2022 Tata Tiago EV First Drive Review
Tata Tiago EV: First Drive Impressions

Can the Tiago EV reach the same success as its ICE-powered sibling?

The Tata Tiago EV will most likely be the first EV for most buyers once it is more readily available. It is the most affordable EV from a mainstream manufacturer and Tata has gone to some serious lengths to deliver a product that doesn’t seem to make any compromises, at least on paper. We got our hands on the Tata Tiago EV and put it to the test in a variety of road conditions in Goa.  



The Tata Tiago EV, as you’d guess from the name, is based on the Tata Tiago platform with an electric drivetrain, of course. And Tata has made no effort to hide that fact. That is understandable. Carmakers do tend to go overboard trying to differentiate their EVs and it doesn’t always result in an objectively good-looking car. The Tiago, to begin with, is a very good-looking hatchback. It has a very approachable face, perfect proportions and a clean overall silhouette. Tata has not fiddled with what was a good design. Instead, they have added a few elements so that the Tiago EV stands out from its ICE sibling. There is the EV badging on the front, the sides and back, a blacked-out grille and a light blue bar running below the grille. On the side, there are distinctive looking covers on the 14-inch wheels. Then there’s the three exterior paint options that aren’t offered with the regular Tiago. These changes, in my opinion, do enough to distinguish the EV from its ICE sibling. 



The blue accents are carried in to the cabin as well. On the top-spec variant that we were driving, there is leatherette upholstery with Tata’s tri-arrow pattern. The cabin is very similar to the one in the regular Tiago with a few key differences. The gear lever has of course been omitted and in its place is the rotary dial for the drive selector. There is a 7-inch Harman touchscreen infotainment display (with an 8-speaker sound system) with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and an instrument cluster that’s shared with the Tigor EV. There are regen controls (with four levels) right below the infotainment display. On the features front, Tata has not skimped out on anything. There’s auto headlamps, rain sensing wipers, climate control and even cruise control. And there’s Tata’s ZConnect connected car tech which brings a lot of remote functionality as well as detailed telematics and drive analysis data to the table. 



When it comes to quality, both materials and fit/finish are par for the course in the price range. The seats themselves are comfortable with decent support and ergonomics for the front passengers, especially the driver, are spot on. In the back, space is adequate, but there isn’t a lot of shoulder room especially when you seat three abreast. Interestingly, Tata has managed to ensure that boot space is the same as in the ICE counterpart. But there is no spare wheel now as the battery takes up the space below the boot. Instead you get a puncture repair kit. 


As we got going, a few things stood out almost immediately. First, the Tata Tiago’s motor doesn’t feel sluggish or underpowered, especially when using it in the city as most buyers would. Second, the ride/handling balance is unlike anything else in the price range. 



We were driving the Long Range variant with a 24kWh battery with 74PS of power and 114Nm of torque. 0-60kmph takes 5.7 seconds and I have no reason to question that number. Responses were dulled in City mode but as soon as you switched to Sport there was a massive difference in how the car would react to throttle inputs. The Tiago EV seemed eager to move and I was able to use the power at hand to make light work of some slow moving Goa traffic. Progress is quick till 80kmph and then it does taper off. But given the role that the Tiago EV would be deployed for (a city runabout), performance is more than adequate. At non-highway speeds, you can drive briskly in the Tata Tiago EV and the brakes too offer good bite and some feedback (which is not always the case in EVs). In fact, the progression from regenerative braking to regular braking feels very natural and that inspires a lot of confidence. On the whole, the regen levels and the associated braking has been calibrated incredibly well. There are four levels (0,1,2,3) and it is easy to find a level that works for your driving style. Retardation is strongest in level 3 and I was able to keep up with the ebbs and flows of a mix of city and highway driving with very little use of the brake pedal.  



Another highlight of the Tiago EV is its exceptional ride quality, something that has been and continues to be, a Tata hallmark. The Tiago EV cushions you from the worst of the bumps and is very comfortable over bad sections of the road, something that a lot of hatchbacks just aren’t. There is a slight firmness to the ride but the damping is such that there is no hard edge and you only feel some of the really large bumps inside the cabin. It isn’t just that the Tiago EV has a comfortable ride, it has a comfortable ride while remaining composed. It has good high-speed manners (the lower battery must have helped) along with predictable handling with a slightly vague but well weighted steering wheel. There is some amount of body roll but it is largely kept in check. The ride and handling balance make the Tiago EV a pleasure to drive just like the other Tata EVs.  



After a few hours behind the wheel, it was time to take stock of the day. After 120km or so of very spirited driving and a couple of hours of idling, we still had around 20 per cent battery left. Mind you, this was after a number of sprints to three figures and some very thorough testing. Most owners, as an engineer pointed out, wouldn’t be subjecting their EVs to the same treatment. For most people, I’d expect the range to be in the 160-180km region and that is more than enough for what the Tiago EV will be used for.  


With adequate performance, good looks, a great ride and handling balance and a number of features, the Tata Tiago EV makes a strong case for itself especially when you consider that there is no other carmaker that is making a proposition like this. For the price (the car we tested, the XZ+ Tech LUX, was Rs. 11.79 lakh ex-showroom), there is just nothing else that even comes close to what the Tiago EV offers and that in itself is a huge deal, quite possibly the argument that draws a large number of people towards electric cars.  


Image credits: Tata Motors 

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