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Tata Tiago JTP and Tigor JTP First Drive Review: A Lesson in Getting it Right

Tata Tiago JTP and Tigor JTP First Drive Review: A Lesson in Getting it Right

There are several cars in the market that promise performance in a budget. The Tata Tiago JTP and the Tigor JTP show how it's done "right".

You are probably here because you like cars and the Tata Tiago JTP and the Tigor JTP have caught your attention. But if I were to ask you the reason as to why you love cars, then chances are that you would say that it is because to drive them, is fun. It is this fun factor that gets people hooked to enjoying these machines on wheels but let’s be honest, with the kind of cars that have been coming out in less than Rs 20 lakh in the Indian market in the past few years have been, well, economical, practical, accessible and so on.

The ‘fun’ part usually comes way down in the list of priorities behind the designing of these cars and in a case where it does take precedence over other factors, it requires you to break the bank and spend a bomb. But all that’s about to change with the onset of these two Tata JTPs and that’s simply because both these cars give the fun factor precedence and don’t ask you to rob a bank. (okay, no more bank references).

Let’s understand why is this the case, step by step.

The Tata Tiago JTP and the Tigor JTP are the performance versions of the existing models. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

First, the looks. The existing Tata Tiago and the Tigor were already one of the best-looking cars in their segment and the JTP versions, somehow, take it even further with the help of ever so subtle changes. From the front, both of these cars look identical to each other. The JTP gets a new bumper which gets a trapezoidal lower grille, large fog lamp housing and the upper half of the grille has also been updated to look sharper. Both of these get smoked projector headlamps with chrome surrounds that goes well with the dark theme going on with the car. And the stand-out feature, really, is the vent on the hood.

The Tata Tiago JTP and the Tigor JTP look identical from the front. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

Moving on to the sides, the cars get new 15-inch alloy wheels that look great and are complemented by the side skirts which gives the car an aggressive stance. The roof has also been blacked-out and the contrasting rear view mirrors give the car some character and it is at the back where these cars start to look different. The Tigor gets clear LED tail lights and the chrome strip from the regular Tigor has been given a gloss black finish, just like the updated rear bumper. The highlight of the rear profile, though, is the dual exhaust which looks the business. But if we had to choose the better-looking car, our pick would be the Tiago as it does a better job at integrating these exhaust with the rear bumper with the help of the diffuser-like design element.

Tata Tigor JTP from the back. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

Moving on to the inside of the car, the cabin has been given contrasting red elements around the air vents and the seats get contrast stitching too. The instrument cluster gets JTP badging but the only difference in terms features between the two is the different set of climate control knobs under the infotainment system. What’s good is that the Tiago JTP has been given a touchscreen infotainment system but unfortunately, it is the system that the pre-facelift Tigor used to come with. And it is there in the Tigor JTP as well. While we love the cabin of both these cars and they are one of the best cabins to be in both in terms of design and build quality, missing out on the latest infotainment system that Tata gives with the facelifted Tigor, is a miss.

The interiors of the Tata Tiago JTP. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

The change, however, that tells you that you are inside the cabin of a performance car are the contact points that the driver has with the car. This includes the steering wheel and the gear knob which feel better to hold thanks to being leather wrapped and the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals are now made of aluminium with rubber mounts and they look great.

All in all, in terms of sheer looks, the JTP siblings stand out of the crowd and steal the limelight on the road.

The Tata JTP siblings steal the limelight when on the road. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

So yes, in terms of design, both the Tata Tiago JTP and the Tigor JTP do a wonderful job of turning heads wherever they go and pulling out compliments from those who enter its cabin. And that’s not really that big of a surprise as model after model, Tata Motors has been upping the game in terms of design.

But you can’t actually call them performance versions of anything until they deliver on just that. And in order to do so, both these cars have more powerful engines on board.

The Tata Tiago JTP and the Tigor JTP engine cover comes with the outlay of Kari Motor Raceway racetrack. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

First and foremost, you see those lines around the JTP badge on the engine cover? Well, that’s the layout of the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore, the race track where these cars were developed, and that’s a fantastic design element.

The engine on board is a 1.2-litre turbocharged engine that makes 150 Nm of torque and 114 horsepower at a drool-worthy 5000 RPM. This comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. And JTSV did not stop at simply increasing the power and calling it a day, thankfully.

They have dropped the ride height, put in wider, higher specification tyres and they say that the new exhaust helps with the performance too. The result is a car that has a change of character post-2000 RPM – from your everyday hatchback to a pocket rocket – and pulls all the way to 5500 RPM. And in every upshift in that RPM range, you are greeted with the pleasant turbo whistle gate sounds. The car feels so planted at high speeds and sharp corners and the driving feedback is so good, that it makes you would feel that the car can take so more power than what it has on board. We threw everything at the cars in city roads, highways and even some twisties, and the car took it all in its stride with grace.

The ride height has been dropped and this with the wider, higher specifications tyres hel in making the cars feel sporty. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

The only difference between the two cars in terms of driving feedback comes due to their difference in their dimensions and weight. The Tiago JTP feels slightly peppy of the two whereas the Tigor JTP is a bit more relaxed in corners.

And when you put these factors together, JTSV has hit the nail on its head when it comes to the big three factors that make a car “fun” – it looks exciting, it goes around corners engaging the smile-clad driver and it sounds good too.

The Tata Tiago JTP and the Tigor JTP offer a fun quotient that's hard to match in their segment. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

And this is where the identity of both these cars is. Don’t think of them as an outright horsepower car that’s making do with just a power bump in the name of performance. These cars are more fun than anything else that you can get in less than, say Rs 15 lakh. And given that the Tata Tiago JTP costs Rs 6.39 lakh and the Tata Tigor JTP costs Rs 7.49 lakh (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi), you will end up saving a lot of money as compared to the more expensive performance cars in the market which you would have had to buy to have this much fun on four wheels. And here’s the thing, spend that saved money on this car, get under its skin, tinker around and take it to the next level as you please. Perhaps, this is how you get a budget performance car 'right'.

And anyway, isn’t that what all the performance car lovers want to do at the end of the day?