Why I would buy it?
- CNG cheaper to run
- Extended driving range
Why I would avoid it?
- Long queues for CNG filling
- Reduced boot space
Engine and Performance
The Tigor CNG is powered by the brand's proven 1.2-litre three-cylinder, Revotron petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. While the petrol version is rated at 84bhp and 114Nm of torque, the CNG version is tuned to produce 72bhp and 95Nm of torque. On paper, it is less powerful, but before you label it as underpowered, we'll tell you how it's in our day-to-day driving conditions.
First, most CNG-fitted cars have to be started in petrol mode. But this one can be directly started in the CNG mode. At the touch of a button, you do have the option of switching from petrol to CNG and vice-versa. It also has an in-built feature to automatically switch to the other fuel if one goes low. And a single advanced ECU is being used for quicker response and faster change of fuel. Tata Motors also claims the CNG alone can add up to 300km of range. The ARAI-claimed economy is 26.49 km/kg. Now, this will vary according to the driving conditions. Yet, it will add to the overall range. Moreover, the focus is on affordability especially with the constant fuel price hikes. The CNG version will most definitely be more economical option than petrol or diesel.
The car still remains silent, gets off the line easily, and makes steady progress. In fact, I even tried it on an up-slope and it had no issue in climbing. It doesn't have a strong bottom-end, but thankfully the power delivery feels linear and even the throttle response never felt abrupt. Yes, the lack of abundant torque makes you shift gears more often. The throws are not short but the good thing is that the clutch is light, and the gears slot in nicely. Overall, it does its job effectively in cities, where it will run mostly. For its performance in ghats and with more people aboard, we'll ascertain that when it comes to us for a road test. We'll also get to know about its real-world fuel economy through our city and highway runs then.
Ride and Handling
The ground clearance of this version when unladen is 165mm. Tata Motors has also retuned the suspension to account for the additional weight of the CNG kit. It still does ride well like its petrol derivative absorbing kickbacks from broken roads and potholes. It cleared all speed-breakers without any hassle and all kinds of undulations we faced on our short stint with it. Well, the steering was never meant for sporty driving and this one too has slack at the dead centre position. Still, it's light and makes the car easy to drive, one of the key points for a city car like this. The front-disc rear-drum set-up works well, with a good progressive pedal feel too.
On the outside, there's no particular change to report about, apart from the addition of new red colour and small badges to differentiate it from the standard car. Still, if you notice closely, this one rides on 14-inch steel wheels with wheel covers. On the other hand, the top-spec petrol version gets 15-inch alloys.
Comfort, convenience and features
Now, the interior layout, as you must have seen, is the same as the petrol version. The visual changes are in terms of colour, the addition of the CNG switch, and an indication on the instrument cluster. Tata Motors has used a black and beige theme with new upholstery. No there's no leather, or soft-touch elements as such, and the seats continue to be adorned in fabric but in a new pattern. The dashboard layout and buttons placement are unchanged again, with everything quite handy including storage and stowage slots. Then, the infotainment system with Harman speakers is a fairly nice setup for one's entertainment. And of course, it's compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Lest we forget, apart from the long list of features retained from the petrol version, this new top-spec XZ+ trim also gets automatic projector headlamps and rain-sensing wipers. Also, there's no compromise on safety and stainless steel has been used for leak proofing and for preventing rusting and corrosion of the tank. Other safety features like dual airbags, ABS, EBD, corner stability control, and many more are standard fitment.
Even in the second row, there are no alterations to house the CNG kit or anything. The backrest angle is the same, knee-room, headroom, and comfort remains unaffected. This also means the seats are quite comfortable for two occupants and the rear bench can accommodate another person if needed. It doesn't feel claustrophobic here and occupants will like to be here whether they're running errands, are on a short excursion, or even on a long trip. However, with the incorporation of the CNG kit here, the boot space has been affected. But since this is a sedan, the good thing is you still have space to put in some of your bags.
The Tigor's design, performance, safety, and technology is well-appreciated in our market. Now, Tata Motors has built on these strengths for the development of this CNG version. We believe the biggest advantage of getting a company-fitted CNG kit over a retro-fitted one is that the manufacturer and its authorised dealers take care of its service. You don't need to run to a different service provider for the CNG service and validation.
To give you an in-depth idea of pricing, here's a variant-wise break-up. The Tigor's CNG version starts at Rs 7.69 lakh for the entry-level XZ variant, while the top-spec dual-tone XZ+ version costs Rs 8.41 lakh. So, the Tigor has three variants while the Tiago gets five variants starting with the base XE for Rs 6.09 lakh. Its top-spec CNG version is the XZ+ dual-tone trim priced at Rs 7.64 lakh (all prices are ex-showroom). So, the price bracket ascertains that the Tigor is a reasonably priced compact sedan. Its base version is similarly priced to its only rival, the Hyundai Aura, wherein CNG isn't offered in its top-spec model. On the other hand, the Tigor is offered in more variants and with more features. Now, that's one differentiating factor that should attract more buyers.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi