Tata Nexon Facelift Review & First Drive

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Tata Nexon Overview

The Tata Nexon has been a runaway hit for the Indian carmaker, and now comes the much anticipated and awaited Tata Nexon AMT or Hyprdrive. Call it a crucial piece in the turnaround strategy at the brand and you won’t be wrong. What began with the Tiago in good measure in 2016, was partially carried on by the Hexa and Tigor, has been thrust in the right direction by the Tata Nexon. The subcompact SUV has sold over 25,000 units in its first 6 month since launch. And so it’s only natural Tata wants to expand on that. So as was always expected, the Nexon now goes automatic with an AMT or automated manual transmission. Or as Tata likes to call it – Hyprdrive! So let’s dive right into it. The Nexon gets a 6-speed AMT gearbox. And like its manual counterpart the AMT also has the three driving modes, namely Sport, City and Eco – which you can switch on the fly using a rotary dial placed between the front seats.Check for Tata Nexon price in Bangalore at Tryaldrive.

Tata Nexon Design

Smashing! The Tata Nexon is one car that has stayed true to its concept roots. Everything including the stance and overall design language can be related to the concept. In fact, a few people in and around Kochi asked us if this is a prototype car that we’re driving around. The Impact Design, as Tata likes to call it, has been working quite well with all of its recent launches like the Tiago, Tigor and Hexa. The black honeycomb grille is a nice element with a chrome outline to it, flanked by the tear drop projector headlamps. These lights have a LED strip that doubles up as a DRL. Unlike the Brezza’s units, these cannot be switched off. The air intake too is large and above it, pushed to the sides are eyebrow-shaped enclosures that house the fog lamps. The lower part of this nacelle is a white ceramic sash which does its job quite well in bringing your attention to the car.

Moving on to the side, the coupe-like roofline looks really cool. The ceramic sash used for the fog lamps too has been used here for the rising belt line. The wheel arches aren’t unusually flared but house 16-inch wheels as standard. Tata Motors’ designers have used a bluish grey colour for the Elite i20-like floating roof. At the rear, the pinched lines create a harmonious effect to portray what will be one of the most attractive derrieres on any Indian car. The lower part of the bumper has a black diffuser, which is also shared with the Tiago and its derivatives.

If only looks could sell, the Nexon will be a top seller. However, the Nexon doesn’t look like a true-blue SUV and instead feels like a hatchback on stilts. Remember the Vista D90 Xtreme concept?

Tata Nexon Cabin

We are used to seeing interiors that are a big step up from Tata, especially on cars like the Tiago and the Hexa, and here on the Nexon, the carmaker has taken yet another little step up. The steering wheel and the instrument panel may have been carried over from the Tiago and Tigor, but the new central console with its gloss black and metallic finish and the layered dash create quite an impact. The dash is well finished, there are plenty of tastefully highlighted chrome bits, and the vents, glovebox release button and starter button are well integrated too. Material quality on the whole is good and the dash design is attractive, but the panel gaps are nowhere near as tight-fitting or consistent as those on some top German and Japanese cars. And there are some other odd bits, like the blank area between the air-con knobs, where you’d expect to see a temperature or blower speed display. The air-con settings, among other items, are displayed on the ‘floating’ screen at the top of the centre console. Tata says the screen’s high position minimises ‘eyes off the road time’ and it does display the essentials in clear sight.

The 6.5-inch screen is a touch-unit and is superior to the one on the Tigor and Hexa in size and response, but it’s not the largest or most responsive by class standards. However, if you can get used to that little bit of lag in touch inputs, you will like the screen and user interface. The infotainment system does without onboard sat-nav but there’s Android Auto for navigation requirements. Apple CarPlay will be added soon, though Apple maps does not work in India. We missed having an integrated navigation system with on-board maps as in areas where there is no 3G or any network, Google maps tends to fumble. We should have downloaded the maps of our test drive route, which is one solution. We must mention 8 speaker Harman system which is simply outstanding and gives you a level of sound quality never seen (or heard) before in this class of car.

