Tata Nexon Long Term Review
The Nexon offers strong performance along with space and practicality
After driving the Honda WR-V for quite some time, I get my hands on the Tata Nexon as my daily driver. The first made in India car to achieve a 5 star safety rating from Global NCAP. I feel proud and safe at the same time to drive this compact SUV. Our test car is a diesel manual XZ+ variant in Moroccan Blue shade, which grabs some eyeballs with its bright colour but I personally like the subtle grey, silver and black colour options, it looks mature in those shades.
Switching from a Honda to Tata, I observed a few things, both positive and negative. First up the doors, they feel solid and make a good thud sound unlike the Honda, which felt a tad lightly built. The interior looks more pleasing to the eye having a tasteful design with a floating screen. The Nexon is wide and feels quite spacious inside. The seating position is high and offers good visibility. Also, the range of driver seat height adjust is quite long. Short drivers will appreciate the height and won't experience any discomfort with the body to steering and pedals angle with maxed out height. However, there are some typical Tata inconsistencies in some of the interior bits and the electricals.
There are some rough edges like the storage panel behind the gear lever which is narrow and quite deep that feels a bit odd to operate if you keep small things in that space. There is no cup holder at the front. The handbrake position is odd, seems more focussed towards LHD markets. The door unlock button and boot release button is closely stacked, sometimes I open the boot by mistake instead of unlocking the doors. Some of the switches are inconsistent to use, like the electrically folding ORVMs switch, which doesn't always work with a single tap. Soon after starting the car, when you put it in reverse, the camera takes a while to show up, which is a bummer when you are in a hurry. In the dark, the backlit buttons on the centre console flicker and the fog lamps go on and off at times. However, keep it in mind that our test car belongs to initial production days of the Nexon and these media vehicles take quite a lot of beating.
The ConnectNext infotainment system is quite user friendly and offers great connectivity options such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Not only this, the audio quality is surprisingly impressive. The speakers have deep bass and the acoustics are crystal clear. The fog lamps double up as cornering lights, nifty feature in the dark. The driving modes actually work well and it isn't a gimmick. In Eco mode, the throttle response is sedate and linear and as you switch to City and Sport, the car gets more responsive and it reflects in the fuel economy accordingly. The Sport mode is the party piece of the Nexon, boy it accelerates the hell out of this engine!
The Nexon is a fantastic performer at high speeds, it just keeps accelerating!
The 1.5-litre diesel in the Nexon has minimal turbo lag and picks up pace without hesitating. What's fun though is the sudden surge of torque in the mid-range in the Sport mode, which catapults this car to triple digit speeds in no time. The Sport mode offers relentless acceleration when you hit the turbo band. It keeps pulling in each gear and you feel it, even in the 6th gear it pulls strongly! The only fly in the ointment being the notchy gearbox and a long travel clutch pedal. Now considering the fact that we drive in the scorching heat of Mumbai and of course in the Sport mode most of the times, the Nexon is returning an impressive 14 km/l of average fuel economy.
As they say, with great power comes great responsibility and the Nexon is quite responsible in that sense I feel. The Indian carmaker has cut no corner in terms of safety. As we all know it scored full marks in the NCAP crash test having strong structure and features such as dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and ISOFIX anchorage. Apart from the safety features, the Nexon feels quite safe to drive too. Tata offers wide section tyres that provide excellent grip around the corners. Yes, there is some body roll but the car stays in line.
Just like most of the Tata cars, the Nexon also has a very comfortable ride
The Nexon offers neutral handling but the steering feedback is sometimes inconsistent and twitchy. At times when you brake and manoeuvre at the same time, the car tends to twitch. However, high speed stability is confidence inspiring and the ride quality is excellent. Currently in Navi Mumbai, the roads are a mess because of the pre-monsoon repair work but the Nexon absorbs all the bumps and craters quite well. You will notice that the rear tends to bounce if you hit a speed breaker at a relatively higher speed than you desired.
Right now I am quite happy living with the Nexon. I love the audio quality that keeps me entertained in the traffic, the outright acceleration too is quite addictive and overall it is a practical and comfortable car to live with. Do I miss the sunroof of the WR-V? Umm, nope, that was just a gimmick. What I miss though is the slick gearbox and a relatively agile character of the Honda but these are not big deal breakers. Let's see how does the Nexon behave when we take it out for some rigorous outstation shoot schedules and clock in more miles.
* Suspension setup tuned well for Indian roads
* Strong performing diesel engine with practical driving modes
* Spacious and well equipped interiors
* Superb audio quality from the Harman speakers
What's Not So Cool
* Inconsistent quality and electricals
* Notchy gearbox and long travel clutch
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