Among alternative fuels, CNG has proven to be a thoroughly inexpensive choice, both to buy and run. Its widespread availability, especially in bigger cities, has further boosted the rate of adoption, but what’s made it popular is the inclusion of factory-made CNG-powered cars. This nullifies the chances of mistuned CNG kits spoiling the engine, as is sometimes witnessed with retrofitted applications. So what’s stopping buyers from further embracing this simple yet effective solution to rising fuel prices, you might wonder? It’s the absence of an automatic gearbox. For many urban drivers, especially those who use their cars for office/work commutes, an automatic is a more suitable choice, and the absence of CNG-powered, automatic-gearbox cars was a definite deterrent. We say ‘was’ because with Tata Motors offering an AMT gearbox on some of its iCNG cars, both your pocket and your left leg can get some respite. We check out the Tata Tigor iCNG to find out if pocket-friendly motoring comes at a cost.

While the CNG cylinders do eat up some boot space, the placement is such that you can still fit a large suitcase and a couple of duffel bags in the boot

While the CNG cylinders do eat up some boot space, the placement is such that you can still fit a large suitcase and a couple of duffel bags in the boot

Boot space

Talking of which, at ₹8.85 lakh onwards, ex-showroom, the Tigor iCNG AMT is affordable. It’s largely indistinguishable from the petrol-powered versions, both on the inside and out. Save for a different badge on the boot, a fuel gauge that shows both petrol and CNG levels, and a CNG button, there’s nothing that would make people believe that this isn’t a petrol-powered Tigor. Until they open the boot, that is. Because that’s where the neatly placed pair of CNG cylinders rests. It does eat up some boot space, but the placement is such that you can still fit a large suitcase and a couple of duffel bags in the boot. This wasn’t possible with large cylinders from the past, and given that the cylinders offer a cumulative volume of 70 litres, you won’t have to worry about refuelling often.


When you have to head to the filling station, you’ll be greeted by a CNG filler inlet positioned not under the bonnet, but right next to the petrol filler. This adds convenience, and if left open, it won’t allow you to start the car — pretty safe in that regard, too. The system also comes with the ability to detect leaks and thermal incidents, to immediately cut off fuel supply. Tata Motors has put some thought into making sure that lower cost of ownership doesn’t have to be unsafe; while the CNG versions haven’t been tested by Global NCAP, the overall crash-worthiness of the Tigor is of importance here.

With the ability to be driven on both petrol and CNG, the Tigor iCNG seems to have adequate power for everyday tasks. The 1.2-litre naturally aspirated engine makes 9.68 kg-m of peak torque, which ensures it doesn’t struggle in the city. Depending on the fuel of choice, it’ll deliver 72 bhp when run on CNG, and 85 bhp on petrol. The inclusion of an automated manual transmission is a boon, and it makes city commutes, especially in stop-and-go situations, very easy. The unmanned gear shifts on the 5-speed transmission are smooth, if not fast, and one can definitely live with that. For those looking for more control, you can switch between gears manually, too. The car’s ride and handling setup isn’t bad, either: the Tigor soaks up bumps well and on the move, it does feel well put together.

Like in the EV space, Tata Motors is also doing its bit to democratise the CNG market. The Tigor iCNG AMT proves to be a great example of this, and shows that convenient features like automatic gearboxes shouldn’t be confined to top-spec versions of conventionally powered cars. As an alternative fuel, CNG presents a good way to keep the monthly fuel bill in check, lower your carbon footprint, and enjoy motoring — or in the case of the Tigor iCNG AMT, make that convenient motoring.