There are plenty of well-executed, clever touches in the Nexon’s cabin. The massive cooled glovebox has recesses for holding cans, the front door pads have a smart holder for small folding umbrellas with channels to drain out water, and even the elbow box comes with a magnetic lid. There is plenty to speak of about the centre space between the seats as well. The offset-to-the-left (strangely) hand brake lever frees some amount of usable space, and Tata has used this space to create a storage area that runs all the way back to the elbow box. The sliding shutter that conceals this space is a real premium touch; the likes of which you’d expect to see in a Jaguar! Wish the flip-up cup holders inside were easier to operate though. Of the other things, some of the buttons on the dashboard are a bit small, while the rotary drive mode selector, borrowed from the Hexa, is too large for its limited purpose. The reverse camera could do with a few more pixels too, though the dynamic guidelines are handy.

You sit at a nice height in the Nexon and the driver gets a good view out, but the thick A-pillar can be obtrusive at crossroads. The front seats are large and supportive for even tall drivers, but, unfortunately, the steering doesn’t adjust for reach. Thankfully, the footwell is wide and accommodating, and that’s not something you could say about the other models built on Tata’s X1 platform such as the Zest and Bolt. Tata had to altogether reposition the ducting for the climate control system to this end.

While getting into the rear section of the Nexon’s cabin, you’ll find yourself lowering your head to avoid contact with the lowish roof, and once inside, the relatively small windows also don’t give the same sense of space as you get in a Brezza. Make no mistake though – the Nexon is properly roomy with ample legroom and surprisingly good headroom too. You could squeeze in three adults in the back but the defined seat contours make it rather clear this is basically a four-seater. Thigh support is excellent, with a long seat squab and you even get an air-con vent in the back, along with your own blower control, which is a first in this class. However, in a bid to create more headroom, the back rest is a bit too reclined, but still not uncomfortably so.

As for luggage space, at 350 litres, the Nexon’s boot can hold quite a lot. The loading lip is a bit high but there is no shortage of space. The rear seats also split 60:40 and can be folded flat to free up as much as 690 litres of luggage space. Tata designers say that’s enough to hold a washing machine in its box; we wouldn’t disagree.To know more info on Tata Nexon visit Emikolo

Tata Nexon Performance

Tata is offering all-new petrol and diesel engines in the Nexon. Both can be upgraded to BS-VI norms as and when the mandate comes in. While the basic architecture of the 1.2-litre indirect injection turbo-petrol engine is the same as the Tiago’s 3-cylinder motor, Tata says that they have used all the know-how from the Zest’s turbopetrol unit and incorporated it here. So while the block remains the same, the engine is lighter than the Zest’s turbocharged unit and also makes 110PS of power and 170Nm of torque. These figures in the compact SUV segment are lower than that of only the EcoSport’s 125PS turbo-petrol engine.

The diesel, in the meanwhile, is a 1.5-litre unit that makes the same amount of power as the petrol but a significantly higher 260Nm of torque. Both the engines are mated to 6-speed manual transmissions, with AMTs to be slotted in at a later date. Tata also offers the aforementioned Drive modes in both the variants. The Drive modes can be accessed via the rotary knob and can be changed on the move. The good part about this dial is that whatever mode you’ve selected, there will be an audio note telling you the selection and the colour of the infotainment system too changes a la Mini Cooper style. The dial also remembers the last selection made and sticks to it even after the car has been switched off. The 110PS/260Nm 4-cylinder motor is good for cruising and is claimed to deliver a higher fuel efficiency than the BrezzaThe 110PS/260Nm 4-cylinder diesel motor is good for cruising and is claimed to deliver a higher fuel efficiency than the Brezza

We had a go at the turbopetrol engine first. At start-up, the engine has decent refinement; however, on the move, it is audible. There is some amount of turbolag and the motor isn’t that happy sitting at high revs. What it is happy doing is cruising. At around 1,600rpm, the engine is doing 100 clicks in top gear. Good for those efficiency numbers then. It is also tractable and even at a higher gear and low revs, the engine is happy. For example – 40kmph in fourth gear is possible and the engine doesn’t really protest. But if you want quick acceleration, you need to drop a couple of gears before making any progress. The hairpins up Idukki dam were taken in second gear; however, the moment brisk acceleration was called for uphill, I had to downshift. Rowing through the gears though is pretty much fun as the gearbox is slick. Vibrations are present though and manifest through the pedals and gear lever. However, they aren’t at an alarming level.

