Tata Nexon AMT

Could be smoothest AMT so far

Auto Today - - Dashboard - PIC­TURES Nis­hant Jhamb

The first thing you should know about t he au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion for the Nexon is that, for now, it’s only avail­able on the top-of-the-line XZ+ vari­ant, though you can choose for it to be mated to the petrol or diesel en­gine. Sec­ondly, it is the only au­to­matic com­pact SUV with drive modes. With this 6-speed AMT box, now the drive modes also af­fect shift points and how long gears are held onto.

Be­fore we get into how the AMT per­forms, there’s a new colour for the Nexon HyprDrive (that’s Tata mar­ket­ing for the AMT) vari­ants. Etna Orange ac­tu­ally goes well with the Sonic Sil­ver on the trim de­tail­ing. This makes the al­ready funky­look­ing Nexon stand out even more and it is a hand­some car, es­pe­cially when viewed from the front. Also, fi­nally avail­able is the ac­tiv­ity key wrist­band, which was first show­cased on the man­ual vari­ants. With it, cus­tomers with an ac­tive life­style can leave their key fob be­hind and still lock/un­lock and start the car.

With no changes to the me­chan­i­cals apart from the AMT gear­box, we ex­pected both petrol and diesel Nexon AMT to drive pretty sim­i­lar to their man­ual coun­ter­parts. The 1.2-litre turbo petrol, for ex­am­ple, makes 110bhp and 170Nm torque and mostly ev­ery­body agrees the 1.5-litre turbo diesel with the same power fig­ure and 260Nm torque feels the sportier of the two. How­ever, go­ing by what we ex­pe­ri­enced with the AMT, the petrol feels more sprightly now.

We had a chance to drive a route com­pris­ing city, high­way and hill us­age and in all three we pre­ferred the petrol car. In the city (us­ing the aptly named City mode) and un­der par­tial throt­tle, shifts are smooth, mostly un­no­tice­able and while not light­ning fast, they don’t need to be. The diesel, in these same con­di­tions, of­fers more no­tice­able shifts with a slight jerk on the up­shift/down­shift. Im­por­tantly, both vari­ants take off from stand­still with­out jud­der or hes­i­ta­tion. We haven’t ad­dressed the Eco mode for ei­ther be­cause while it’s per­fectly ac­cept­able for low speed city com­mut­ing, we could feel the en­gine strug­gle when a lit­tle more is asked of it.

When we hit the high­way, we switched to the Sport mode. In it, both vari­ants will shift right at the red­line. Both sit at 100kmph in sixth with a shade un­der 2,000rpm on the counter. Kick­down for over­takes is again, smoother on the petrol than the diesel. Tata says they have also tuned the driv­e­train to pro­vide less lash dur­ing on-off throt­tle tran­si­tions.

The hill sec­tion of our drive is where we re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated the smooth­ness of the petrol AMT over the diesel, es­pe­cially with the gear­box serv­ing up the right gear for cor­ners. In the diesel AMT, City mode ac­tu­ally felt more nat­u­ral be­cause Sport mode would hold onto gears for too long. Of course, you could take shift man­u­ally if you wanted to, since the AMT does have tip­tronic con­trol. Both AMTs also come with a hill start fea­ture that we can say does work well.

With the Nexon HyprDrive, we feel Tata adds value to a bur­geon­ing seg­ment. At a pre­mium of Rs 60,000 over the man­ual topof-line XZ+ vari­ant, it’s the most af­ford­able au­to­matic cross­over avail­able (but not by a huge mar­gin). What you do get is a fully loaded car with a fairly smooth AMT which prom­ises a good city-driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

No changes in­side the cabin, still feels fresh and mod­ern. Be­ing based on the top end XZ+, it gets a very pre­mium feel­ing head­liner, apart from touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment

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