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Tata Nexon Engine & First drive

Tata Nexon Overview

The sub 4-metre subcompact SUV segment of which the new Tata Nexon is one of the most popular and most aspirational automotive segments in the country. Maruti Suzuki consistently sells over 10,000 units of the Vitara Brezza every month and the Ecosport single handedly helped recover Ford India’s lull a few years ago. Mahindra has four SUVs in this segment too – the TUV 300, the Bolero Power+, the KUV 100 and the NuvoSport and even Hyundai and Datsun will soon launch brand new SUVs in this segment. So it was only obvious that sooner or later, any automaker who wants to be a real volume player in the Indian market needs to have a model present in this segment. Tata Motors first showcased a concept compact SUV called the Nexon at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo and an almost production ready version of the Tata Nexon at the 2016 Indian Auto Expo. While most of us expected the production SUV to be watered down version of the concept, the Indian automaker has surprised us by launching the Tata Nexon subcompact SUV that is very close to the concept’s original look and design. And the last time that happened was when Jaguar launched the F-Pace! So read on to know more about the brand new 2017 Tata Nexon!  View offers on Tata Cars from Tata dealers in Hyderabad At Autozhop

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Tata Nexon Design & Style

The Tata Nexon is neither a sub-compact SUV nor a hatchback on stilts. It’s a crossover in the true sense. The SUV traits of the Nexon are ground clearance, which at 209mm is comparable with the Renault Duster, and large 16-inch wheels. The high-stance is married with a coupe-like sloping roofline that rakes sharply like that of the Range Rover Evoque.The unconventional design is eye-catchy, which should make it hard to miss when parked beside other hatchbacks and compact SUVs. The top-spec XZ+ variant of the Nexon that we drove sported a contrast-colour roof in steel grey with both red and blue exterior colours. The signature element is an off-white plastic trim that runs just under the greenhouse on the side. It continues at the rear too, but that’s paint and not plastic. Tata could have done away with it, but then, they could have overdone it too, which they have not.

Apart from the grey roof and off-white sash, there’s another contrasting element on the outside – the black plastic cladding. It does its job of making the Nexon look rugged and high-heeled quite well.Look straight into the Nexon’s eyes, and you’ll get a hint of Tata’s ‘Impact’ design. The front grille’s top line extends into the headlamps, and onto the side. That’s the ‘humanity line’ in Tata lingo. The Nexon’s design is, however, more aggressive than its siblings. The elements that add to the bold front look are pulled back projector headlamps with LED daytime running lamps, high-set fog lamps, a large front air intake and flared wheel arches.While the Nexon looks SUV-ish from the front, the rear is more hatchback-like. The high ground clearance is hard to miss, and the stock tyres (215/60 R16) look wide for a vehicle of the Nexon’s size. The faux skid plate on the rear bumper adds some ruggedness. There’s an off-white and glossy black element around the clear-lens tail lamps that adds quirkiness to the design, but you get used to it with time.

Tata Nexon Cabin & Comfort

The Nexon’s interior has three prominent layers. The upper portion is finished in dark grey plastic, and its quality is on par with its peers. The middle layer gets an aluminium finish, and it looks particularly upmarket. The thickness and solidity of this layer throughout the cabin makes you feel like you’re sitting inside a more premium car. The third and the lowermost layer is a plastic of greyish shade of beige. This plastic is hard to touch, and the fit and finish levels aren’t too high either. For instance, the glovebox requires more than one attempt to shut, and the fit on the lower portion of the doors is questionable, especially around the door pockets. These two are probably the only touch points where fit and finish feels compromised. Otherwise, Tata has managed to do a good job of ensuring satisfactory quality levels at contact points. Sitting atop the Nexon’s dashboard is a 6.5-inch Harman infotainment system that’s fixed to the dashboard. There’s simply no missing it. More importantly, it feels high quality and well thought out. The display is crisp and readable even under harsh sunlight. It’s only the camera display that is a bit grainy. However, that must have more to do with the output of the camera than the screen itself.

The user interface is friendly and easy to use as it gets hot spots at corners for quick access to functions like air con settings, audio source and the mega menu. The touchscreen isn’t the most intuitive, and there’s a slight delay every time you operate it. However, it doesn’t skip inputs much. It’s quicker to respond when you use the physical buttons and knobs, which Tata has thoughtfully placed well within reach to operate on the go.Tata intends to offer Apple CarPlay at launch, and the test cars we drove only featured Android Auto. The driver side instrument binnacle is simple in terms of design and gets a multi-info display unit between the speedometer and tachometer. You get two trip meters, average fuel efficiency display, distance to empty and the usual readouts there.The centre console extends from under the central AC vents and goes all the way to the rear. Apart from the automatic climate control knobs, it houses a USB and an AUX port and the Drive Select knob as well. It also gets a pair of cup holders that can be shut with a Tambour door, which is a roller shutter that you see on some of the higher-end cars. Visually, it leaves you impressed. However, the cubby holes are an ergonomic failure: it’s too deep and crammed to be used for keeping and taking out cups. Move further behind, and there’s the armrest that opens up a small glove box with enough space to keep your smartphone and your wallet. This should have ideally been the place for having USB and AUX sockets. The centre arm stretches all the way to the rear cabin and houses air con blowers for the rear passengers.

