Among the many highlights from 2012 Auto Expo – the two that stood out were Maruti XA-Alpha and Ford EcoSport. These two concepts created huge buzz, and made everyone aware how important this segment is going to be in the country. Soon there were reports that almost every manufacturer had plans to enter the sub 4 meter compact SUV segment. Tata was one of them.
Speaking about how the Nexon was born, it all started about four years ago, when Pratap Bose (Head of Design, Tata Motors) showed a few design sketches of a compact SUV to Tim Leverton (Chief Technology Officer, Tata Motors) over a cup of coffee. Though Mr Leverton did not officially give a green signal, Pratap took his smile as a yes and started further exploration with the sketches. Then 2014 Auto Expo happened. We all saw the Nexon Concept and the way visitors were thronging the Tata stall, some even ready to buy the car, then and there.
This gave Tata enough confidence to go ahead and develop the Nexon futher. At the 2016 Auto Expo, we saw the near-production ready variant. Now, a year and a half later, finally the car has been launched. We have driven the car and here is our detailed Tata Nexon review.
Tata Nexon Exteriors
Tata Nexon is based on the new generation XO platform from Tata Motors, on which their new cars like Bolt, Zest, Tiago, Tigor are built. The exteriors of Nexon bring fresh design elements to the segment. A car like no other, Nexon features Tata’s new IMPACT design philosophy.
The front design sets the tone for Nexon’s SUV claim. Sitting high from the ground, the large premium front grille finished in piano black proudly features the Tata logo in the centre. Below the grille is a chrome slat which extends all the way to the sides, also underlining the stylish headlights.
The headlight features projector headlamps along with LED DRL and turn indicators. In addition to this, there is also fog lights, placed just below the headlight, but inside the muscular front bumper. In order to give the car a high stance, the foglights are placed high, and so is the license plate, which is in placed between the fog lights. Surrounding the foglights on three sides are thick white reflective strips.
Tata Nexon Dimensions
|Ground Clearance||209 mm|
Tata Nexon Exteriors
On the side, the muscular wheel arches are quite evident, and so are the machine cut 16 inch alloys. Then there are large ORVMs, similar to the one’s on other new Tata cars. The ORVM feature LED turn indicators, and can be electrically folded and opened.
Also on the side are plastic claddings, adding to the car’s SUV claim. Below the window line, you will notice the same white reflective strip, which we also saw in the front. This adds to the young character of the car. The roofline is coupe like, seamlessly merging into the car’s rear. You can also notice the grey coloured roof along with roof rails.
Highlight of the rear, is the extended X-shaped white reflective strip, which runs across the width and into the tail lamps. In center of this, is the Tata logo. Tata says that this white reflective material is of premium quality, and will not fade, or scratched.
Just below this extended-X, is a patch finished in piano black, giving the car a similarity to the front design. If you see carefully, the front bumper is also designed in such a way that it forms an extended X design, thanks to the foglights. The floating roof spoiler features LED stop light in the center. The rear features more contours than any other profile, which gives the car a rugged character. The taillights feature LED DRL as well as turn indicators. Just like the doors, the rear hood is also unlocked by pressing button. Below the boot, is a plastic cladding which houses the license plate. Below that is the reflector.
Tata Nexon Interiors
On the inside, you will find a dual tone dashboard finished in quality materials. In fact, the quality of dashboard is best for any Tata car we have seen till date. There is presence of soft-touch materials, leather, splashes of glossy materials, fabric on door panels, etc.
The dual tone dashboard carries a slightly different layout as compared to other Tata cars based on the same platform. The black layer on top is made of special material so as it reflects very less on the windscreen on a sunny day.
The dashboard also houses a first-ever (for Tata) 6 inch touchscreen infotainment system which is powered by Harman. The system is fixed to the dashboard, and is not opening or closing like seen in Audi cars. It is more like the floating screens we have seen in Mercedes cars. Compatible with Android Auto and Apple Carplay (to be launched a little later), the system takes care of navigation, infotainment, music, radio, and other compatible apps. The 8 speakers deliver best in class music experience.
Below the touchscreen system are the central AC vents. Below which are control buttons for the system, in case you do not want to use the touchscreen. Housed inside piano black material, are the controls for the AC unit, USB, AUX-in and 12V charger points. Then comes the gear lever and the drive mode selector knob.
