When we started doing this ‘living with’ series five years ago, then called ‘five labours’, the first ever car we tested was a diesel-powered Tata Tigor. Now, in our standard reviews, we place a larger emphasis on drive experience, but with this series, we wanted to answer questions about the finer details that would emerge if we trained our thought process to focus on everyday car usage. The Tigor in that test emerged as a car that could do everything with the capacity of a mid-level player, i.e. jack of all trades and master of none.
Well, five years on, life has come a full circle with the Tigor returning to the test bench, but in moving with the times, as an EV. This now poses two questions to us. Has the Tigor gotten easier to live with, and what are the challenges/benefits to having it in your life as an electric vehicle?
What’s on the feature list?
The car that we have reviewed is a top-spec XZ+ variant with all the bells and whistles Tata offers with the Tigor EV. This list includes a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, climate control, a fully digital instrument cluster, a reverse camera with guidelines and Zconnect connected car technology. On the safety front, you get dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, a stability programme, speed-sensitive door locks and seat-belt pre-tensioners.
Now, given where the Tigor EV stands in terms of pricing, the feature list is, for want of better words, “on par for the course”. It’s got everything you would expect from an EV at this price but lacks feel-good elements. It doesn’t have a sunroof, ambient lighting, rear AC vents, leatherette upholstery or LED headlamps. The presence of the electric powertrain balances this out in terms of cost, but we wish that Tata would offer some of these features even as optional extras for those with an extended budget.
How practical is it?
In our previous deep dive, we discovered that the standard Tata Tigor had nine useable spaces, of which six were bottle holders, and the rest were spaces around the centre console. The holders are unchanged and can still hold only 500ml bottles. But, this one ups the ante as there is no gear lever, thus adding a larger storage pocket under the dashboard. The glove box is large with a cooling function but is narrow, limiting the ability to put large objects into it.
When Tata launched the car in 2017, it termed this design a styleback. It gave the car a unique rear look and a high-loading lip with a storage capacity of 419 litres. The Tigor EV has retained the styling and high loading lip but with a reduced boot capacity. It’s down to 316 litres, which is further reduced as the spare tyre has been stacked vertically along with the charge cable bag. One way around this would be to keep a puncture repair kit instead of the spare, as the tyres offered with the Tigor EV are tubeless.
What’s the range efficiency like?
We conducted a real-world range rest where we drove the car from a 100 per cent state of charge all the way down to zero per cent. In this, it achieved 224km, which is impressive considering that the company claims an ARAI-certified range of 306km.
You will not be doing great distances with a car like the Tigor EV; thus, this car is a viable option if your weekly commute is under 200km. A full charge on a 25kW DC charger takes 65 minutes while plugging into a 15amp charger would juice the car up in 8.45 hours.
How does it perform on the daily commute?
The Tigor EV makes city driving easy thanks to many factors at play. This includes the compact dimensions, easy-to-use steering, two-pedal nature and instant torque availability thanks to the electric power train.
Moreover, the car is large enough to have space inside but not so big that you can’t slink your way around traffic. The edges of the car are easy to judge, so parking the car is not difficult and this, combined with a light and easy-to-use power steering, makes it quick work in tight commutes. The steering is devoid of feel but works perfectly well in low-speed driving scenarios.
It’s an automatic, something that can come as a boon in bumper-to-bumper traffic when you have to inch along slowly. Finally, the electric powertrain’s instant torque delivery overcomes the ICE car’s struggle to carry a full load up an incline. As a city car, it is also relatively cost-effective to run. In our real-world tests, it used 26 units for a full charge and even at Rs 12 a unit, that’s only Rs 312 for a full recharge. That works out to just Rs 1.15 per kilometre, which is much lower than any ICE-powered version of the car.
How is it for a weekend with the gang?
As we have already highlighted, the range is not too big, but with a blooming charging infrastructure around the country and a little route planning, this car could perform as a capable weekend getaway machine.
In terms of cabin space, we have already detailed practicality, and from the pictures, you can see that there’s enough space for four to travel in decent comfort. This is despite the fact that the floor is higher than that of the standard car due to the batteries underneath. Where you are going to struggle is with the boot, and even if you get rid of the spare tyre and charge cable, you will still be pressed for space for luggage for four people.
You get a standard D mode which is fine for city conditions, especially if you are in bumper-to-bumper situations. However, out on the highway, you would find yourself quickly switching to S mode, in which you get quicker responses from the throttle and access to all the torque. In fact, the D mode gets tedious even in city conditions, and you would find yourself in S mode most of the time behind the wheel.
It picks up speed quickly, and once there, you don’t have to put in much effort to keep going or make quick overtakes. You also get a decent level of regeneration which, if careful with your actions, can return a good amount of charge to the batteries over a long distance.
What’s the deal with the warranty?
Tata offers a two-year or 1.25 lakh kilometre warranty on the vehicle, while the battery and motor get an eight-year or 1.60 lakh kilometre warranty. In both cases, it is down to whichever comes earlier.
Can you live with one?
Yes, you can. When we evaluated the Tigor in 2017, we found it to be a jack of all trades (in this case, labours) but master of none. This one picks up on all the cues of the ICE car but adding the electric powertrain has given it an edge in terms of running costs and green credentials. At the time of our journey with the Tigor EV, it was priced in the range of Rs 12.49 lakh to Rs 13.46 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the XZ Plus Dual tone model. Depending on the state, you also get government discounts on various charges.
Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi