2020 Tata Nexon Test Drive Review
We do an in-depth review of the 2020 Tata Nexon facelift.
Car Tested: 2020 Tata Nexon XZ Plus (O) Dual Tone; Road Test No. 1208; Test Location: Mumbai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 8.22 – 15.41 lakhs
The 2020 Tata Nexon gets some noteworthy changes to its styling along with some much-needed feature additions
Tata Nexon – well this is a car that is popular both offline and online. Since its launch in 2017, it has found a good number of buyers while it also found tons of fans in the YouTube comments section with everyone going gaga over this car. Earlier this year, Tata brought in the facelifted version of the Nexon with cosmetic updates, new features and updated mechanicals. We have the petrol manual with us so let’s check out what is in store.
MotorQuest: The engines of the Nexon have been developed by Tata Motors and AVL. AVL is an Austrian company that also developed the 2.2-litre diesel engine which is used on the Hexa, Safari Storme, Scorpio and XUV500.
Exteriors – On the outside, the 2020 Tata Nexon gets a new grille, new headlamps, new tail lamps, new bumpers with skid plates, new alloy wheels and some new colours and with all these changes the Nexon doesn’t feel like a grown up Indica. The new dark green colour looks quite tasty and reminds me of the Apple iPhone 11 Pro’s Midnight Green colour. The Nexon scored a 5-star rating in the Global NCAP and the updated model gets a new bonnet to meet the pedestrian safety norms. The front bumper gets these tri-arrow elements which we saw on the Nexon EV too. The headlights are now slimmer and the face of the car looks modern and muscular. The compact SUV does get dual-tone colour options and those white strips running across the side and to the rear are still present but the C-pillar is now finished in black. The tailgate gets Nexon lettering in chrome.
Interiors – The layout of the dashboard has been carried over from before but you do get a new steering wheel which looks so much better. The instrument cluster is a digital unit now, like the Tiago and Tigor but I feel the instrument cluster of the Altroz and Nexon EV looks much better and premium. This one looks a bit basic and the layout isn’t the best either. The quality of the fit and finish is good but it could have been better in certain areas. Storage spaces are a bit limited and the number of cubby holes is less so you need to figure out where to keep stuff like your mobile phone and wallet. The doors get umbrella holders too but Tata could have improved the design of the bottle holders.
The cabin could’ve done with more storage spaces at the front
In terms of features, the updated Tata Nexon gets ESP, traction control, roll-over mitigation, auto headlamps, auto wipers, TPMS, and most importantly a sunroof. The Nexon also gets IRA connected car features. The vehicle gets a floating touchscreen and 8 Harman speakers throwing beautiful sound! The display isn’t the best in the segment and a brighter and clearer screen would have been better. The vehicle gets dual front airbags on all variants but rivals have been offering 6 and 7 airbags on top variants!
The Nexon gets seats that are quite comfortable and supportive. There’s enough space at the front and Tata has also worked on the rear seat. The backrest has been reclined a bit and thus the headroom is better than before. Knee room is very good too but the seat isn’t too wide to seat three people in comfort. While the boot is well-sized at 350-litres, some more storage spaces in the cabin would have been welcome.
Performance – Tata has updated the 1.2 turbo petrol engine to produce 120 PS (110 PS earlier) and 170 Nm and it comes with a 6-speed manual or AMT. The petrol engine is a 3-cylinder unit so there’s a minor jerk when you start the car, but refinement improves when you step on the throttle. The older engine’s tuning wasn’t the best but this one feels marginally better. However, the low-end response still feels a bit inconsistent because there are some flat spots in the rev band and the throttle response is plucky. Turbo lag can be felt below 2000 RPM and only when you enter the mid-range does the Nexon start feeling punchy.
If you want to gather pace quickly, you’ll have to work the engine and keep it in the correct RPM band. The engine performs best between 2500-5500 RPM. 0-100 km/hr timings get affected because of the traction control which cannot be switched. In-gear acceleration timings are decent but not at par with other 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines. The 6-speed manual is a good gearbox but the throws are long and the clutch release action is also not completely progressive. ARAI figures are 17.4 km/l for the MT and 16 km/l for the AMT and actual figures are between 9-12 km/l.
The diesel motor delivers punchy performance and is very fun to drive especially when mated to a manual gearbox
The Nexon gets Eco, Comfort and Sport driving modes. These modes complement the engine nicely. Eco mode is better tuned now and works well for traffic commutes while also allowing you to save some fuel monies. Comfort mode ups the power delivery a bit and lends better driveability while Sport mode does make a noticeable different to the way the engine puts out its horses. This mode is more suited for open roads but of course you can even do some sprightly driving in the city with this.
The 1.5-litre diesel engine is now BS6-compliant. It makes 110 PS at 4000 RPM and 260 Nm at 1500 RPM. We haven’t driven the BS6 diesel but we drove the BS4 version for a good amount of time and the engine came across as very torquey. A small amount of lag can be felt but then the mid-range is superb and the car gains pace very nicely. The ARAI figure for the diesel is now 22.4 km/l and the oil-burner is known to be quite efficient in day to day driving.
Driving Dynamics – The pre-facelift Tata Nexon was known for its stellar ride and the new one is barely different. Low-speed ride is a tad stiff over sharp undulations but the ride quality is just beautiful once you get going. The car feels very composed and stable and it will easily say Tata to all its rivals while driving over bad roads. The steering is also one of the best in the segment offering a very good feel and it weighs up brilliantly. The Nexon feels confident to drive and it makes you want to take the longer route home. There are no complaints on the braking front too.
Verdict – The Tata Nexon has always been an impressive package but the new one is way better thanks to all the cosmetic updates, feature additions and mechanical tweaks. The petrol engine could have been tuned better and the fit & finish could have been improved but otherwise there are no major reasons to dislike this vehicle, thus making it one of the strongest contenders in the compact SUV space. We will be driving the Nexon diesel too so stay tuned to MotorBeam for that. Tata!
What’s Not So Cool
Alternatives – Maruti Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Honda WR-V, Mahindra XUV300, Ford EcoSport
Further Reading –