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      Tata Altroz CNG First Drive Review

      Bilal Ahmed Firfiray

      Bilal Ahmed Firfiray

      Why would I buy it?

      • Boot space despite CNG tank
      • Long feature list

      Why would I avoid it?

      • Not peppy to drive

      Performance Drive

      Tata Altroz Right Front Three Quarter

      Powering the Altroz CNG is the same 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine. Its power figure is down by around 15bhp when in CNG from 88bhp to 72bhp. And torque figures have come down from 115 to 103Nm which is still more than what Glanza/Baleno offers. As we had experienced in the Tiago and the Tigor CNG, the engine feels slightly noisier in the CNG mode and has little less vibration when driven in the petrol mode. 

      Tata Altroz Right Rear Three Quarter

      But apart from these two distinctions, there’s barely any way to put a finger on the difference between the CNG and petrol modes. Under everyday driving conditions, it feels easy and comfortable to use. You can comfortably potter around at city speeds and even if you are in a gear too high, the engine has enough low-end grunt to pull through without stuttering. You will have to plan your overtake every time. But driving in a progressive manner, the Altroz CNG can cruise at highway speeds without any issues. 

      Tata Altroz Right Side View

      Even uphill climbs in the CNG mode didn’t disappoint. Only in the steepest section did we have to shift down from second gear to third otherwise, the low-end grunt of the three-cylinder was impressive. We even drove the Altroz CNG with five people on board and it didn’t disappoint with its everyday usability. It might not be an easy sailing but the Altroz CNG manages to do everything well that is expected of it. 

      Ride and Handling

      Tata Altroz Right Side View

      Now Tata claims to have reworked the suspension to accommodate the additional weight of the cylinders. With 100kgs of additional weight to lug around, the springs and dampers have been stiffened, but there’s barely any noticeable difference over the standard Altroz. At slow speeds, the suspension working is more heard than felt. But take it over bad road surfaces and the Altroz CNG shows composure. It manages to go flat over small irregularities and as speed increases, the ride remains well absorbent. 

      Tata Altroz Right Rear Three Quarter

      As for the steering, it remains direct and predictable. It’s also linear so when you want to go around the corner, you know exactly where the wheels are turning in. It’s not a quick steering, but if you do want to drive it enthusiastically, the Altroz is already designed to induce a nice feel and the same remains true with the CNG model. 


      Tata Altroz Right Front Three Quarter

      There’s no noticeable difference when it comes to the Altroz CNG over the standard one, except for the iCNG badge on the boot. With the CNG Altroz, Tata is offering four monotone colours including the Opera Blue seen in the pictures here. There are also dual-tone options such as white, red and blue which get blacked-out roofs. There’s no Dark Edition for the CNG yet, but it won’t be difficult for Tata to offer it at a later date.

      Comfort, convenience and features

      Tata Altroz Dashboard

      On the inside, the Altroz CNG debuts a sunroof for the Altroz line-up. And the icing on the cake is that this sunroof is voice assisted as well. It takes some time to operate, but it works fine, even with one of the six regional languages Tata is offering with its new infotainment system. Other modern features you get here include a wireless charging pad and an inbuilt air purifier. The Altroz was already a feature-loaded hatchback offering everything the segment has to offer. With this update, the Altroz CNG has taken things up a notch. 

      Tata Altroz Bootspace

      Tata has used two smaller 30kg tanks, instead of one big 60kg tank for CNG here. So you still get practical CNG affordability without compromising on the boot space. Well, there is, but a slight compromise. The boot space here is 210 litres as compared to the 345litres you get in the standard car. It can accommodate two cabin-sized suitcases with ease but nothing more than that.

      Tata Altroz Bootspace

      Now this being an iCNG, Tata’s factory-fitted technology allows you to start the engine in the CNG mode itself. So even if you are stuck with low petrol in the tank, you don't have to worry. Just crank up the engine in CNG mode and you are good to go. As for safety, there is a micro-switch that turns off the engine when the fuel filler cap is open and won’t allow the engine to start as long as it’s open. And the fire extinguisher is placed underneath the driver's seat which is a mandate for CNG cars. And lastly, despite offering a boot space and placing the cylinders where the spare wheel should be, there's still a spare wheel provided in the Altroz CNG. We assumed Tata might provide a tyre inflator kit and be done with it. But no, there is a spare wheel placed underneath the boot and can be accessed through a winch like you used to have in the older Safari


      Tata Altroz Front View

      Tata is offering six variants for the Altroz CNG - pricing starts at 7.55 lakh rupees and goes up to 10.55 lakh rupees ex-showroom. Compared to the standard pure-petrol version, the CNG version is around Rs 95,000 to Rs 1 lakh more expensive. 

      Tata Altroz Left Side View

      Amongst the Altroz’s usual competition, the Baleno and Glanza, which are basically siblings - they both offer factory-fitted CNG, but only in two of their four trims. The Altroz CNG here has six variants on offer. And the pricing of Altroz CNG also undercuts the pricing of the pair. So there’s an Altroz CNG variant for every budget and requirement. 

      Tata Altroz Rear View

      As for the fitness to purpose, the Altroz iCNG does everything right. It's easy to drive and would be easy on your pocket like any other CNG car. And it is feature loaded as well. So it is hard not to recommend the Tata Altroz CNG to those looking to buy a practical, spacious and easy-to-drive CNG car.

      Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi

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