and with a bit more bite, to give me more braking confidence. Features
Coming to the features and interiors, that is another area where I fell in love with the car. The look and feel is in line with some of the more expensive cars, and the quality of music output is supreme even at high levels of 15-20. Haven't tried beyond it though. It has a minor bug though, resetting the song after disengaging reverse gear. The ergonomics of the audio controls is also very good, and the system also stores volume settings for each media input, which is quite useful. One issue is that the MID but the mileage display shows around 10% higher mileage, which is very misleading for someone who relies entirely on that to check mileage. The seats are also very comfortable, especially at the front, although it would have been better with a bit more thigh support. It can easily seat 5 decent sized adults without any discomfort. Storage space is also very generous, including boot space, and you have no reason to complain. One thing I did not quite like was the steering position, as without seat height adjust in XTA, I just cannot find a steering position that is comfortable for long drives. Also, the dashboard has started to rattle in the first month itself, and is an irritant when the music is not playing. But it is quite acceptable when compared to some other popular cars in this class. HVAC
The HVAC system also does a real good job, and so far I never had to set the AC cooling beyond level 2 with 5 people in the car, and level 1 with 2 people. One issue was that the driver side vents threw air at higher temperatures compared to other 3 vents, while at near midway point of temperature knob. But once I got them to do the correction, it seems sorted now. Mileage
Mileage is nothing to excite you in a Tiago. In regular Pune city traffic, I got around 10-11 kmpl, and around 17-18 on the highway. But it has got much to do with the way you drive, as consistent 80kmph driving on highway by my wife gave 22 kmpl approx once, all with AC on at lowest knob position. Plus the car is also heavily built unlike the fragile Celerio, so Iam happy with the mileage I got.
Overall a good buy, except for the buying experience which was decent at best, and for the service experience which takes a lot of your effort. Both sales and service done at Concorde Baner, Pune.