The Nexon’s cabin is so comfortable that it deserves a special mention. To make things clear up front, the Nexon is a car best suited for four. And when we say that, it doesn’t mean that the cabin is not spacious, just that the rear seats are designed such. So, while you get a bench at the rear, the seats are properly contoured buckets for two passengers. There’s a central armrest which folds up in case you wish to seat a third passenger. But you wouldn’t want to do that unless you’re doing short distances.Other than that, the Nexon’s cabin appears to be one of the most comfortable cabins in the sub-4m vehicle category. The steering is adjustable for rake, the driver’s seat is height adjustable and provides excellent lower back support. So, it’s easy to get into a good driving position. The bucket seats are big enough to accommodate people of varied shapes and sizes, and the extra under-thigh support just makes things more comfortable. The same goes for the rear seats too. Think of the two seats at the back as captain ones (yes, they’re so well defined in terms of their design), and you sit snug into them. The seat back angle is such that it is set into comfort mode by default. The regions around lumbar and under-thigh have been given more cushion in comparison to the other places, and the seats just feel made-to-order.

Tata Nexon Engine & Transmission

The Nexon will be offered with a new 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine and a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine. Both engines come mated to class-first six-speed transmissions with power sent solely to the front wheels. Automated manual transmission (AMT)- equipped versions of the Nexon are under development and could be out by the year end.Tata’s new 1.5-litre direct injection turbo-diesel that also debuts on the Nexon puts out a healthy 110hp. A scaled-up, four-cylinder version of the Tiago’s 1.05-litre, three-cylinder diesel, the new engine fires easily with the first poke of the starter button. There is a bit of flutter at startup and some vibration is felt through the gear level but it settles down to a smooth idle. This motor is pretty refined even at higher revs and doesn’t make the same racket as the gravelly sounding 1.3 diesel in the Brezza.What’s immediately noticeable is how tractable the engine is; the Nexon pulls cleanly from as low as 1,400rpm. This tractability, due to the 260Nm of torque from 1,500rpm, makes driving in traffic quite easy and you don’t need to constantly downshift. Once you are past 2,000rpm, there’s a gentle wave of power and there’s no real spike like in the Brezza’s Fiat-sourced diesel. Post 4,000rpm, however, you hit a wall, and though the engine does rev to 4,500rpm, the drop in power at the top end is quite sudden.

Unlike the Brezza’s unit which pulls well past 5,000rpm, the Nexon’s 1.5 diesel feels quite laboured at high revs. In fact, the lack of top-end punch and an average mid-range leaves you wanting for more power, even with the drive mode in the most aggressive ‘Sport’ setting.The Nexon’s high kerb weight of 1,305kg (110kg more than the Brezza) also blunts its performance to a great extent, and overall, we felt the Nexon could do with more punch. In a quick reference test, not done to our test standards, the Nexon managed to do the 0-100 run in 13.75sec, which is slower than the Brezza, at 12.9sec.The Nexon’s three driving modes, Eco, City and Sport, each with their own power and torque figures, distinctly alter the performance characteristics and have an impact on fuel efficiency as well. Sport mode, quite obviously, is the nicest to use, especially when extracting every ounce of performance but in the normal or City mode, performance is good enough for relaxed driving. In Eco mode, the Nexon feels particularly strangled and is only to be used if you’re running out of fuel or have exceeded your fuel allowance.

Tata Nexon Driving Dynamics

The Nexon gets McPherson struts up front and a twist beam setup at the rear. The ride is a nice compromise between hard and soft and because there’s not much body roll, it feels plush on the inside. It deals with potholes in the manner of bigger SUVs. So all you feel inside is a toned down thud and a little vertical movement that settles down pretty quick. The diesel Nexon is 68kg heavier than the petrol one, and the added weight results in keeping the cabin slightly more stable when going over a rough patch or at high speeds.The diesel Nexon pays the price of the added weight when it comes to handling, but not by a big margin. The difference lies in the fact that the diesel Nexon tends to understeer slightly when you get into a turn while the petrol Nexon feels sharper in comparison. Overall, the Nexon feels quite confident on the road, and stability at highway speeds is not a concern either.With discs at the front and drums at the rear, it feels confident when braking hard. But the brakes don’t offer instant bite, thus requiring you to vary the braking pressure according to the situation.

Tata Nexon Safety & Security

Tata Nexon comes packed with a plethora of safety features such as dual front airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Immobilizer and Seatbelt with pretensioners and load limiters as standard. The high-end variants also boast of Park Assist with Camera, Front fog lamps with cornering assistance, rear fog lamps and speed dependent auto door locks features.

Tata Nexon Cost in Chennai

Tata Nexon Ex-Showroom Price in Chennai ranges from 5,94,299/- (Nexon Revotron XE) to 9,54,357/- (Nexon Revotorq XZ Plus Dual Tone). Get best offers for Tata Nexon from Tata Dealers in Chennai. Check for Nexon price in Chennai at Carzprice

Tata Nexon Verdict

The Nexon is a remarkable product from Tata; a bold crossover that combines standout form while packaging in immense practicality too, and if it weren’t for the the fit and finish issues, we would recommend it without hesitation. Especially the diesel. No kidding, the Nexon is likely to set segment benchmark on account of its very easy to drive diesel engine, and the big car levels of space in the cabin. On top of that, the Nexon is a neat and tidy handler and comfortable to be chauffeured around in too. The petrol is exciting when driven hard – but for everyday use you’d wish it offered smooth and more fluid performance. And, yes, the design is striking, and this Tata has all the features you need.

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