Lifestyle SUVs were first introduced by Tata Motors in India. These were the Sierra and later the Safari. The Safari still is a very popular SUV in the country. This time Tata Motors is entering an all-new segment which is the compact SUV space with its upcoming vehicle – Nexon. Will the Tata Nexon be able to rise above its rivals who have established themselves well? Read on to know more about the Tata Nexon as we review this new SUV in the scenic locales of Idukki, Kerala.
The Tata Nexon is based on the new IMPACT design philosphy of Tata, the one which also underlines the Tiago and Tigor. The Tata Nexon has all all new design which is different from anything you have seen on the road. The essence of this design comes from an amalgamation of an SUV and a sports coupe. This gives you a radical looking vehicle, which in my opinion is a highly attractive one, more so because of its styling too.
The front portion sees a huge wide grille that extends front end to end. it has a chrome ‘Humanity line’ on it which stands out. The grille also encompasses the headlamps which are projectors and also have LED daytime running lights in them. The bumper is large and so are the fog lamp bezels. The hood has flared portions which make it look muscular.
The side is quite funky and has a unique element in it. This is a mix of three different colours. The roof and pillars are in Grey colour, the belt line in white and then there is the body colour. Then you get 16-inch alloy wheels which are standard on the Tata Nexon. The wheel arches are flared and the SUV gets all round body cladding.
The rear is also unlike any other vehicle. it has a prominent broad white strip running across the boot lid. The taillamps are small but look attractive. The roof slopes downwards into the rear and there is an intergrated spoiler at the end too. The rear bumper is set pretty high.
Unlike the funky exteriors, the interiors is a different story. It is more subtle and feels sophisticated. The colour theme is a combination of black and grey. The dashboard has an uncluttered look and is clean and neat. The steering wheel is the same as seen on other Tata cars, it gets tilt adjustment and has controls for bluetooth and audio. The instrument cluster is the same found on the Tiago and Tigor.
The highlight is however the 6.5-inch touchscreen which is a floating top one. The good part is that falls in line with your vision and is at the same level as the instrument cluster. This is an HD screen and has very good clarity and sharpness, clearly increasing the premium quotient of the Tata Nexon. This screen bears an infotainment system consisting of a eight-speaker Harman audio system. It also has bluetooth, reverse parking camera and also Android Auto. Apple Car Play is in the works and will be introduced soon.
The Nexon has some decent storage space. The front doors can take 1 litre water bottles.There is also an umbrella holder but frankly it is of little use as it can barely take a small umbrella in. The glovebox is very spacious and comes with a removable separator, It is also a cooled one, hence can keep beverages cool. The floor console has a storage area with a sliding shutter, reminiscent of some premium cars. The armrest also opens and is connected to the storage area.
The boot is a 350 litre one and though not big, can manage your regular weekend luggage. The storage capacity increases to 690 liters after the rear seats are folded. The rear seats have a 60:40 folding option as well.
The front seats of the Nexon are fairly comfortable and come with good bolstering. However the seat fabric could have been better. We also found the stitching to be inconsistent in terms of finish. The rear seats are very comfortable and they better thigh support as well. There is an armrest also present at the back and it has cup holders too plus the headrests are adjustable.
Another class-first feature in the Nexon is a rear AC vent. The vent also has blower control options and is a very useful feature to have.
The Tata Nexon is quite a spacious vehicle overall. While we will not call the space at the rear excellent, the rear legroom is sufficient and it has good knee room as well. Despite the sloping roof, this vehicle has generous head room, which deserves a thums up.
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The Tata Nexon comes with two engine options. The first one is a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine. This is a 3-cylinder unit and its the same one found on the Tiago and Tigor, but gets a turbocharger. The turbocharger helps it derive better performance and it delivers 108bhp of power. The petrol engine feels quite refined on the drive however, it lacks bottom end performance.
The engine is suitable for city driving however, below 1500rpm this engine feels malnutritioned. The clutch action in the petrol also felt quite vague because it gets released suddenly and will take a little getting used to. The clutch is pretty light and that is helpful in city driving however in bumper to bumper traffic the sudden surge of the turbo is not ideal.
The diesel is a 1.5-litre unit and this also delivers 108bhp of power. The diesel feels more powerful and we were mighty impressed by the kind of performance it delivers. What could have been better in the diesel engine is the refinement level because you feel some vibrations (on the pedals) at high revs and also it gets noisy inside the cabin.
The Nexon gets three driving modes which can be selected via a dial on the floor console. These modes are Eco, City and Sport one can choose the mode as per his or her preference. Though the difference is not as pronounced, it is quite evident. This is a segment first feature.
Both engines come mated to a six speed manual gearbox. Now, this is again a segment first feature and is very much welcome. The gear shifts are not as smooth as we would like it to be. There is some amount of notchiness but the good part is that the clutch action is light. There will also be an option of an AMT however, that will come in only by early next year.
The petrol should return a mileage of around 11-14 km/l and the diesel is expected to return around 12-17 km/l. These figures are in real life driving conditions. The company claimed mileage is yet to be declared. Both engines are fairly fuel efficient.
Nexon also gets a class leading 15000 kms service interval. This will help in avoiding frequent services and bring down annual service costs too.
Ride and Handling
Ride quality has been strength of all Tata vehicles and the Nexon follows the same legacy. The ride quality is very superior. It gets a dual path suspension system which is good when driving at slow speeds. It filters out most undulations and potholes on the road and at the same time provides good high speed stability without much roll.
In terms of handling, the Tata Nexon is quite stable and offers good grip on the road. The steering feedback is similar to other Tata vehicles. The steering is light at parking speeds and gets stiffer as speeds rise. However, we found the steering of the petrol version to be a little vague as far as transition of the steering from low speeds to high speeds is concerned. The diesel version had decent steering feedback
The Nexon brings in new excitement into the compact SUV segment it also challenges its competition because although being a sub 4-metre SUV it offers engine options, space and features which are comparable to vehicles from a segment above it, be it features or its radical and futuristic looks, the Tata Nexon looks fresh in most departments. Pricing of this SUV is yet to be declared and will be done once the vehicle is launched in the month of September. What is to be seen is whether the Tata Nexon is as aggressive in its pricing as well.
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