With rising fuel prices there is a need for an alternate fuel powered vehicle that would be cheap to run and at the same time would also not lose out on the driving aspects namely, power, drive pleasure, comfort and safety. CNG or Compressed Natural Gas has been regarded as that perfect alternate fuel but till date has been mostly been preferred by either fleet operators only mainly due to the heavy power loss that the vehicles run on CNG suffer. Now to answer this Tata Motors has launched the CNG versions of the Tigor sedan and the Tiago hatchback. We drive the Tata Tigor CNG to find out if it offers anything different to other CNG powered vehicles and if it can bury the myth that surrounds CNG powered vehicles.
The Tata Tigor in its CNG form retains its original exterior styling and design with some updates for 2022. The three box sedan comes with a stylish looking Tata family tri arrow chrome grille with a thick chrome strip defining the lower section while the top section gets a glossy black strip. The flushed headlamps get projector type glow with integrated turn lights. LED DRL’s are placed on the bumper besides the round chrome surrounded fog lamps. The air dam gets two horizontal chrome lines that make the front look nicer.
The sides too remain the same with some chrome treatment seen on the door handles and window garnish. Electrically folding and adjustable wing mirrors gets glossy black housing while the sharp waist line defines the sides of the Tigor. The CNG Tigor drives on 175 spec R14 sized tyres mounted on steel wheels that come with these cleverly designed wheel caps that remind you of alloy wheels. At the rear you get the i-CNG badging on the boot lid that confirms that this is not the regular Tigor.
Flushed design clear style tail lamps get LED glow while a thick chrome band runs across the boot lid mating the lamps and making the rear profile look wider. The rear also gets a integrated spoiler with LED stop lamp. Black roof with blacked out shark fin antenna make the Tigor look sportier. Finishing off the rear styling is the chrome strip that runs horizontally across the rear bumper adding to the overall chrome package on this car.
Like the exteriors the interiors on the Tigor CNG remain the same with some tweaks. The dashboard gets dual tone finish in black and beige while the AC vents get chrome surrounds along with piano black masking. The AVN system is the Harman sourced 7 inch touch screen unit with all the connectivity options for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth phone, FM radio etc. This system come s with 8 speakers. The single zone climate control display is also displayed on this screen. Just below the AVN system are the control buttons for door lock unlock, boot opening, fog lamps and the most important button to toggle between the Petrol and CNG mode. You get one USB mobile charge port along with an AUX port on the Tigor.
The 5-speed transmission shifter gets some metal inserts and leather wrapping on it. Biggest change for the CNG Tigor is the instrument cluster that comes with digital reading for fuel as well as CNG along with the RPM, digital speedo, odometer and other telltales. You also have the CNG drive mode indicator displayed on the instrument cluster when driving in it. The steering is a three spoke Tata Motors family design with flat bottom and MFD control buttons. You don’t get leather wrapping but you do get manual height adjust on the steering. You also get a deep cooled glovebox. Seats get dark fabric upholstery with the Tata arrow motif design on it. Drivers seat gets manual height adjust. Front seats offer good comfort with lots of leg room and support.
Rear seats get three fixed type head rests and a foldable centre arm rest with cup holders. Comfort level is pretty neat at the rear for two passengers with lots of leg, knee, head and shoulder room. Door panels get the dual tone treatment along with chrome door knobs and armrest padding. They also get lots of storage space for bottles and cans.
Engine – CNG tech – Drive
Powering the Tigor CNG is the same 1.2L 3-cylinder Revotron Petrol engine that makes 73.4PS of power and 94Nm of torque. This engine comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The normal petrol version of the Tigor makes 86PS of power with 113Nm of torque. The Tigor CNG has a 60 liter of water capacity CNG tank placed in the boot. The tank is mounted intelligently on a frame to make space under it to store some stuff like a laptop bag or other small things.
What makes the Tigor i-CNG different as compared to other CNG cars is that you can start off the engine even in the CNG mode which means even if your petrol tank is at zero and you need to start off you can. In other CNG cars you need to crank the engine in Petrol and then after some time switch to CNG. Tata Motors has also used the best and tested CNG kit made of high quality stainless steel tubes for utmost safety. You also get a micro switch that gives additional safety that cuts off the engine running if the fuel lid is opened at refueling stations and you get a warning message on the instrument cluster saying ‘Close Fuel Lid”.
This advanced CNG kit also gets an Thermal Incident Protection feature that releases the CNG gas into the atmosphere and not inside the cars cabin in an event of gas leak after an impact in an crash. Also if there is a gas leak the sensors detect the leak and shut off the CNG system and switch over to petrol supply. For faster CNG refilling the Tigor CNG comes with an NGV 1 special nozzle that allows faster and safer filling of the gas. To keep service costs low Tata Motors has also fitted a modular fuel filter which only needs a cartilage change instead of the complete filter replacement during service.
How is the i-CNG Tigor to drive?
Well to start off with we did crank the engine in the CNG mode and the car came to life just like it would in the petrol mode. 73.4PS of power makes this the most powerful CNG car in its class and yes the power is felt from the word go. There is no juddering, or power lag as you would expect in a CNG car. Power delivery is felt right from the word go just like a petrol car and the Tigor dives ahead in style. The best part being the comfortable drive feel in traffic aided with the soft clutch and peppy throttle response at low speeds and at the end of all this you have a smile on your face as you know you saved some good money by driving in CNG.
Tata Motors has beefed up the suspension for the CNG version of the Tigor and the car glides over bad roads, pot holes and speed breakers with ease. This car has been developed for a simple reason of saving the running cost by driving in CNG and it does it in style and comfort. In cabin comfort on the move is excellent with a silent cabin feel at all speeds. You get front disc and rear drum brakes on the CNG Tigor that offers a secure braking feel offering just the right bite. The Tigor CNG uses a single ECU to run both the petrol and CNG modes and this is the reason you can shift from petrol to CNG and vice versa at a blink on the move.
The Tigor CNG becomes the 4th variant of the car model which is also available in Petrol, Diesel and Electric options to choose from. The CNG Tata Tigor delivers everything that it promises, the car drives just like a regular Petrol powered car with zero signs or niggles that a CNG powered car is known for. The use of safety features for the CNG unit is another reason that you would want to choose it. You also get loads of tech, safety and convenience features on the Tigor CNG that gives it an upper hand and a perfect option to go for if you want a handsome looking CNG powered car that has none of the CNG myths in it and as a result save some good hard earned money in return.
Prices start at Rs. 7.69 Lakh for the Tata Tigor i-CNG. The only competition for the Tigor CNG is the Hyundai Aura CNG for now.
Words – Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar