Tata targets compact SUV space with the new Nexon

Tata targets compact SUV space with the new Nexon

By SHAMS NAQVI | | 19 August, 2017
compact SUV, SUV car, Tata, Cars, Tata Motors, Nexon, Auto Expo, SUV
Nexon is not boxy and looks like a new-age urban SUV that promises to remain gender neutral.

The Nexon has been one of the most awaited cars from the Tata Motors stable ever since it was first shown at the Auto Expo in 2014. More than three years after showing the concept India’s largest auto maker is set to launch the production version bang in the middle of the festive season. The last few launches by Tata have started a big turn around story and the Nexon aims to carry forward the success story the homegrown car maker is working very hard to script. Tata’s entry into the very lucrative compact SUV segment is being keenly watched by many and we got to drive it recently.

Looks 

When it was first shown to the world it was the looks and design of the Nexon that appealed to everyone. From certain angles the car does remind of the Tata Bolt as there are similarities in the platform both are based on, but the design team in the company has done more than enough to give the Nexon a distinct look. It’s not boxy and looks like a new age urban SUV that promises to remain gender neutral. A ground clearance of 209 mm is that crucial factor that makes a huge positive difference. The famed Impact design theme is very evident here. Tata has done a commendable job at keeping the car very similar to the concept. The highlight is the white ceramic lining that runs along the profile and merges into the rear in a slingshot design. Then there’s the silver C-pillar that has a unique design. But use of multiple tones on the exterior makes the car a bit loud, something a few may not like. 

Owing to its placement above the dashboard, Nexon’s touch screen system feels luxurious.

Interiors

The quality of interiors on the Nexon is likeable. The fit and finish is also something that’ll pleasantly surprise you. The highlight here is the touch screen system that reminds you of some premium cars in the market, owing to its placement above the dashboard. This ensures in a safer drive as the driver vision doesn’t get diverted to the usual spot where car audio systems are placed. The quality of touch is also good and the system responds well. It has Connect next system made by that Harman belts out good quality audio as the car comes with four speakers and tweeters each. There’s also an integrated rear parking camera in the system and you can see the output on the screen even when the car is moving forward. Ergonomics otherwise are great but reaching the USB port might be a bit of a struggle. That the Nexon also has climate control means the cabin temperature can be set at just the right level. The boot space stands at 350 liters which can be expanded to 690 liters of the second row of seats are folded down. This is better than some of the compact SUVs the Nexon will compete against. Finally a feature worth mentioning is a wearable key on the wrist which may help attract more youth buyers towards the Nexon. 

Engine

Like all other Tata cars the Nexon too gets both Petrol and Diesel options. The car gets a brand new 1.5 liter diesel engine while the Petrol is a 1.2 liter mill seen on the Tiago but now come with a turbocharger. Both churn out a similar power figure of 110 PS but the Diesel at 260 Nm gives a lot more torque that 170 Nm given by the Petrol. The latter may not match up to the diesel when it comes to performance but it still is a very capable motor. The gearshifts are slick and fall into place smoothly, something that’s been a worrying factor on a few Tata cars. For the time being Tata is launching the car only in manual variant but AMT options will be offered soon. The Nexon also gets 3 driving modes—Eco, City & Sport which make the car drive better in different driving situations.

 

The 16 inch wheels ensure a planted drive that’s full of confidence. Despite the raised stance there’s minimum body roll, and that also ensures a good drive position. What also contributes to that is a steering that is tilt adjustable and sits lower than some recently launched cars from Tata Motors.  

Ride & Handling

One of the highlights of the Nexon is its ride quality. The car gives a comfortable ride on both the rows. Owing to its compact dimensions it also handles pretty well. The 16 inch wheels ensure a planted drive that’s full of confidence. Despite the raised stance there’s minimum body roll, and that also ensures a good drive position. What also contributes to that is a steering that is tilt adjustable and sits lower than some recently launched cars from Tata Motors.  

Verdict

Without a doubt the Nexon is Tata’s’ best bet yet in a very long time. It has all the qualities that can make a car work in the very competitive Indian car space, primary amongst them being its design. The Nexon will launch in the next few weeks, an opportune time when people in India like to buy new vehicles. It will be great if in terms of prices Tata can slot the Nexon right between the premium hatches and compact SUVs as this car easily carries traits of both these segments. 

Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars

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