Tata Tigor EV first drive review

The Tata Tigor EV is one of the most affordable electric cars on the market, but should you buy one?
The Tata Tigor EV is accessible, refined and fairly practical as an urban runabout
The Tata Tigor EV is accessible, refined and fairly practical as an urban runaboutAbhishek Benny

The Tata Tigor EV has existed as a commercial vehicle before, but this new one is a lot different. Firstly, it isn’t meant for the commercial market, the Xpres-T EV will do that job. And secondly, it is far better equipped as far as the internals are concerned. It has a larger 26kWh battery (versus 16.2kWh), higher output of 74bhp (versus 40bhp), a claimed range of 306km (versus 142km) and it ditches the CHAdeMO connector for the more popular CCS-2 connector also seen on the Nexon EV. The Tigor EV is priced between Rs 11.99-13.14 lakh and we’ve got behind the ’wheel to find out if it is any good.

Tata Tigor EV: Looks and features

There are some new cosmetic additions to the Tigor EV, as opposed to the standard Tigor. Firstly, there’s a different bumper up front with tri-arrow cutouts. The funky pattern is also featured where the grille would traditionally be and aside from this, there is a blue line that runs across from one headlight to the other, blue accents in the 14-inch rims, an ‘EV’ badge on the fender, while at the rear it is primarily the lack of a tailpipe and the ‘EV’ and ‘Ziptron’ badges that will set you apart from the regular Tigors. This top-spec XZ+ DT variant also gets a black roof, LED DRLs, projector headlamps and is finished in a lovely shade of paint called Signature Teal Metallic.

On the inside, it is the lack of a traditional gear lever that gives it away as the EV, while the rest of the changes are centered around addings hints of blue in the cabin and the instrument cluster. This similarity to the standard Tigor is also a good thing because it means the EV packs features that are on-par with its ICE rivals like automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a cooled glove box and connected car tech, among other features.

Tata Tigor EV: Driving impressions

Off the bat, things look good for the Tigor EV. This is already the most refined car in its segment, thanks to the polite hum of the e-motor. It is also responsive, but just about. It isn’t like a Tesla. Not even like a Nexon EV. In the regular drive mode, the acceleration is best defined as smooth. It may come off as a bit dull at first, especially if you watch a lot of drag races involving Teslas, but then again the Tigor EV isn’t geared for the enthusiast. Tata claims a 0 to 60kmph time of 5.7 seconds and it can cross the 120kmph mark, though it does feel out of breath post that. At high speed, the Tigor EV doesn’t feel properly tied down and undulations do unsettle it. At lower speeds, the ride is a touch firm, though like all other Tatas the Tigor EV handles bumps like a champ. And for those skeptical about putting an EV through less-than-ideal road and weather conditions, the battery pack is IP67 certified and has been through plenty of tests to give the Tigor EV a crash safety rating of four stars from GNCAP.

Tata Tigor EV: Real world range

The electric motor on the Tigor EV produces 73bhp of peak power and 170Nm of peak torque
The electric motor on the Tigor EV produces 73bhp of peak power and 170Nm of peak torqueAbhishek Benny

After a full day of driving we managed to get the battery down to 11 per cent after clocking over 140km. Tata’s engineers told us that it goes into a sort of ‘limp home mode’ below 10 per cent, which we were disappointed for not having experienced, but in that low-energy state you’d easily get to do another 30km. 170km might not sound like a lot, but if you consider we were driving it like a regular car with a mix of driving styles and even spent close to an hour mashing the throttle from one end of an abandoned road to another, it is indicative of a real-world range well above 200km. Before we set out in the morning, the indicated range said 255km and while that is already a full 51km lower than the claimed 306km of range, you need to remember that the claimed 306km is done on the archaic MIDC cycle. Out in the real world, you could get 255km if you drive cautiously or be assured of at least 150km even if you’ve got a heavy right foot.

Tata Tigor EV: Charging

When you do eventually run out of battery in the Tigor EV there’s plenty of chargers to juice up at, especially if you live in a big city. The Tata Power EZ Charge app shows about 50 charging stations in Mumbai, while second tier cities tend to have between 2 and 10. We can also tell you that the experience at these charging stations is great. It is all app-based and the app is very intuitive. You won’t be hanging around at the charging station too long either, since the Tigor EV fast charges from 0 to 80 per cent in just over an hour. Of course, there are also many non-Tata chargers across the country and customers can also get a charger installed at their home free of cost which takes under nine hours to charge from 0 to 80 per cent.

Tata Tigor EV: Verdict

The top-spec XZ+ DT variant of the Tata Tigor EV comes at a price tag of Rs 13.14 lakh (ex-showroom)
The top-spec XZ+ DT variant of the Tata Tigor EV comes at a price tag of Rs 13.14 lakh (ex-showroom) Abhishek Benny

At a premium of roughly Rs 3 lakh over the top-spec Swift Dzire (when you take on-road prices into account) for the range-topping XZ+ DT variant, opting for the Tigor EV isn’t a complete no-brainer. It is less spacious and less practical than the Swift. But where it makes sense is the savings in the long run: it will be far more affordable, especially with how fuel prices are spiking these days. There’s also the fact that it is quieter, has features which are on par for the course and of course, it is good for the environment. The real world range may limit its usage to being an urban runabout, but as an urban runabout, few cars do better and give you as novel a driving experience at this price!

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