Tata Tigor iCNG AMT first drive review: The perfect combo?

  • Tata Motors is the first manufacturer to introduce an AMT transmission to a CNG powertrain. Here is our review of the Tigor iCNG AMT.
Tata Tigor iCNG AMT
Tata Motors has launched the Tigor iCNG and Tiago iCNG with AMT transmission. This is the first time that a CNG vehicle is being offered with an automatic transmission.  
The Tiago iCNG AMT will be offered in three variants - XTA CNG, XZA+ CNG & XZA NRG whereas the Tigor iCNG AMT will get two variants - XZA CNG & XZA+ CNG.
Tata Motors has not made any cosmetic changes to the Tigor iCNG AMT. It looks identical to the iCNG variants of the Tigor that are already on sale in the Indian market. So, there is an iCNG badging but there is no AMT badge on the vehicle. 
Tata is using their twin-cylinder technology so instead of one large CNG tank, there are two smaller ones. What this has done is open up some space for luggage. The whole boot floor has been raised to store the cylinders but there is still space for two suitcases and bag packs.
The engine on duty is the same 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, naturally aspirated unit that produces 72 bhp of max power and 95 Nm of peak torque while running on CNG. On petrol, however, the power is bumped up to 84 bhp and torque increases to 113 Nm. 
The suspension of the vehicle has been retuned to handle the additional 110 kg. The rear suspension has been stiffened up. However, still the suspension can absorb most of the things that our Indian roads have to throw at it.
It absorbs the potholes and bad patches well and the cabin stays a calm and quiet place. Even through the corners, the Tigor feels composed but there is some amount of body roll which is to be expected. Having said that, people will mostly drive sedately.
The interior is more or less the same as the Tigor iCNG. It now gets a fire extinguisher in passanger's footwell area and a CNG button below the infotainment system. The instrument cluster has also been updated to show CNG-related information. 
Tata has made several changes to ensure that driving on CNG feels seamless to the driver. It uses a single ECU that manages between the petrol and CNG modes. Due to this, the shift from CNG to petrol or visa versa is very smooth and you don't even notice it. If the CNG tank gets empty, the car can automatically shift to run on petrol.
The engine does pack punch but it is enough for your daily city duties. Being an AMT, there are headnods but the shifting itself is very smooth. If you have to make an overtake then the gearbox will drop a gear or two to build momentum. 
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Tata Tigor iCNG AMT is the first compact sedan with a CNG powertrain as well as an AMT transmission.
Tata Motors has launched the Tigor iCNG and Tiago iCNG with AMT transmission. This is the first time that a CNG vehicle is being offered with an automatic transmission.  
1/10
Tata Motors has launched the Tigor iCNG and Tiago iCNG with AMT transmission. This is the first time that a CNG vehicle is being offered with an automatic transmission.  
The Tiago iCNG AMT will be offered in three variants - XTA CNG, XZA+ CNG & XZA NRG whereas the Tigor iCNG AMT will get two variants - XZA CNG & XZA+ CNG.
2/10
The Tiago iCNG AMT will be offered in three variants - XTA CNG, XZA+ CNG & XZA NRG whereas the Tigor iCNG AMT will get two variants - XZA CNG & XZA+ CNG.
Tata Motors has not made any cosmetic changes to the Tigor iCNG AMT. It looks identical to the iCNG variants of the Tigor that are already on sale in the Indian market. So, there is an iCNG badging but there is no AMT badge on the vehicle. 
3/10
Tata Motors has not made any cosmetic changes to the Tigor iCNG AMT. It looks identical to the iCNG variants of the Tigor that are already on sale in the Indian market. So, there is an iCNG badging but there is no AMT badge on the vehicle. 
Tata is using their twin-cylinder technology so instead of one large CNG tank, there are two smaller ones. What this has done is open up some space for luggage. The whole boot floor has been raised to store the cylinders but there is still space for two suitcases and bag packs.
4/10
Tata is using their twin-cylinder technology so instead of one large CNG tank, there are two smaller ones. What this has done is open up some space for luggage. The whole boot floor has been raised to store the cylinders but there is still space for two suitcases and bag packs.
The engine on duty is the same 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, naturally aspirated unit that produces 72 bhp of max power and 95 Nm of peak torque while running on CNG. On petrol, however, the power is bumped up to 84 bhp and torque increases to 113 Nm. 
5/10
The engine on duty is the same 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, naturally aspirated unit that produces 72 bhp of max power and 95 Nm of peak torque while running on CNG. On petrol, however, the power is bumped up to 84 bhp and torque increases to 113 Nm. 
The suspension of the vehicle has been retuned to handle the additional 110 kg. The rear suspension has been stiffened up. However, still the suspension can absorb most of the things that our Indian roads have to throw at it.
6/10
The suspension of the vehicle has been retuned to handle the additional 110 kg. The rear suspension has been stiffened up. However, still the suspension can absorb most of the things that our Indian roads have to throw at it.
It absorbs the potholes and bad patches well and the cabin stays a calm and quiet place. Even through the corners, the Tigor feels composed but there is some amount of body roll which is to be expected. Having said that, people will mostly drive sedately.
7/10
It absorbs the potholes and bad patches well and the cabin stays a calm and quiet place. Even through the corners, the Tigor feels composed but there is some amount of body roll which is to be expected. Having said that, people will mostly drive sedately.
The interior is more or less the same as the Tigor iCNG. It now gets a fire extinguisher in passanger's footwell area and a CNG button below the infotainment system. The instrument cluster has also been updated to show CNG-related information. 
8/10
The interior is more or less the same as the Tigor iCNG. It now gets a fire extinguisher in passanger's footwell area and a CNG button below the infotainment system. The instrument cluster has also been updated to show CNG-related information. 
Tata has made several changes to ensure that driving on CNG feels seamless to the driver. It uses a single ECU that manages between the petrol and CNG modes. Due to this, the shift from CNG to petrol or visa versa is very smooth and you don't even notice it. If the CNG tank gets empty, the car can automatically shift to run on petrol.
9/10
Tata has made several changes to ensure that driving on CNG feels seamless to the driver. It uses a single ECU that manages between the petrol and CNG modes. Due to this, the shift from CNG to petrol or visa versa is very smooth and you don't even notice it. If the CNG tank gets empty, the car can automatically shift to run on petrol.
The engine does pack punch but it is enough for your daily city duties. Being an AMT, there are headnods but the shifting itself is very smooth. If you have to make an overtake then the gearbox will drop a gear or two to build momentum. 
10/10
The engine does pack punch but it is enough for your daily city duties. Being an AMT, there are headnods but the shifting itself is very smooth. If you have to make an overtake then the gearbox will drop a gear or two to build momentum. 

