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Tata Tigor EV goes up against sibling Nexon EV in the Indian electric vehicle market. Looking at creating inroads in the private PV EV space, can this battery-powered car change perceptions? (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)
Tata Tigor EV goes up against sibling Nexon EV in the Indian electric vehicle market. Looking at creating inroads in the private PV EV space, can this battery-powered car change perceptions? (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

2021 Tata Tigor EV first drive review: Splashy drive in 'affordable' package

  • Tata Tigor EV is the most affordable electric vehicle available in India for private buyers. But does it deliver on promises beyond the cost-of-purchase factor? Check out first-drive review of the 2021 Tata Tigor EV.

As we gear up to celebrate World EV Day, it is remarkable how far battery-powered vehicles have come in a short span of just a few years. And while it may seem like India is behind the curve when it comes to electric vehicles, there is much afoot at the ground level that signals a shift of tectonic proportions in the near future.

For Tata Motors though, the future is now and after the success of the Nexon EV, the company has officially launched 2021 Tata Tigor EV and has pegged it as the most-affordable electric vehicle for private buyers in the country.

There isn't much competition to speak of for the 2021 Tata Tigor EV. But that ought not to mean that it can afford to compromise on factors such as range, features, looks or even performance. Tata claims that its Ziptron technology promises to make the latest Tigor EV quite a delight when on the move and to test all of its key and crucial aspects, I got behind the wheels of the car for a day out in Delhi.

Tigor EV has thus far been for fleet operators but 2021 Tigor EV - with all its updates - is aimed squarely at individual owners.
Tigor EV has thus far been for fleet operators but 2021 Tigor EV - with all its updates - is aimed squarely at individual owners. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

Tata Tigor EV exterior styling:

Tigor isn't really one of those compact sedans that will ever make heads turn sideways. And yet, its simplistic looks are anything but shabby. Tigor EV builds on the basics and seeks to distinguish itself from its counterpart with the internal combustion engine with noticeable updates.

2021 Tigor EV exterior dimensions (in mm) 
Length3993
Width1677
Height1532
Wheelbase2450
Ground clearance (unladen)172
Boot space316 litres

A prominent horizontal line on the front bumper in a beautiful shade of blue and a sleek new front grille primarily define this EV. There are LED DRL strips on either side of the halogen headlights but if you want LED lights, the tail is only where you would get these.

2021 Tigor EV has a smart face but LED head light units could have further added to the appeal of the vehicle.
2021 Tigor EV has a smart face but LED head light units could have further added to the appeal of the vehicle. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

There are plenty of ‘EV’ badge all around for visual confirmation of the battery power inside.  The new take on the alloy design also makes this EV look smarter but I would have preferred for the R14 wheels to have been a little bigger for a smarter visual appeal from the side.

The Tigor EV has a decent ground clearance which helps it negotiate most speed bumpers with ease.
The Tigor EV has a decent ground clearance which helps it negotiate most speed bumpers with ease. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

That said, the car still looks quite smart - minus much extravaganza - and along with the option of choosing a dual-tone colour theme, ought to appeal to most prospective buyers. In single-tone, the EV comes in Signature Teal Blue and Daytona Grey shades.

The EV badge on the front, sides and rear (also) help distinguish the Tigor EV from the regular Tigor.
The EV badge on the front, sides and rear (also) help distinguish the Tigor EV from the regular Tigor. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

Tata Tigor EV cabin:

Tata Motors hasn't gone overboard in over-doing the cabin of the new Tigor EV. Now that can be great or not so great and depends on which side of the fence you look at it from.

There is a seven-inch infotainment screen that is placed well to protect it from ambient glare. It remains quite responsive to touch and offers a host of NAV and multimedia-related options, as well as puts out feed from the rear cameras, along with guidelines. Then there is the all-digital driver display as well which primarily puts out the most relevant EV drive-related information like range left in percentage and kms, status of brake recuperation, drive trait - eco or thunderbolt, and more.

Tigor EV has a several places for storing items such as phones, wallets and documents.
Tigor EV has a several places for storing items such as phones, wallets and documents. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

I particularly liked the dial for the drive modes. A familiar addition in Tata vehicles, the one inside Tigor EV allowed me to easily switch between Drive and Sport mode at every quick finger flick.

Some of the other feature highlights I liked were a cooled glove box, flat-bottomed steering and automatic temperature control.

Blue accents on the air vents as well as blue stitching on the seats underline the EV credentials of Tigor EV.
Blue accents on the air vents as well as blue stitching on the seats underline the EV credentials of Tigor EV. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

On the flipside, there is still a lot of cheap plastic in use, especially on the dash and side doors. And I am not entirely sure if three people on the backseats would be quite comfortable even if the knee and leg space is adequate. The seats do have a lot of cushioning but lack firmness which could be a factor on long drives. Then again, the Tigor EV may not be ready for long highway journeys just yet.

