Automatic transmission cars are becoming a popular choice among buyers in the entry-level segment. Once it was the forte of a much higher price bracket. But today, with growing traffic woes and a road system unable to cope with the demand, having someone else doing the shifting for you seems like a boon.
That’s where the Tata Tigor in this AMT (automated manual transmission) guise comes in. It’s a two pedal version of the Indian automaker’s entry-level compact sedan and was launched here in November 2017. You can have it either in the mid-level XTA trim or the top spec XZA which is what we have driven in the review.
In terms of external appearance, there are no changes to the looks of the Tata Tigor in this AMT guise. The face is dominated by the large black grille and smoked headlamps while in profile, the car continues with the notchback or ‘Styleback’ design as Tata has termed it.
It looks particularly European in its appearance thanks to the bright colour schemes and design of the alloy wheels. In fact, this is one of those few cars that has managed to overcome the awkwardness of the compact sedan philosophy thanks to the rear roofline.
The rear gets a nice chrome strip above the number plate holder and a black insert in the bumper which contrasts well with the rest of the rear design. The automatic spec badging is visible at the rear and externally this is the only sign that this car is a two-pedal model.
he minimal change theme has been carried over to the interior too. You get the same layout, two-tone colour scheme, elements and space inside the cabin of the Tigor AMT as compared to its manual counterpart.
The AMT spec XZA model gets a modified gear lever and a revised instrument cluster as a part of the changes. The gear lever has been covered in black fabric and been given a chrome bezel to match the chrome laden base. The dials get big displays while the upper-most section of the trip computer’s display now accommodates the gear readout.
Powering the Tata Tigor AMT is the Indian automaker’s 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit. It produces 84bhp/140Nm with power going to the front wheels via a five-speed AMT setup. This is the same box used in the Tiago AMT and its arrival in the Tigor seems like the next logical step and is pretty much at the heart of what is going on here.
After driving the Tiago AMT, this definitely feels like an improvement as harshness and vibrations have reduced. The rocking movement associated with budget AMTs has reduced quite a bit but you do still feel some jerkiness when you get off the line.
There are two driving modes on offer with the Tigor AMT- City and Sport which alter the response of the throttle and gearbox accordingly. In City mode, the shifts take place at a lower RPM and it’s designed in such a way that you are always in the meat of the torque band. Go in a for a quick overtake and since it’s a mode that favours efficiency over performance, the shifts feel slow and there is significant delay between you mashing the throttle, gears dropping and the engine spinning up to give you some punch.
Things improve in the sport mode as the gearbox allows you to hold the revs for a longer period and build up more steam as required. However, once you hit redline the system automatically upshifts to the next gear. Revving the engine hard produces a nice little note and can be a nice little thing to egg you on when you want to up the pace.
There’s a creep function which allows the car to inch along at slow speeds and is a useful tool for bumper-to-bumper traffic as well as a manual mode for when you want to control the shifts yourself and induce engine braking for stopping better.
In terms of ride and handling, nothing has changed from the manual variants of the compact sedan. The Tigor’s slightly stiff setup performs admirably over bad roads and will take most potholes and imperfections without unsettling the car. It’s got lovely straight line stability and out on the highway, it can eat away the kilometres without struggling too much. In the spirit of bring a mildly powered front wheel drive car, it will understeer when you hit the limits of grip and it is best if you glide the car from turn to turn rather than forcing it to go through the corners.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||84@ 6000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||114 @ 3500|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||35|
|Tyre size||175/ 60 R15|
|2-DIN music system||Yes|
|2 Drive modes||Yes|
|All black interiors||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||82 @ 6000||84@ 6000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||113 @ 4200||114 @ 3500|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||37||35|
|Tyre size||165/80 R14||175/ 60 R15|
The Tata Tigor AMT is available in two variants- XZA and XTA - and they are priced (at the time of writing this review) at Rs 6.47 lakhs and Rs 5.87 lakhs (Ex-showroom Delhi) respectively. The Tigor as a product is a unique offering as there are currently no other compact sedans or for that matter automatic sedans in this part of the market. It’s quite good looking and with its unique styling, it will standout out in the crowd. That being said, there are issues with plastic quality as well as lack of features like a touchscreen system as well as climate control and for a car that is priced at Rs 7.40 lakhs (on-road Delhi) it will make buyers think twice.
Photographs: Kapil Angane