Tata Motors first showcased the performance-oriented models of its Tiago hatchback and Tigor compact sedan at the Auto Expo earlier this year. Developed by JT Special Vehicles (JTSV) – a 50:50 joint venture between Tata Motors and Jayem Automotives – the JTP Tigor and JTP Tiago models have now been launched with the JTP (Jayem Tata Performance) moniker. They remain rather identical to the concepts displayed at the Auto Expo, which is a good thing.
The JTSV products are said to be based on three major pillars, and each product will be an evolution on these three aspects over the base vehicle. These three pillars stand out for enhanced engine output and performance; sporty exterior and interior design; and improved driving dynamics and aural experience. Auto Tech Review was invited by the company to drive the JTP Tigor and Tiago cars from Coimbatore to Ooty. Here’s a technology showcase on how the cars fared on the three aforementioned pillars as well as the other key highlights of Tata’s performance sub-brand.
Let’s begin with the most important aspect of the JTP vehicles, which is the first pillar of evolution that the base vehicles are based on – engine performance. Both cars are powered by the same 1,199 cc, three-cylinder, turbocharged Revotron petrol engine that is currently offered in the Nexon compact SUV but in a different state of tune. The petrol power plant develops a maximum power of 112 hp at 5,000 rpm, along with a peak torque of 150 Nm from 2,000-4,000 rpm. The power rating has been increased by 34 %, while the torque displaced is 33 % higher than the petrol models it is based on. The engine is paired with the same five-speed manual transmission found in the regular Tata Tiago and Tigor models, but with a sporty gear and final drive ratio.
The JTP cars are offered with two driving modes – City and Sport – with the former being the default mode. The regular Tigor and Tiago models come with City and Eco driving modes, but since the JTP models are performance-oriented the Eco mode has been replaced with the Sport driving mode. JTP has made various developments on the engine, in terms of optimised fuel map setting, tuned valve timing, specially-designed air intake system, characteristic engine calibration and sporty exhaust system. The JTP Tigor and Tiago come equipped with a twin-barrel exhaust that has been enhanced to offer an accentuated aural note.
The engine in the JTP Tigor and Tiago cars is a well-tuned unit, with the ability to rev up to a maximum level of about 5,600 rpm. With the peak power coming in at 5,000 rpm, this is a happy-revving engine that provides good feedback as the accelerator pedal is floored. The gear ratios are also tuned keeping in mind that customers of these cars would want to push their cars in each gear longer than usual. The gears are long-footed, allowing you to rev up to the limiter in each gear without any discomfort.
The gearbox is a slick unit that slots every gear into place without any issues and is complemented by the clutch. The company said the clutch has been modified and calibrated in line with the engine, specifically in order to be able to perform along with the increased power and torque.
In terms of the engine’s aural experience, the cars feature a distinct tone that is characteristic of three-cylinder units. However, the exhaust system, with the double barrel end-can has also been enhanced to provide an additional sporty tone. While inside the car and revving hard it is the engine sound that is more prevalent than the exhaust note, but in the exterior, the exhaust provides a nice subtle sound rather than a throaty one.
DRIVING DYNAMICS, SAFETY
The cars come with independent front suspension along with a lower wishbone and McPherson (dual path) struts. Meanwhile, the rear suspension consists of a twist beam with coil spring mounted on hydraulic shock absorbers. JTP has tuned the suspension on the Tigor and Tiago to be slightly firmer than their regular siblings, with lowered ride height for a planted stance. However, even with these alternations the cars offer a supple ride that soaks up bumps and undulations well. One can experience the sporty tuning of the suspension when the cars are pushed into corners while driving enthusiastically, which the cars perform without any drama. The suspension has been set-up just right to offer a balance of smooth ride, with sporty handling and control when needed.
The larger 15-inch diamond cut dual-tone 6.5J alloy wheels that house wider 185/65 section tyres further improves road grip. The brake set-up, which consists of discs in front and drums at the rear perform well, especially with the integration of wider tyres that are provided. The JTP cars feature an electric power-assisted steering system, which is precise to changes, and provides decent feedback to the driver.
JTP continues to offer safety features that are found in the Tata Tigor and Tiago models, including a safety-oriented body design with a structurally-rigid, energy absorbing architecture. Other equipment includes dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and corner stability control, and rear parking sensors. In addition, the JTP Tigor is offered with rear park assist with rear view camera and ultrasonic sensor for ease in reversing.
EXTERIORS & INTERIORS
The main changes to the exterior of the JTP Tigor and Tiago come in the form of newly-designed 15-inch dual-tone alloy wheels, side skirts, aggressive front bumper with large trapezoidal lower grill and restyled rear bumpers. Other exterior features include projector lamps with chrome rings, intake vents on bonnet and fenders, and dual-tone exterior with glossy black roof and contrast-coloured outside rear view mirrors. The JTP Tigor is fitted with crystal-inspired LED tail lamps that are also found in the latest-generation Tata Tigor.
Meanwhile, the JTP cars feature all-black interiors with red accents on the AC vents, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with contrast red stitching. The JTP Tigor and Tiago also feature performance-oriented aluminium pedal extensions with rubber inserts for grip that are well-designed. The seat fabric is unique, with red hexagonal motif and red double stitching on seats and gear shift gaiter.
All other interior features of the JTP Tigor and Tiago cars are identical to their Tata counterparts, expect for the ‘JTP’ logo inside the instrument cluster. The cars are offered with tilt-adjustable steering with mounted controls, without the option of adjustment for reach. The cars also come equipped with a 5-inch ConnectNext touchscreen infotainment system by Harman that offers 3D navigation, and features eight speakers for surround sound experience.
The Tiago JTP and Tigor JTP have been launched at starting prices of ` 6.39 lakh and ` 7.49 lakh, ex-showroom New Delhi, respectively.
TEXT & PHOTO: Naveen Arul