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Tata Tiago trains guns on Maruti Celerio, Hyundai i10

  Tata Motors on Wednesday launched the Tiago at Rs 3.39 lakh for the petrol model (ex-showroom, Mumbai), making it the most affordable compact hatchback in its class.

The Tiago (formerly named Zica) will compete with the Hyundai i10, Maruti Celerio, Maruti WagonR, and Chevrolet Beat, to name a few.

The diesel variant, at Rs 4.18 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), is also cheapest in the segment. While the Celerio and Beat come with a diesel option, the i10 and WagonR do not have this option.

The petrol engine is a new ground-up naturally aspirated three-cylinder engine generating peak power of 85ps. This is the first new engine from the gasoline family of Tata Motors, claiming 23.84 km per litre (kmpl) according to Automotive Research Association of India tests.

The diesel version carries the smallest engine developed by Tata Motors for passenger application, a one-litre three-cylinder, turbo-charged mill that develops peak power of 70ps. This version has claim of 27.28 kmpl, making it one of the most fuel-efficient diesel cars in India.  Promoted by ace footballer Lionel Messi, the Tiago is built on an all-new platform and will fill the product gap between the Nano and the Bolt, even as the ageing Indica is now increasingly pushed for commercial usage.

The car, which will have five variants each of both petrol and diesel, has a lot banking on it. In the past financial year, Tata Motors clocked passenger vehicle volume of 126,534 units, a six per cent drop from 2014-15. Sales were impacted by heightened competition from Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Mahindra & Mahindra.

Tata Tiago trains guns on Maruti Celerio, Hyundai i10 Tata hopes to revive fortunes with the Tiago, riding high on youth demand. The company has armed the hatchback with features such as bottle holders on all doors, iPad/tablet-holding tray inside the glove compartment, hands-free telephony above the driver’s head, and new fabric for upholstery.

The Harman-developed, Tata Motors-funded entertainment system in the car is its biggest draw. With eight speakers (a first in the segment), the compact hatchback is made to appeal to music-loving youth. The Tiago has a multi-drive mode - City and Eco, a feature also seen on the Zest sedan, though it has one more drive option called Sport. The two-drive modes, not seen on rivals, are supported by an engine management system.

Tiago is the first car to flaunt the new Impact design philosophy of Tata Motors, which, according to Guenter Butschek, the new managing director of Tata Motors, will become a regular feature on future line-up. The car is developed with inputs from Pune, UK and Italy design studios.

The Tata Motors team spent three years in developing the car. It was originally slotted for a commercial launch in January, just before the Auto Expo. While the car was showcased at the Expo, it was not commercially launched.

To cash in on the demand for automatic transmission, Tata Motors will be offering the automated manual transmission (AMT) technology on the Tiago in later months. The Zest and Nano already have the AMT option.

The Tiago will be the third all-new product launch by Tata Motors in 20 months, Zest and Bolt being the other two products. In the last financial year, the company launched the updated Nano called GenX Nano with a host of new features, new styling and an added AMT variant.