Tata Tiago iCNG: Not much room for luggage, but some for improvement

For Rs 90,000 over the Tiago petrol, you get longer driving range, similar drive experience, but almost unusable boot space (the cylinder fills the boot). For city driving, however, it’s just the right car

Tata Tiago iCNG: Not much room for luggage, but some for improvement

It’s a complete car, until you open the boot—for almost the entire usable space in the boot has been taken up by the 60-litre (water-equivalent) CNG tank (9-10 kg of CNG).

But fill the CNG tank, shut the boot, drop your luggage (if any) on the rear seat, and what you get is a car with one of the longest non-stop driving range in India. The reason is the CNG tank takes in 9-10 kg of gas and with a claimed fuel efficiency of 26.49 km/kg, the CNG-only driving range is about 250 km. Once you run out of gas, fret not, the 35-litre petrol tank can take you another 700-odd km. The total range comes out to be over 900 km.

Why CNG?

Maruti Suzuki has nine CNG cars, Hyundai has four, and now Tata has launched two (Tigor and Tiago). There is a surge in demand for CNG vehicles because of two reasons—rising prices of petrol and diesel fuel, and a steady increase in the number of CNG outlets (there are over 3,100 CNG outlets in 250-odd cities right now, up from 2,207 at the beginning of FY21—latter data by Care Ratings).

Tiago petrol vs iCNG

As far as visual differences are concerned, there are two major differences on the body (the iCNG badge and two fuel intake points) and two inside the cabin (two fuel level indicators and a fire extinguisher).

The cabin is a comfortable place to be in. The dashboard is elaborately laid out and all switches are within easy reach. The steering wheel is just the right size and offers decent grip. There are a lot of utility spaces, small and big, to store things ranging from files to books and from glasses to bottles.

How does it drive?

Despite the fact that in the CNG mode the engine develops lower maximum power and lower maximum torque as compared to the petrol mode, there is absolutely no difference in the way the car behaves on the road. Therefore, even in the CNG mode, the Tiago is a very peppy car.

The changeover from CNG to petrol and vice-versa happens at the touch of a button, and is instant.

How can it be improved?

One, while the CNG cylinder cannot be reduced in volume (because it will reduce driving range), there can be a way out to package it better so that at least some usable space can be created in the boot.

Two, in case there is a tyre puncture, removing the stepney (space tyre) can be a cumbersome process (by folding the rear seat and removing the stepney from under the CNG cylinder). It can be rethought.

Three, the white-coloured bulbous CNG cylinder can be an eyesore to some (so better cover it with some material in a way it doesn’t add to its already large size).

Is it a good buy?

It’s an amazing city car. In Delhi, for example, petrol is priced Rs 95 per litre and CNG Rs 53 per kg. In case you run about 2,000 km per month, the Rs 90,000 extra paid for CNG model can be recovered in less than a year (Tata Motors website has a CNG vs petrol/diesel calculator to explain the same).

However, in case yours is a four-member family and you need to travel outside the city for a few days, the luggage needs to be either kept at home, or you need to buy the slightly more expensive—about Rs 75,000 extra—Tigor iCNG (which has a bigger boot space and therefore some space for luggage).

Does CNG harm the engine?

On the contrary, experts say CNG is beneficial for the petrol engine. The reason they cite is that owing to CNG’s distinct features (it doesn’t have carbon) it does not contaminate or dilute crankcase oil, giving a new lease of life to the engine. The absence of any lead content in CNG helps avoid lead fouling of plugs, thereby enhancing plug life. As CNG enters the engine in the form of a gas (and not as a spray or mist like other fuels), no carbon is generated during the combustion of CNG, reducing the chances of wear and tear.


Fuel CNG and petrol

Fuel efficiency 26.49 km/kg (CNG)

20.09 km/litre (petrol)

Engine 1199-cc, 3-cylinder

Power 73.4 PS (CNG)

86 PS (petrol)

Torque 95 Nm (CNG)

113 Nm (petrol)

Price Rs 6.1 lakh to Rs 7.65 lakh

(Prices are ex-showroom)

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First published on: 21-02-2022 at 13:36 IST