Maruti Suzuki played a pivotal role in making CNG vehicles popular in the Indian market. Because of the popularity, other manufacturers such as Hyundai and Tata also decided to enter the segment. One thing that was missing from the CNG segment was automatic transmission. They are slowly becoming popular in the Indian market mainly due to the fact that traffic is increasing day by day and an automatic transmission just adds to the convenience.

This is where Tata Motors has become the first manufacturer to offer an AMT transmission with their iCNG models. Tata Tiago and Tigor are the first cars in India to offer an AMT transmission with their iCNG variants. come into the picture. The Tiago iCNG AMT will be offered in three variants - XTA CNG, XZA+ CNG & XZA NRG whereas the Tigor iCNG AMT will get two variants - XZA CNG & XZA+ CNG. We go to drive the Tigor iCNG AMT and here are our first drive impressions.

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Has Tata made some cosmetic changes?

Tata Tigor iCNG AMT
There are no cosmetic changes to the AMT version of the Tigor iCNG.
Tata Tigor iCNG AMT
There are no cosmetic changes to the AMT version of the Tigor iCNG.

Tata Motors has not made any cosmetic changes to the Tigor iCNG AMT. So, it continues to have the same handsome face in the front with the chrome humanity line and tri-arrow elements. The LED Daytime Running Lamps are placed alongside the foglamps. On the sides, there are 14-inch Hyperstyle wheels that look like alloy wheels but are just steel wheels but with a stylized cover. At the rear, there is ‘iCNG’ badging, there is no ‘AMT’ badging on the vehicle.

How's the boot space on Tigor iCNG AMT?

Tata Tigor iCNG AMT
The boot can still accommodate a couple of suitcases and bag packs. There is a frame over the CNG cylinders that ensures that the boot floor is flat.
Tata Tigor iCNG AMT
The boot can still accommodate a couple of suitcases and bag packs. There is a frame over the CNG cylinders that ensures that the boot floor is flat.

