Performance – The three vehicles in the comparison cannot be directly compared. We’ll pit the Ford EcoSport AT with the Nexon petrol and the Maruti Vitara Brezza with the Nexon diesel. Starting off with the Ford EcoSport, this is clearly a better car when compared to the Nexon petrol all thanks to the traditional torque converter gearbox that it uses. The Nexon, meanwhile, gets a 6-speed AMT transmission. Gearshifts are slick and seamless in the EcoSport while the Nexon’s AMT suffers from a lot of lag. On full throttle, the AMT just doesn’t respond! However, the Nexon gets first-in-segment drive modes – City, Eco and Sport. The 1.5-litre petrol engine in the EcoSport feels very punchy throughout and via the paddle shifters, you can also manually take control of things, making the car a lot of fun to drive.
The AMT gearbox in the Nexon feels sluggish when compared to the Vitara Brezza’s AMT unit
Shifting focus to the diesel, the Nexon looks good on paper (110 PS and 260 Nm vs the Vitara Brezza’s 90 PS and 200 Nm) and also has more punch but sadly the gearbox tuning isn’t all that great. The Vitara Brezza’s AMT unit feels way better than the Nexon. The shifts are fluid and better when compared to the Nexon. In fact, it feels so good that it ends up masking the turbo lag which is inherent with the 1.3-litre diesel mill. One good thing about the Vitara Brezza is that, in the manual mode, it will hold on to a gear and not upshift until and unless you do so. In terms of NVH, the diesel Nexon is better than the diesel Vitara Brezza whereas the petrol EcoSport excels over the petrol Nexon. Coming to fuel efficiency, it is the diesel Vitara Brezza that returns more than the diesel Nexon and when it comes to petrol, it is the Nexon that is more fuel efficient than the EcoSport.
Driving Dynamics – Tata might have lost when it comes to the transmission but where it definitely surpasses both the Maruti and the Ford is in the ride quality department. The Nexon is just phenomenal when it comes to riding comfort as it absorbs almost everything in its stride. Meanwhile, the Vitara Brezza has a stiff low-speed ride and the EcoSport too isn’t very compliant. But due to the stiffness in the Vitara Brezza and the EcoSport, both of them offer good high-speed stability. Wind and tyre noise is better contained in the EcoSport followed by the Vitara Brezza whereas the Nexon comes in last.
The steering in the EcoSport offers a lot of feel and feedback while body roll also is best contained in the Ford. All these attributes make the car very predictable and controllable. The Nexon is the heaviest car in the comparison and that does make it less fun around corners. Brakes are best in the EcoSport while the Nexon and Vitara Brezza offer similar stopping power.