Adding a performance-oriented version to the standard passenger cars are nothing new. We have already seen how Volkswagen brought the Polo GT, a more powerful form of the hatch. And of course, this, being open to almost all the other automobile makers across the country, would encourage everyone to work on the same.
Tata Motors has been working on a sportier version of the Tiago hatchback since 2016 and the car has now been unveiled at the Auto Expo 2018. Named as the Tata Tiago JTP (Jayem-Tata Performance), the performance-based car will be a fun-to-drive version with a turbo engine under the hood.
That said, let’s not forget the sportier version of Maruti Suzuki Baleno, the Baleno RS. In fact, the car has a distinction of being the first car to be given the 1.0-litre BoosterJet (turbocharged) engine in India.
So, here is how the two cars, Tata Tiago JTP and Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS, are expected to perform against each other once the former is launched officially.
Exterior & Colours
The Tata Tiago JTP will look distinctively different than the standard version. The front section gets the same sweptback headlamps but with a blacked-out treatment on them. The airdams down below, on the bumper, are chunkier and are accompanied by a set of bold fog lamps. The ORVMs are wrapped under a red skin. Getting down at the rear, you will see an attractive new double-exhaust tip.
Similarly, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS is slightly different than the regular Baleno. The differences include a sharper profile all around, extended airdams on the front bumper and chunkier fog lamps. The alloy wheels get the black treatment as well. At the rear, there is a sharper-looking bumper with a bigger skid plate with a generous amount of black cladding.
Interior & Features
The interior of the new Tata Tiago JTP has an all-back colour scheme. The seats are lower than the standard model in order to inject the sporty feel. The seats (and steering wheel) are wrapped in rich leather with contrasting red stitches. The pedals down below are of aluminium too. Plus, the company has upgraded the infotainment display to a touchscreen system along with the addition of an eight-speaker set sourced from Harman.
On the other hand, Maruti Suzuki hasn’t designed the Baleno RS very differently than the standard model when it comes to the interior. There are no such differences to the SmartPlay infotainment system or the all-black theme. However, the menus on the MID are different.
Engine, Transmission & Mileage
The Tata Tiago JTP would be powered by the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine that is borrowed from the Nexon crossover. The turbocharged engine would be capable of making a maximum power of 110 bhp along with a peak torque of 150 Nm. The same 5-speed transmission system would persist but with better gear ratios. The mileage would be similar or marginally higher than the Nexon.
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS has a sporty turbocharged engine too, albeit less powerful than the Tata. The 1.0-litre BoosterJet engine makes a power of 101 bhp and 150 Nm torque. Plus, it’s good to have a 5-speed manual unit on a powerful car like this one. But then, it has a mileage of just around 20 kmpl due to the absence of the naturally-aspirated engine.
The standard versions of both the cars have been doing well in the domestic circuit. That said, the Baleno RS hasn’t performed the way the company would have expected it to. On the other hand, the Tata Tiago JTP could turn out be a bigger hit because the number of differences over the standard model is higher, which gives the buyers a reason to buy it.
Exactly the reason which could have stopped the Baleno RS to be a best-seller. The RS is looks like nothing new except the sportier engine. Buyers would need to look keenly to spot the differences. So for me, the Tata Tiago performance car is the winner here.