One of the biggest gripes with the CNG vehicles is that the CNG tank takes up space in the boot which does not leave space for the luggage. To resolve this, Tata is using two small CNG cylinders instead of one large one. The total water capacity of the cylinders is 70 litres. The whole boot floor has been raised to store the cylinders but there is still space for two suitcases and bag packs.

Does the engine feel different while running on CNG?

The engine on duty is the same 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, naturally aspirated unit that produces 72 bhp of max power and 95 Nm of peak torque while running on CNG. On petrol, however, the power is bumped up to 84 bhp and torque increases to 113 Nm. What's new for the iCNG powertrain is the 5-speed AMT.

Tata Tigor iCNG AMT
While the gear shifts can be felt because of the AMT gearbox, they are still smooth.
Tata Tigor iCNG AMT
While the gear shifts can be felt because of the AMT gearbox, they are still smooth.

Yes, you can feel the gear shifting and it is not quick but what Tata has managed to do is smoothen them out. So, even though the driver would be able to feel the shifts, there is no jerkiness. Even the downshifts are very smooth but we did experience a few jerks when the gearbox shifted from third to second gear.

There are some amount of vibrations from the engine but they iron out as soon as the revs climb. If you want to buy the iCNG AMT version for city duties then you will not find any issue with it. It has an ample amount of torque in the lower rev range so getting off the line is easy. Speaking of getting off the line, there is a creep function as well and it works quite well and smoothly. Having said that, when you want to overtake, you will have to plan and the engine will downshift a gear or two. We even tried climbing a few inclines and the car was able to do it just on its creep functionality with slight jitter but as soon as you give some throttle input, the climb became easy.

Tata Tigor iCNG AMT
The front of the Tigor iCNG AMT looks particularly handsome with the chrome and tri-arrow elements.
Tata Tigor iCNG AMT
The front of the Tigor iCNG AMT looks particularly handsome with the chrome and tri-arrow elements.

Overall, the performance of the engine is linear. It lacks punch while running on petrol and things do not improve when you shift to CNG mode. If the engine is running at higher rpms and you need to make a quick overtake then the driver might have to shift to petrol. However, as long as the driver is driving sedately, he should not face any issues.

What are some additional bits that Tata has done for the iCNG version?

Tata has made several changes to ensure that driving on CNG feels seamless to the driver. It uses a single ECU that manages between the petrol and CNG modes. Due to this, the shift from CNG to petrol or visa versa is very smooth and you don't even notice it. If the CNG tank gets empty, the car can automatically shift to run on petrol. Apart from this, Tata Motors has also positioned a fire extinguisher in the footwell area of the front passenger.

To shift the fuel is quite easy, there is a button placed below the infotainment system. The instrument cluster does have independent gauges for petrol as well as CNG. There is an indicator light in the instrument cluster to show that the engine is running on CNG.

How is the ride quality of the Tata Tigor iCNG AMT?

To account for the additional 110 kg weight compared to the petrol-powered version, Tata Motors has retuned the suspension. The suspension can absorb most of the things that our Indian roads have to throw at it.

It absorbs the potholes and bad patches well and the cabin stays a calm and quiet place. Even through the corners, the Tigor feels composed but there is some amount of body roll which is to be expected. Having said that, people will mostly drive sedately.

What features does Tata Tigor iCNG AMT offer?

Tata usually packs their cars pretty well and the Tigor iCNG AMT is no different. It comes with leatherette seats, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, a push button to start/stop, a Harman sound system with 8 speakers, automatic climate control, type C charge ports, autofold ORVMs, TPMS and steering mounted controls.

So, what's the verdict about the Tigor iCNG AMT?

The biggest advantage of the Tigor iCNG AMT is that you don't feel that the vehicle is powered by CNG or you are losing out on something. It is packed with features, has a good quality interior and the ride quality is comfortable. Kudos to Tata Motors for integrating the AMT transmission and CNG powertrain so seamlessly. So, if you are in the market for a vehicle that is powered by CNG and you want the convenience of an automatic transmission as well, then the iCNG AMT versions of the Tigor and Tiago are the only option.

First Published Date: 21 Feb 2024, 16:00 PM IST
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