2022 Tata Tiago iCNG review: Should you buy it?
CNG-based cars have seen a sharp rise in popularity over the years due to the lack of affordable diesel or electric models. To capitalize on this trend, Tata Motors has launched its range of "iCNG" cars with the Tiago and Tigor getting factory-fitted CNG kits. We have tested the Tiago iCNG to find out more about its efficiency and features.
Why does this story matter?
- CNG-based cars were once considered the staple of fleet operators but the steep rise in personal vehicle usage shows that there is a huge scope for volumes in this segment.
- With only a handful of CNG-based cars on sale, many had to resort to aftermarket CNG kit fitments.
- And, that is where Tata Motors wants to cash in and offer well-made CNG-based cars.
The car flaunts steel wheels with stylish covers
Barring an "iCNG" badge, there is nothing else to visually distinguish the CNG-based Tiago from its petrol sibling. However, a closer look reveals that the top-end Tiago iCNG does not get alloy wheels akin to its petrol counterpart. Instead, it sports steel wheels with stylized covers. Elsewhere, the Tiago still looks quite pleasant and bigger than its direct rivals.
The four-wheeler has a dual-tone cabin
The new black and beige dual-tone color scheme makes the interiors stand out more while scoring high for good material quality. CNG-specific changes to the cabin include a button to switch from CNG to petrol and vice versa and a CNG-specific display for the digital instrument cluster. The space on offer is impressive with comfortable seats and ample headroom as well as legroom.
Boot capacity is diminished due to the CNG tank
The biggest issue with CNG-based cars is the lack of boot space as the CNG tank occupies most of it. In the case of the Tiago iCNG, the same problem persists as the 242-liter boot space of the petrol-guzzling Tiago is reduced to a measly 80 liters. Accessing the spare wheel is also cumbersome as the rear-seat backrest has to be removed first.
From a rear-view camera to an 8-speaker audio system
Unlike other CNG-based cars, the Tiago iCNG is surprisingly well equipped with features like a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment console with smartphone connectivity, automatic climate control, a digital instrument cluster, and power-adjustable outside rear-view mirrors (ORVMs). It also gets an 8-speaker Harman audio system and a rear-view camera. Dual airbags, ABS, EBD, rear parking sensors, and corner stability control ensure the passengers' safety.
Power delivery is ample in CNG mode
The Tiago iCNG has a 1.2-liter engine that makes 86hp/113Nm in petrol guise. Switching to CNG mode reduces the power output to 73hp/95Nm. A 5-speed manual gearbox is offered as standard and you can start the car in CNG mode, too. Power delivery is ample and linear in CNG mode, and you can drive the vehicle on steep surfaces with ease.
The car offers a smooth riding experience
Despite the additional weight of the CNG tank, the handling of the Tiago iCNG remains stable and the ground clearance of 168mm is also not affected. Compared to rivals, Tiago also has a smoother ride quality. In terms of fuel efficiency, the official figure is 26.49km/kg but we found that you can get a slightly higher number with careful driving.
Is it worth your money?
The top-end version as tested here costs Rs. 7.52 lakh (ex-showroom). While that is a significant hike over the petrol model, the Tiago iCNG justifies the pricing with the lower running costs of a CNG-based car. Overall, the Tiago iCNG is a perfect vehicle for those looking to save on fuel costs without sacrificing features or performance.