Beside which, is the first in class Sliding Tambour Door. Such a feature has only been seen in cars from the luxury segment until now. Beside this is the center arm rest, which can be opened and use as storage. The handbrake lever is placed next to the tambour sliding door.
Steering wheel is same as that we have seen in new Tata cars. It features controls to your audio system, as well as phone call accept and reject. It also has button to start Voice Command system. The instrument cluster is also the same one which we have seen in other new Tata cars. It features two analogue pods for showing speed and engine rpm. The rpm needle goes red when you go beyond 5k rpm. Nice sporty feature. In between the two pods is the multi-info display screen. It shows your engaged gear, when to change gear, distance to empty, range, average fuel efficiency, fuel level, etc.
Tata Nexon Features
Nexon is the first Tata car to get keyless entry along with start/stop button. In addition to this, it also gets a wearable key. This is in the form of a wrist band, similar to those we have seen from FitBit and the likes.
This wrist wearable key can unlock your car, lock your car, and even start your car. Basically, it is a replacement key which you can use when you don’t want to carry the conventional key. For example, when you are going for a jog, where you don’t want to carry the key. At such times, the wearable key proves its worth. Apart from this, the wearable key is of no other use. It does not show time, neither it is compatible with your phone, nor it has a functioning display.
Apart from the start/stop button, other controls for the driver near the steering wheel are the wiper and headlight control stalks. Sadly, there is no cruise control on offer, neither there is telescopic adjustment for steering. You do get the tilt adjust.
Speaking about the seats, they are only offered in fabric. Leather covers are not on offer. The seats in the Tata Nexon offer good comfort. There is enough cushioning and back support. The recline on rear seats is also fantastic, and you will not feel uncomfortable, even during long road trips. Though, we felt that the front seats could have had a bit wider back support.
The doors are large and feel solid. Large doors allow easy ingress and egress. They come with 1 liter bottle holders in the front, and 500 ml bottle holders in the rear. Apart form this, the glove box offers huge storage space. It also gets a compartment to store your tablet. In addition this, the openable door of the glove box gets smartly designed places to store your wallet, phone, and even cup holders.
Rear passengers get their own AC vents with blower speed control knob. They also get foldable arm rest along with cup holders. The rear seats offer comfortable seating to three adults. There is seat belt for all three. In case you have baby on board, there is ISOFIX as well. All passengers get their own roof mounted handles, in case the ride is bumpy.
Rear seats come with a 60-40 split, for better use of storage space. Sadly, the seats when folded, do not make the storage area a flat bed. But it does give you access to the boot. Folding and making the seat upright is very easy.
Boot space is at 350 liters and if you fold the rear seats, it becomes 690 liters. There is also a large shelf at the rear for storing items. In spite of being a sub 4 meter car, the Tata Nexon has fantastic interior space and utility storage spaces.
Overall, interiors of Nexon offer a very premium and comfortable experience. Be it the cabin cooling or the music experience, it is unlike any other car in the segment.
Tata Nexon Driving Dynamics (Nexon Petrol)
It was exciting to know that Tata had graced the Nexon with a 110 PS petrol engine, and surprising to hear that there will not be a lower version of this car with a smaller/down-tuned petrol engine. So we were wondering how will one engine suit the drivability requirements of a mature driver who wants just to commute, and a hormone-driven chap who wants to flaunt his new good looking car with the accelerator pedal.
Turns out, the petrol Nexon has a calm and steady pickup in the bottom end of the rev range, say until around 2,500 rpm, something which Bruce Banner would prefer, and then when the needle crosses that threshold and opens up the turbo big time, the car pushes you back and reveals the Hulk under the bonnet.
This transition can further be manipulated by the three different drive modes – ECO, City and Sport, which can change the acceleration in a highly noticeable manner. In the ECO mode, the responsiveness of the engine is lowered. This helps achieve higher fuel efficiency. But, kills the fun to drive factor. In the Sport mode, you get the full 110 PS for your use while the fuel efficiency is the lowest in this mode. The City mode is somewhere in between the ECO and Sport drive mode.