Tigor EV has a boot of 316 litres but a vertically placed spare tyre eats into space. One can choose to keep the spare tyre at home because Tata Motors is offering an air-refilling kit/can to quickly repair punctures.
Tigor EV has a boot of 316 litres but a vertically placed spare tyre eats into space. One can choose to keep the spare tyre at home because Tata Motors is offering an air-refilling kit/can to quickly repair punctures. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

Tata Tigor EV range:

Tata Motors says that Tigor EV has an ARAI-certified range of around 306 kms. That's a little less than the 312 km range on the Nexon EV. Of course, there are a wide variety of factors that affect per-charge range in the real world and during our drive test within city limits, I felt this figure is more likely to be around 250 kms. And I can live with that, quite frankly.

The all-digital driver display inside 2021 Tigor EV.
The all-digital driver display inside 2021 Tigor EV. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

Plug it into a regular 15A home plug point and Tigor EV will take around 9 hours to get to 80%. This means an overnight charge every few days, depending on how much one drives. Of course, the figure comes down to just an hour if using a 25 kW DC charger at public places. I did drive the EV over to a Tata dealership in south Delhi to test it and while the parking space here was absolutely chaotic, I eventually left with no doubt about the fast-charge capability - from 50% to 75% in 18 minutes flat!

Tata Tigor EV drive traits:

If you have driven an EV before, chances are you'll like driving the Tigor EV. And if you have never driven an EV before, chances are you will love it.

2021 Tigor EV can be a spirited ride in city traffic, all while remaining absolutely silent.
2021 Tigor EV can be a spirited ride in city traffic, all while remaining absolutely silent. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

Whether it is the near-instant torque or the absolutely silent operation, Tigor EV is mighty sporty when on the move. Even in regular ‘Drive’ mode, the car has a brisk flair about it and unless range is an immediate concern, the ‘Sport’ mode quickens that flair even further.

This is where the Ziptron technology truly helps Tigor EV shine and helps the car go from stationery to 60 kmph in 5.7 seconds.

2021 Tigor EV drivetrain 
Electric Motor TypePermanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
Power74.7 Ps
Torque170 Nm
Battery Pack26 kWh

What also helps the drive trait of the Tigor EV are a steady steering wheel and a well-balanced suspension set up which manages to negotiate road aberrations with ease.

But how does the Tigor EV wade through water-logged roads? It was a soaking wet morning in Delhi on the test day but every single clogged road we navigated the Tigor EV through was soon a distant sight in the rear-view mirror. Here's also where the IP67 rating on the motor and battery pack evokes massive admiration, and confidence.

This is one of the mildest of puddles encountered during the test drive of the Tigor EV.
This is one of the mildest of puddles encountered during the test drive of the Tigor EV. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

In fact, the only thing of concern was when taking sharp turns at moderate speeds. A very, very audible skid noise from the low-resistance tyres was quite perplexing and while it may have to do with the width of the wheels, an official reason for it is still awaited from Tata Motors. If you plan to take a test drive of the car, I recommend you check it on sharp turns for sure.

2021 Tigor EV: Safety highlights
 
Driver and co-passenger airbag (Standard)
ABS with EBD and cornering stability (Standard)
Child-safety rear door locks (Standard)
Reverse sensor (Standard)
Reverse cam with guidelines
Follow-me home head lights
Speed-dependent door locks
Front fog lamps
Rear defogger

Tata Tigor EV - Connected app features:

Tigor EV boasts of 35 smart connected features with the company's ZConnect app. I tested most of these and can confidently say that most have daily, real-world application.

An owner can run a diagnostics of 2021 Tigor EV from an app and from anywhere.
An owner can run a diagnostics of 2021 Tigor EV from an app and from anywhere. (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

Download the app, connect it to the car and one can make use of multiple features like automatically switching AC on or off from home, starting ignition, switching on head lights or even engaging alarm sounds for spotting the vehicle in crowded places. More significantly, the app displays range left, can perform diagnostics, rate driver's performance behind the wheel - I assume it is for best range possible, and more.

Tata Tigor EV - to buy or not to buy?

It is quite easy to either recommend or not recommend the new Tigor EV to prospective buyers. The model is offered in three variants - XE, XM and XZ+, apart from a dual-tone XZ+. Pricing starts at 11.99 lakh which, I feel, could have been lower still, and goes up to 12.99 lakh for XZ+ in single hue.

If you are looking at having Tigor EV - or any other EV - as your only vehicle, I would strongly urge you to wait because the support infrastructure in the country for such vehicles isn't quite adequate even now. That said, if you already have at least one car in the house and are primarily looking for a low running cost in and around the city, the Tigor EV makes a really good case for itself. Of course, the Nexon EV has its longer list of highlights but remember, it is also more expensive. But barring these two Tata EV options, there isn't anything in the 12 lakh to around 16 lakh price bracket to ponder over yet.

Buying an EV would be a very personal and subjective decision. EVs are getting more affordable with passing time and while one can always get a better car with petrol or even diesel engine in the corresponding price bracket, it would be better to check running costs, support infrastructure and benefit to environment when considering a battery-powered option.

  • First Published Date : 08 Sep 2021, 08:58 AM IST