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The image of a Porsche Cayenne, a symbol of unbridled V8 power and luxury, sporting a clunky CNG kit in the back is a sight that would raise eyebrows even in the most fuel-conscious circles. Yet, it’s a stark illustration of the growing popularity of CNG in India, a trend fueled by undeniable economic advantages. From humble hatchbacks to aspirational sedans, more and more vehicles are sporting these aftermarket conversions, often at the cost of their precious boot space. Anyone who’s ever precariously balanced a suitcase on a taxi’s roof rack due to a CNG tank occupying the entire trunk can attest to this inconvenient reality.

However, the CNG landscape is evolving, and innovative players like Tata Motors are recognising the need for smarter solutions. Enter their iCNG technology, a game-changer that addresses the space crunch head-on. Instead of the bulky single tanks that devour cargo space, the iCNG system ingeniously utilises two slimmer cylinders tucked discreetly under the boot floor. This clever packaging allows you to retain a significant portion of your luggage capacity, ensuring your weekend getaways or grocery runs aren’t compromised by your choice of fuel.

Tata’s iCNG solution is more than just a space-saving marvel; it’s a testament to the growing maturity of the CNG ecosystem in India. Gone are the days of quirky aftermarket conversions and compromised practicality. Today, car manufacturers like Tata are actively integrating CNG technology into their vehicles, offering factory-fitted solutions that are not only convenient but also ensure optimal performance and safety.

The Tata Tigor iCNG isn’t just a CNG car; it’s a flex-fuel hybrid if I may call it that, offering the versatility of both petrol and CNG powertrains in one package. This duality allows you to make your fuel choice according to your individual needs. Whether you prioritise the lower running costs of CNG for daily commutes or the extended range and highway prowess of petrol, the Tigor iCNG adapts to your lifestyle.

Now, let’s talk about the Tigor iCNG’s new feature: its first-in-segment automatic transmission. The Tigor iCNG embraces modern convenience with a 5-speed AMT, while retaining the fuel efficiency benefits of CNG. While the shifts might not be lightning-fast like a dual-clutch gearbox, they are smooth and comfortable enough for everyday driving, eliminating the fatigue of manual gear changes.

Under the hood lies a 1.2-litre Revotron engine that seamlessly switches between petrol and CNG modes. In CNG mode, it delivers 72 bhp, offering ample power for city commutes. Craving a highway escape? Switch to petrol mode for 85 bhp and enjoy spirited performance. The 9.68 kgm torque remains constant, ensuring punchy acceleration regardless of your fuel choice.

The Tigor iCNG’s performance offers a sweet spot for its segment. While not a powerhouse, it delivers adequate power for city commutes thanks to the 1.2-litre Revotron engine. And in stop-and-go traffic is the new AMT transmission is a blessing. Its automated gear changes save you in traffic, making urban driving significantly more relaxed. We did not get enough time to do a popper mileage run so further down the line we will be able to get you those figures.

Impressively, the added weight of the CNG tanks doesn’t seem to faze the handling. The Tigor iCNG absorbs bumps and potholes well, maintaining a composed ride quality. On top of that, the car feels well put together, inspiring confidence on the road.

Stepping inside, the cabin largely mirrors the regular Tigor, offering a familiar and airy space. The CNG presence is subtly revealed by the dedicated button on the console and the dual fuel gauge. Thankfully, infotainment duties are handled by a user-friendly seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Two thoughtful safety features caught our attention: the fuel lid if left open the car shuts off and the conveniently placed CNG filler next to the petrol inlet, eliminating the need to open the bonnet which is the case in other CNG-powered cars.

Visually, the Tigor iCNG remains largely unchanged, maintaining the recognizable silhouette of its petrol and electric siblings. The only subtle hint of its CNG prowess lies in the discreet “iCNG” badge adorning the rear. This understated approach might appeal to those who prefer a cleaner aesthetic without sacrificing the car’s practicality.

Starting at Rs. 8.85 lakh (ex-showroom) for the XZ trim, the Tigor iCNG AMT emerges as a compelling option for budget-conscious urban drivers. The combination of lower running costs associated with CNG fuel, the convenience of an automatic transmission, and a well-equipped cabin makes it a practical and comfortable daily companion. If your driving habits involve frequent commutes within the city, the Tigor iCNG AMT’s fuel efficiency and automatic convenience could translate to significant savings and reduced stress. While not a performance powerhouse, it offers adequate power for daily needs, and the well-sorted suspension ensures a comfortable ride. So, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly and practical city car with the ease of an automatic transmission, the Tigor iCNG AMT deserves a closer look, especially considering its competitive price tag and fuel cost advantage.