Tata’s big guns are out for the electric vehicle segment. After bringing in an electric SUV and an electric sedan, the brand has completed its portfolio by bringing an electric hatchback too. Tata announced the prices of the Tiago Ev sometime back and we also saw the hatchback in its full glory. But this is the first time that we are getting to drive the budget electric hatchback. What do we think about it? You can watch it in the video or read the text review.
Looks the same, almost
Tata has not changed much in the electrified Tiago. Since it is based on the ICE version of the car, you get a similar-looking electric version too. There are a few differentiating factors like the .EV badges all around and of course, the signature blue highlights on the outside. Tata has closed off the grille of the Tiago EV and has also introduced a new Tri-arrow design in the lower part of the bumper.
Also read: Tata Motors releases new TVC for Tiago NRG
You also get different-looking 14-inch wheels that will look like alloys at first glance. However, these are steel rims with cleverly fitted covers. There is a 3mm difference in the ground clearance. The Tiago EV gets an unloaded ground clearance of 165mm, which does not change the behaviour of the car in any way.
Lots of new gadgets
The cabin gets a new dual-tone theme. While I am all in for a light-shade cabin, it is a harrowing experience to maintain even the beige cabins in the dusty environments of India. It will definitely require some extra effort to keep the cabin of the Tata Tiago EV squeaky clean.
The dashboard looks familiar, it gets hard plastic but until you touch the dashboard, the texture does not give out that it is hard plastic. There are several changes as well including new buttons on the steering wheel, a new instrument cluster, a rotary knob and a few additional features like the cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.
The Tiago EV also offers a telematics system across all the variants. It can be accessed by a smartphone app and we found it quite useful. We will talk about it later and if you want to see a live demo, we have included that in the video.
Driving it around
The size of the Tata Tiago is perfect for any kind of city road traffic. We drove the Tiago EV around Goa on a mix of highways and city roads and were reinforced with the idea of its perfect size. There is a rotary dial that you can use to put the car to drive mode. There is a sport mode as well.
We started off with a 99% charge according to the display on the narrow Goan roads. There are two variants of the Tata Tiago EV – a mid-range variant with a 19.2 kWh battery pack and the larger one with a 24 kWh battery pack. We drove the one with the larger battery pack.
With 114 Nm of peak torque and 55 kW of power, which translates into about 74 PS, the Tiago EV feels like a breeze. It tackled the uphills perfectly and even got onto the flyovers without any problem. The twisted Goan roads gave way to the open highways where we used the cruise control for the first time in a Tiago. It works as advertised, and keeps the car running at a steady, pre-selected speed until you hit the brake pedal.
But on the twisted narrow roads, the Tiago EV drives better than the ICE-cousin. That’s because the centre of gravity has changed. With the heavy battery packs now positioned closer to the floor of the Tata Tiago EV, it is much more fun to take the corners at high speeds. You’re also definitely more confident on the corners as well.
Keeping a light foot, we saw that the Tiago EV was returning around 2 km per percent on charge on the Goan roads. As the sun came up, we turned on the AC, which caused the mileage to drop but not so significantly.
There are three regeneration modes in the Tata Tiago EV, which can be adjusted through buttons under the infotainment system. The regen really starts working below 80% of the charge. Since high charge in li-ion batteries can reduce their life, Tata decided to make the regen work when the charge reaches below 80%. It works quite well though. On the highways, we were driving on the 1st Regen setting, which offers the least amount of braking. After leaving the highway, we turned it to the third set, which is the highest level. In both cases, we were doing single-pedal driving most of the time. The brake lamps work with all three regen modes. As soon as you lift off the foot from the accelerator, the brake lamp glows up.
Tata also offers hill descent and hill hold control. While we could not find a long enough stretch to test the hill descent feature, we did check the hill hold and it works well. The car scrolls back by a tiny bit before going forward again on the uphills.
We did a 0-100 km/h timing in the normal and the sport mode. You can get the timings in the video. The Tiago EV becomes a different animal in the sport mode and is at least three times quicker. It also uses the battery three times quicker in sports mode.
Ample space inside
Tata has packed the batteries quite impressively in the Tiago EV. It is a split battery setup and one part goes under the seat where the fuel tank used to be. The other part goes in the boot. This ensures that the floor of the Tiago EV is not compromised. The floor height remains the same, which does not put the rear passengers in an awkward position. Have to give it to Tata for packing the batteries like this.
Tata offers the ZConnect app with the Tiago EV across all the variants. You can download it on your smartphone to control the vehicle’s lock, air conditioning and a plethora of other features like the horn and lights. The ZConnect also shows the status of the vehicle including how much charge it has now and how much range it still has in it. You can also locate the car and chargers on the same app. It sure is a little handy app that will be quite useful for the owners.
What did it miss?
The car still uses halogen lamps all around. Even though the cabin lamps are all LED, the exterior lighting is taken care of by halogen bulbs, which could have been LED lamps as well. Also, the rotary dial to select the modes is free moving and does not lock. With the dim backlit on the dial, it becomes quite difficult to figure out the exact mode engaged under sunny conditions.
Should you buy it?
Starting at Rs 8.5 lakh, the Tata Tiago EV can become the stepping stone for electric car buyers. It is a perfect city car and with the rising number of charging stations on the highways, it can be a weekend getaway car on certain routes too. We got around 220 km of range on a full charge with the bigger battery pack. It is more or less likely to be the same in different conditions. So if you’re looking for a small car for your daily office journeys and to save some money on fuel, the Tata Tiago EV is the way to go.
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