Tata Tiago CNG AMT review: First of its kind

    The AMT gearbox-equipped Tiago iCNG is an industry first. We find out how good it is.

    Published on Feb 21, 2024 04:00:00 PM

    20,737 Views

    Make : Tata
    Model : Tiago
    We Like
    • Convenience, running costs
    • Usable boot, multiple variants
    We Don't Like
    • Engine performance
    • Top variant is pricey

    Tata has really been moving the CNG game forward. It started off bucking the trend with what it called premiumisation of CNG by offering top-end variants with CNG power. Then last year the Altroz CNG introduced Tata’s innovative twin-cylinder technology, which has two tanks under the boot floor instead of one large cylinder in the boot, thus liberating the entire boot. And now, Tata has pushed the CNG case further still with the introduction of the Tiago, Tiago NRG and Tigor CNG automatic; an industry first powertrain combination.

    Tata Tiago CNG AMT powertrain

    Powering the Tiago CNG auto is the familiar 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, naturally aspirated engine that also does duty in the Tigor and Altroz. When run on petrol, this motor puts out 86hp and 113Nm whereas on CNG, it produces 73hp and 95Nm. This has been paired to the 5-speed automated manual transmission (AMT), like on the petrol-powered version.

    AMT has manual control via the tiptronic function on the gear lever.

    Crank the engine using the flip-type key and it starts directly in CNG mode, which helps conserve that little bit of petrol at startup. On the move, this engine doesn’t feel refined and it isn’t peppy either but it is quite linear in its power delivery, save for a dip in the midrange. So it won’t wow you with its performance, but for someone who is just going to use it to commute in jam-packed city traffic, it is more than adequate.

    Switch to petrol mode and you’ll realise that at a leisurely pace, the difference between CNG and petrol is not a lot. Responses, both off the line and at part-throttle, are decent and it’ll easily keep up with the flow of traffic in either mode. However, you will feel a lack of urgency in CNG mode when driving in a more enthusiastic manner.

    Performance is adequate for commuting in traffic.

    The gearbox has that typical AMT head-nod when shifting, but it’s eager to downshift and keep the engine in the meat of the powerband, which is good. What also helps is that you have manual control over the gears, via the tiptronic function on the gear lever.

    Tata Tiago CNG AMT dual-cylinder tech

    Tata’s patented twin-cylinder set up was introduced to the Tiago and Tigor line-up last year itself and this automatic benefits from that set up too. With the two 30-litre tanks under the boot floor, 107 litres of cargo space is liberated. While that might not sound like much, it is good enough for a few soft bags and it’s still better than not having any space at all. And Tata hasn’t forgotten about the spare tyre either. It’s mounted underneath the car and can be lowered by loosening a bolt in the boot floor. 

    Twin tank set up frees up boot space.

    The Tiago also comes with certain CNG-specific safety features. There’s a fire extinguisher under the front passenger seat, the car won’t start when the fuel filler flap is open and it’ll also cut-off CNG supply and release the gas into the atmosphere if it detects a leak in the system. Tata also recommends that you drive 10km in petrol for every 300km in CNG to ensure the proper working of the petrol fuel system.

    Tata Tiago CNG AMT ride and handling

    Suspension has been retuned to compensate for the extra 110kg.

    The Tiago CNG gets a retuned suspension setup with a stiffer spring rate and higher damping force at the rear to compensate for the additional 110kg this car hauls. Despite that though, ride and handling remains a strong point. The ride feels composed and stable at high speeds and it deals with the rough stuff well too. The steering also strikes a good balance between being light and feelsome too and body control around bends is tidy.

    Tata Tiago CNG AMT fuel efficiency

    We did a brief fuel efficiency check for the Tiago CNG AMT during the course of the shoot and we managed to get 24.28km/kg. That’s not too far off the manufacturer’s claimed 28.06km/kg. However, it’s important to note that this test was not conducted to Autocar India’s elaborate road test standards and a majority of the test was done on open roads with higher average speeds. Hence, the real-world figure might be slightly lower still. 

    Spare is mounted under the car.

    Regardless, the Tiago CNG AMT’s efficiency comes across as impressive. For reference, the current cost of CNG in Mumbai is Rs 76 per kg while petrol costs around Rs 106 per litre. The cost per km for CNG comes to Rs 3.16, which is a third of the cost for petrol, which would be around Rs 9 per km. And not only is CNG cheaper to run than petrol, it’s more eco-friendly too thanks to lower emissions. However, one thing you’ll still need to contend with are the long queues at the CNG filling station.

    Tata Tiago CNG AMT features

    Like it did with the Altroz, Tata is offering the Tiago CNG AMT in multiple trims, including the near top-spec XZ+. This means it barely loses out on any features in comparison to its petrol counterpart (petrol Tiago XZ (O) gets alloys). It packs in a 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, a Harman audio system, auto climate control, auto wipers, electrically adjustable and foldable wing mirrors, a rear wiper/washer, a rear parking camera, TPMS and more. Standard safety kit includes dual airbags, ABS with EBD, corner stability control, ISOFIX mounts and rear parking sensors.  

    Tiago iCNG hardly loses out on features compared to its petrol counterpart. 

    There’s not much to report in terms of interior changes in comparison to the petrol auto, save for the CNG button in the centre console, the two fuel gauges in the instrument cluster and the revised Tata logo on the steering. The Tiago has a spacious cabin and fit/finish is acceptable for the price. The body-coloured surrounds on the outer AC vents do a good job of sprucing up this black and grey dual-tone cabin theme. 

    The Tata Tiago iCNG starts up in CNG mode, which helps save some petrol at startup.

    Exterior changes are also limited to the badges – there’s an iCNG badge on the boot, a ‘50 lakh cars’ milestone badge on the rear doors and the revised Tata logo at the back. The Tiago CNG AMT is being offered in four colours – Tornado Blue (which you see here), Flame Red, Daytona Grey and Opal White. 

    Tata Tiago CNG AMT price and verdict

    Prices for the Tata Tiago CNG AMT start at Rs 7.90 lakh for the entry-level XT variant and go up to Rs 8.90 lakh (ex-showroom) for the range-topping XZ+ dual tone. This marks an increase of about Rs 55,000 over the Tiago CNG manual. In comparison, the highest spec Hyundai i10 Nios CNG costs Rs 8.23 lakh while the Maruti Celerio CNG costs Rs 6.74 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi). However, it’s worth noting that neither offer CNG in their top trims or with an automatic gearbox.

    Auto box convenience, light controls, lower running costs and lower emissions make this an ideal city runabout.

    Given the convenience the auto gearbox offers combined with the lower running costs of the CNG and the fact that you don’t have to miss out on features too, the Tiago CNG automatic should definitely be on your radar for your next urban roundabout.

    Also see:
     
     
     
    Tech Specs

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