Let me come out straight and say it, ever since the Tata Nexon came out, I loved it. The compact SUV hit the sweet spot of being butch and suave at the same time. Inside it was nothing like a Tata of the past, as one friend looked at the floating infotainment touchscreen and pointed out that it looked like his Mercedes CLA’s unit. But overall I have always loved the price. Tata got that pretty bang on. It could appeal to someone who likes the design and also to someone who is buying the car with the ‘budget thinking cap’ on. And now Tata has sweetened the deal for many city slickers like us. Don’t want a six-speed manual diesel engine? Here’s something for you. We have finally got our hands on the petrol AMT variant to find out more.
Now what do we have here? We have the Tata Nexon XZA petrol variant. The first thing you notice is with this variant, Tata has done away with the white color strip that ran across the doors, the rear and the also encompass the fog lamp housing in the front. They have been replaced with the color gray. This I must say is an improvement with the white really shouting and dividing the cars parts into different portions earlier. Now it all comes together more effortlessly. And with the Etna Orange color and the Sonic Silver dual tone option, the grey acts like a bridge between these two color transitions. This is the first time the paintjob of the car looks like it’s been given the same amount of attention as the rest of the design. The projector headlights with the day-time running lamps look brilliant. The black grill could be easily done in grey or chrome too, but it looks restrained and very classy in black. The large rear view mirrors with their integrated turn signals look great and have from the drivers view provide excellent visibility. Below all of that are the tyres. The 16-inch chunky alloys look great and proportionate to the size of the car and add to the superb 209mm ground clearance.
Now I’m one of those guys who still like his SUVs a bit boxy. But with the Nexon and all its aspects and design cues coming together, the car leaves an impression on you. Like the rear tail lamps are a favorite. I and Rachit (hosts our YouTube channel) have often discussed how they look like the eyes of a devil or some dangerous animal at night. In the end let me just say, while driving back at night in the Nexon after testing, I was waiting at a red light and a traffic constable gave me a thumbs up. Afterwards, when I rolled the window down to talk to him, he told me it’s one of the brightest and best looking cars he has seen all day. He guessed the price to be around 20 to 25 lakhs. When I told him the real price and the equipment on-board, he said ‘he would love to own such a car’. This goes on to show how the car has caught on and people like the Nexon’s big and sculpted design. Now let’s get into the interior.
Once you have pressed the rubber button on the door handle and swung the door open, you climb into the Nexon which has keyless entry (I wish all modern cars should have this feature as standard). Inside, the ambiance of the exterior is carried on. This is my favorite part of the Nexon. It’s plush and well built. Nothing rattles. The floating touch screen is a beautiful. The fabric seats are good enough and offer good shoulder and thigh support. On the inside, the car comes with tablet-touchscreen display by Harmann with steering mounted audio controls, climate control, electrically folding wing mirrors, height adjustable driver seat and folding rear seats as well. It gets twin-airbags in the front and ABS with EBD as a part of the safety pack. The interior is one of the safest in the country too. The Nexon recently got a 4 star Euro-NCAP rating. This really makes the Tata Nexon a perfect buy for the city.
The Nexon AMT variant gets the same Multi-Drive modes (Eco, City and Sport) from the manual variant and also a creep function, which is a boon in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine develops the same 110hp and 170Nm of torque.
Engage the Eco mode and you will see the shifts happening earlier and the transition between gears becoming much smoother as compared to the City mode. The Sport mode is definitely the one which most drivers will prefer as the gearbox holds on to a gear much longer than in other modes. Move the gear lever to the left, to manual mode, and you can take control of the shifts. This doesn’t make gear shifting any quicker. On the other hand, it delays in upshifts as well as downshifts when in manual mode and I found it best to leave it in Sports, which is the best mode to be in.
Overall I would say the diesel is way better in the manual and AMT variants and I personally love the six-speed manual offered on the Nexon. When you drive the petrol AMT you will find yourself switching between Eco, City and Sport modes constantly, to find the sweet spot. I think the best mode is City for daily use, with Sport left for spirited drives on the highway and Eco for when you’re low on fuel and need the car changing into higher gears fast. And to be honest apart from my love for the diesel Nexon variants, this car is aimed at you city-dwellers. This car is quiet at 60 and even at 80 with the radio on; you don’t need to raise your voice to talk to fellow passengers. It’s easy to manure in traffic with the SUV body making its presence felt and you as a driver will not find it any more difficult than a small hatchback.
Another thing, Hill-hold assist is a welcome feature on the AMT variants and it eliminates the use of handbrake on inclines
The petrol Nexon is cheaper to buy than the diesel with the prices starting at 8.70 lakhs (On-road Mumbai) for the XMA variant and going up to 11.23 lakhs for the top end XZA Dual Tone option. This makes it cheaper than many compact sedans and boasts a spec sheet of a premium sedan. If you want a feature loaded big car with a automatic gearbox and a petrol engine and a very high safety rating, you have no better option than the Nexon Petrol AMT.
You can also check out our video on the AMT petrol version of the Nexon-