The entry-level B-segment is on the rise. At one point in time, this was a pure Maruti Suzuki bastion. But today it faces competition from Tata in the form of the Tiago hatchback. Here it is taking on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Celerio and Wagon R. So far Tata has been able to match its Japanese rivals in terms of offerings in the manual division. However, Maruti is still considered strong in terms of the AT options in this part market and has maintained a major foothold here due to it being the first one to bring in this system to India.
At least this was the case, until Tata introduced an AT option for the Tiago. It was only available on the top-of-the-line XZ model (which we have driven it and you can read our review here) but now they have also introduced a mid-level XTA variant which takes on the two Maruti models in the VXi AMT variants. The arrival of this mid-level variant and its pricing of Rs 3.79 lakhs (ex-Delhi) is clear indication that Tata wants a share of the AT pie.
When you look at the facts, Tata seems to have hit a good spot. Its aim to bring the mid-level AT option at a lower entry-point means it undercuts the Celerio by Rs 2000 and the Wagon R in the equivalent variant by Rs 4000. In this part of the market these are good numbers as the margins are quite small.
Coming into the numbers game, the Tiago is longer, wider, has a higher ground clearance as well as a bigger boot than both the Celerio and the Wagon R. In the case of the latter it is a full 60-litre more. They are evenly matched on wheelbase too, but the Wagon R, by virtue of being a tall boy, comes out on top with regard to headroom.
However, the biggest step up that the Tiago has is that it is powered by a larger engine as compared to the Celerio and the Wagon R. The Suzukis both get a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine producing 67bhp/90Nm whereas the Tiago gets a 1.2-litre three-pot producing 84bhp/114Nm of torque. But the Tiago is heavier and tips the scales a full 202kgs and 110kgs more than the Celerio and Wagon R respectively.
You also get more on the option list with regard to the Tiago including parking sensors, fully instrument cluster with digital trip computer and a 2-DIN music system with Bluetooth connectivity. However, you only get a driver’s side airbag in the Tiago while the safety options in the Maruti’s cars are a quite bit more. Add Rs 20,000 to price of the Celerio and you get front airbags as well as ABS while in the Wagon R you have to add Rs 30,000 to get the same. These are significant numbers but then there can never be a price on safety.
What we have then is a good start from Tata with regards to its volumes game, but to really match Maruti Suzuki, it would need to work on sales and service network. However, this is an area where Maruti Suzuki already ranges far ahead of the game.