Tata Nexon Revotron
Tata‘s crossover challenger finally arrives
TTata Motors are going through a bit of a renaissance at the moment. It all began with the Tiago, a car that earned plaudits all around and set the bar for what to expect of Tata cars in the future. The brand even roped in football legend Lionel Messi as brand ambassador for the Tiago, a move that no one saw coming. Then came the Hexa and the Tigor soon followed, and now we have the latest product in this refreshed line-up, something that slots into that popular crossover segment. And, well, if they are going down the same FC Barcelona footballer route for the Nexon as well, then Leo’s team-mate, Gerard Pique, might be a more appropriate pick this time around, because you can draw many parallels between the Barca centre-back and the Nexon in terms of ethos, size, and quality.
Aesthetically, you can see that the Nexon is a little more out-there than the rest of the line-up even though the Tata family resemblance is quite evident as part of their new IMPACT design philosophy. The Nexon is a sub-fourmetre crossover, and definitely looks the part. Especially upfront, the sizeable grille, and three-slat air dam give the Nexon an exceptionally sporty face. From side-on, its tall stance is evident, and that white line running across the shoulder, separating the two tones of the paint job, really stands out. A neat little touch that sets the Nexon apart from all the other two-tone cars out there. The rear end has a certain amount of visual appeal, too, with the white shoulder-line extending to the back and outlining the snazzy splitstyled tail-lamp design. The exterior design ensures that the Nexon stands out among the throng when parked, waiting at the lights, or when on the move. The only slight aberration exterior visuals-wise, for me, is that the left-sided windscreen wiper doesn’t sit flush.
The aesthetic allure carries over to the interior of the car too. The threetone dash looks cool and that floating infotainment system stands out, quite literally. At a cursory glance, everything appears posh and premium, but spend a little time in the cabin, and a few niggles begin to crop up. The plastic quality, for one, feels a little flimsy, even though it does have style appeal. The 6.5” Harman infotainment is rather good, and is mated to an eight-speaker setup from the same brand. It features Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, USB, Aux In and voice recognition, and also doubles up as the screen for the reverse cam. The touch interface is very easy to use and comes with an option of conventional buttons if you’re of the oldschool persuasion. The air-con is pretty solid, too, and comes with climate control. There’s a row of buttons below the air-con that accomplish many things, from fog-lamps to the door lock/unlock switch, and a button to pop the boot. You wouldn’t expect to find the latter two in that particular position, though, so that does take a little getting used to.
In fact, this unconventional approach to interior ergonomics carries on throughout the Nexon’s cabin. You have a little cubbyhole under the armrest, and a sliding space just in front of it. However, it opens outward rather than inward, so you have to curl your fingers under the armr est to get to the slide, or lift it up for easier access, which is bothersome. This second, sliding-door covered hatch also houses the cup-holders, although it is a little narrow and
deep, which makes it that little bit more awkward to use.
Then there’s the slot with the 12V output, Aux In and USB port. Again, it is deep and narrow, and every time you try to access it, the gear lever comes in the way. The glove-box is cooled, illuminated, and spacious, and the inside of the lid has a separate wallet holder and a pair of shallow slots for additional cups, which are useful if you have a lot of cups and no passenger in the front row. The semi-digital info cluster is standard issue, and does its job without a fuss. There’s no red-line, though, which is slightly odd; however, a few bits do light up when you rev the engine past 5,000 rpm.
The doors house a bottle-holder and also an umbrella-holder, which you don’t see very often in a car in this segment. As with everything else, the design is a little unusual and not the most practical. However, I guess you will get used to it over time, so while all this ergonomic confusion isn’t ideal, it isn’t a deal-breaker either. It just feels like the engineers over at Tata were trying too hard to make the most out of the spaces on offer, which is a worthy goal, but one that hasn’t quite worked out. The seats are comfortable enough and roomy enough, so no problems there either. The second row, too, offers a decent amount of comfort and space, and the experience is augmented by a dedicated a-c hatch with its own temperature control knob. Boot space is an adequate 350 litres.
The variant we have with us is the top-end optional dual-tone petrol XZ+ and it is powered by a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged power-plant. This engine produces 110 PS at 5,000 rpm and 170 Nm of torque from 1,7504,000 rpm. A six-speed manual sends power to the front wheels. The engine is more capable than exciting, with the Nexon doing 0-100 km/h in 13.57 seconds. There’s very little happening below the 2,000-rpm mark, at which point the power kicks in. The car did seem to pull to the right under hard acceleration, though. One commendable attribute of the Nexon is that the cabin is well-insulated and engine noise isn’t an issue even at high speeds. The car also comes with three driving modes based on your needs — Eco, City, and Sport — and a handy dial helps you switch among the three.
The clutch is light, but a little lacking in terms of feel, and the six-speed transmission is comfortable when moving through the gears. The ride on the Nexon is well-managed and soaks up bumps and breakers of all sizes
without any drama. Add to this the 209 mm of ground clearance (unladen) and you have a car that will tackle roads in varying degrees of repair (or disrepair) without any bother. When it comes to handling, the Nexon is adequate. Some body-roll is evident owing to its size and height, of course, and it isn’t a high-speed cornercarver, but holds its line well enough when taking corners at a steady pace. The steering is light at low speeds, allowing for easy manoeuvrability in tight city spaces, and provides enough feedback too. The turning radius that the Nexon offers is also good enough to warrant a mention. The braking is impressive, with the ABS-equipped front-disc-rear-drum setup managing a 100-0 km/h time of 2.93 seconds. The car doesn’t misbehave under hard braking either.
Safety-wise, the Nexon comes with ABS with EBD and dual-front airbags as standard across variants. It also has a fuel-carrying capacity of 44 litres, and gave us 9.5 km/l in the city and 15 km/l on the highway, which is pretty much par for the course. Price-wise, this topof-the-line XZ+ trim will set you back by Rs 8.6 lakh, ex-showroom, which is an introductory price and, as such, definitely lower than its immediate competitors.
All things considered, the Nexon isn’t what you would call a driver’s car. It is rather fetching to look at, has a great infotainment system, and is comfortable and roomy in the back. More functional than mercurial, or the Pique of Tata’s range. So, definitely an option to consider if you’re looking for a crossover and, maybe, plan to hire someone else to drive you around in it.
The variant we have with us is the top-end optional dual-tone petrol XZ+ and it is powered by a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged power-plant
( Above right) The 1.2-litre turbo-petrol isn’t the most exciting engine ( Left) The interior is snazzy-looking, but isn’t ergonomically sound
( Left) Nexon is roomy enough at the back ( Above) Harman touchscreen is excellent