Other than changing the drive performance, the drive modes do not alter anything else. Mechanically, the car remains same in all modes. The drive modes changes the ECU, which delivers different performance in different modes.
|Engine||Revotron 1.2L Turbocharged Petrol|
|Max Power output||110 PS @ 5000 rpm|
|Max Torque output||170 Nm @ 2000-4000 rpm|
|Transmission||TA6300 synchromesh – 6 forward + 1 reverse|
Tata Nexon Driving Dynamics (Nexon Diesel)
This was a big surprise! Tata has managed to tune the engine so well that it delivers power as linear as a petrol motor. The turbo lag is hardly noticeable – the progression between the inherent thrust of the engine and the assisted boost provided by the turbocharger is a very soft curve, thus enabling a highly synchronous relationship between the throttle and the actual acceleration of the vehicle.
The engine is gentle in city traffic, until you intentionally stomp the gas pedal, and it is super fun to control when you keep it above 3,000 rpm, say on the ghats. The taller gearing complements the eagerness of the engine, and the combined effort makes for a beast that is really well tamed.
Drive mode functionality remains same as seen in the petrol variant.
|Engine||Revotorq 1.5 Turbocharged Diesel|
|Max Power output||110 PS @ 3750 rpm|
|Max Torque output||260 Nm @ 1500-2750 rpm|
|Transmission||TA6300 synchromesh – 6 forward + 1 reverse|
Tata Nexon Ride, Handling and Braking
The ride quality of the Nexon is something that we admired a lot. The car just glided over undulations and did not cause an extra beat in our hearts, though it probably did to the people who watched us drive on those potholes. On smooth roads, the Nexon was as cozy as a cradle, thanks to the chubby seats and the brilliant NVH control.
The Tata Nexon is easily the best handling car in Tata’s small car portfolio. The 16-inch wheels and the 215 section Goodyear tyres clung onto the road really well while we were testing the car in pouring rain on the suburban roads of Kerala. The car felt so planted on the road, exceeding our expectations of a Tata product. The steering wheel was a bit small for liking, but the input was always precisely transferred to the wheels, making us want to push harder around tight corners. The feedback on the steering wheel was also very progressive, something that a spirited driver would cherish. There is absolutely no negative comment on the steering and handling part of the Tata Nexon.
The same goes with the braking. The car does not stop with a jerk nor it takes time to smooth itself to a halt. The pedals enable a smooth and linear control over stopping the car, that is, you can control it very finely, as well as make the car stop at the very second (not literally) when you give it a forceful step.
Tata Nexon Mileage
|Petrol Manual||16.9 kmpl|
|Diesel Manual||21.5 kmpl|
Tata Nexon NVH
Both the cars have really good isolation from Noise, Vibration and Harshness, but when revved hard, there is an acceptable level of vibration creeping into the cabin from what seems to be the engine. The engine noise inside the car is well suppressed, only the racy tune is heard inside. There is no harshness passed on to the driver or the passengers. This combined with the brilliant ride quality, the Tata Nexon makes a sound appeal as a premium car.
Tata Nexon Safety
Tata Nexon comes with dual front airbags and ABS as standard. In addition to that, its built quality is top notch. The petrol car has a kerb weight of 1,237 kgs while the diesel Nexon has a kerb weight of 1,305 kgs. Other safety features on offer are engine immobilizer, central locking, three point seatbelt, speed sensing auto lock, day/night inside rear view mirror, etc.
Tata Nexon Rivals
Expected to be launched in the sub 4 meter compact SUV segment, Tata Nexon will be competing with a range of cars in the Indian auto industry. Primarily, the Nexon will rival best-sellers and crowd favourite, Maruti Vitara Brezza and the Ford EcoSport. But, in addition to this, we also think that Nexon will also rival the likes of Mahindra TUV300, Honda WR-V.
Tata Nexon Price & Variants
|XE||Rs 5.85 lakh||Rs 6.85 lakh|
|XM||Rs 6.5 lakh||Rs 7.4 lakh|
|XT||Rs 7.3 lakh||Rs 8.15 lakh|
|XZ+||Rs 8.45 lakh||Rs 9.3 lakh|
|XZ+ Dual Tone||Rs 8.6 lakh||Rs 9.45 lakh|
All prices above are introductory, ex-Delhi prices.
Tata Nexon Review Verdict
The Tata Nexon is a game-changing product for Tata Motors, and a trump card in the much preferred segment of cars these days. The Nexon says bring-it-on to the competitors in terms of power, handling, features, driving dynamics and price!
It’s not just ‘Tata Motors’ anymore after we’ve driven the Nexon, its “TATA MOTORS” now!