2021 Tata Tigor EV first drive review: Splashy drive in 'affordable' package
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.
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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.
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)|
|Ground clearance (unladen)||172|
|Boot space||316 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Type||Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor|
|Battery Pack||26 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.
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|
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.
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.