The new turbo-petrol engine isn’t the same one used in the Zest. It is lighter and also makes 20PS more. The torque rating is 170NmThe new 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo-petrol engine isn’t the same one used in the Zest. It is lighter and also makes 20PS more. The torque rating is 170Nm The diesel, in the meanwhile, sounds as refined as the Brezza’s unit. It, however, is the punchier of the two motors. The clutch is light and has a short travel while the gearshift too is smooth. Surprisingly, the diesel is a bit more eager to rev than the petrol. Tractability remains common for both with the exception that hurried progress doesn’t really require dropping a gear in the diesel. This will be the engine to watch out amongst the two. It has less turbolag and gets the job done in a better fashion.

This knob replaces the earlier button system that allowed one to select the Drive modes. it is easy to use and can be used on the move. Plus you get an audio reminder of the mode you’ve selectedThis knob replaces the earlier button system that allowed one to select the Drive modes. It is easy to use and can be used on the move. Plus you get an audio reminder of the mode you’ve selected, and the mode stays on till you manually change it. This stays good even after the car is switched off

The Drive modes do alter the engine mapping and throttle setting, but over the years Tata Motors has refined it. The Sport mode no longer feels snappy. Instead it is quite linear. Around 70 per cent of our first drive review was done in this mode. City is the apt one for err…in the city while Eco dulls out the throttle response and requires a bit more of patience when hurried progress is to be made.

Tata Nexon Driving

Where the Nexon scores top marks, however, is in the ride and handling department. Ride quality isn’t pillow-soft and you do feel some of the larger bumps, but the suspension rounds off sharp edges brilliantly. The little bit of stiffness in the suspension also means there is not much pitching or bobbing and body roll is well contained despite the Nexon’s height. There is a bit more up-down movement in the lighter petrol car, but on the whole ride quality is really impressive. The steering, borrowed from the Zest, is spot-on and one of the best electrically assisted units we’ve experienced in this class of car. It has a reassuring on-centre feel and weights up perfectly as you pile on the lock. All of this translates to brilliant overall stability, and with a best-in-class 209mm of ground clearance, and lots of wheel travel you really don’t need to slow down for potholes.

The stiff chassis, impressive brakes and generous grip from the fat 215/60 R16 tyres give a lot of confidence through corners. It doesn’t feel as keen to drive as an EcoSport and isn’t as surefooted either, but work up a rhythm, keep the engines in their sweet spot and you’ll be nicely rewarded.

Tata Nexon Safety

Tata Nexon comes packed with a plethora of safety features such as dual front airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Immobilizer and Seatbelt with pretensioners and load limiters as standard. The high-end variants also boast of Park Assist with Camera, Front fog lamps with cornering assistance, rear fog lamps and speed dependent auto door locks features.

Tata Nexon Price in Bangalore

Tata Nexon On Road Price is 7,88,776/- and Ex-showroom Price is 6,50,036/- in Bangalore. Tata Nexon comes in 5 colours, namely Vermont Red,Moroccan Blue,Glasgow Grey,Calgary White,Seattle Silver. Tata Nexon comes with FWD with 1198 CC Displacement and 3 Cylinders with Maximum Power 108 bhp@5000 rpm and Peak Torque 170 Nm@1750-4000 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Tata Nexon comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .

Tata Nexon Bottomline

The Tata Nexon is a very good effort from the manufacturer. It is sub-4m, has the good looks to boost its sales, space inside the cabin is good too and the engines also deliver decent performance. Knowing Tata’s pricing strategy, expect the Nexon petrol to start from Rs 6.5 lakh with the top-spec diesel will be priced just shy of Rs 10 lakh. At this point, it will undercut its biggest rival, the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, by a good Rs 50,000. Plus the Brezza still doesn’t come with a petrol engine.

Tata Motors will launch the Nexon in India this September. The company says that they have already started taking bookings and by the time the car actually goes on sale, most of the small issues we mentioned in this review will be ironed out. Back to our question then. Will the Nexon be the next one? It will be for Tata Motors but maybe the Brezza is safe at its position for now.

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