Tata Nexon review: The most affordable SUV experience

What saves the Nexon from looking familiar to the old Tata cars is the muscular bumper that also gets interesting fog lamp housingsWhat saves the Nexon from looking familiar to the old Tata cars is the muscular bumper that also gets interesting fog lamp housings


  • The Tata Nexon subcompact SUV starts at Rs 5.85 lakh for the petrol version, while the diesel variants start at Rs 6.85 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi)
  • The ‘gen-next’ design and the on-paper specifications of the Tata Nexon present it as a great value for money proportion in its segment

What saves the Nexon from looking familiar to the old Tata cars is the muscular bumper that also gets interesting fog lamp housingsWhat saves the Nexon from looking familiar to the old Tata cars is the muscular bumper that also gets interesting fog lamp housings Less

Tata Motors is coming back in the game with a revised product strategy which is focused on the most popular segments of the Indian market. After launching new, strong players in the hatchback, subcompact sedan and multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) segments, the Indian automaker has now come up with its first subcompact SUV (sports utility vehicle) – Nexon.

The ‘gen-next’ design and the on-paper specifications of the Tata Nexon present it as a great value for money proportion in its segment with respect to its significantly reasonable price tag. So, we spent a week with the SUV to check its fidelity.

Design and exterior

Based on Tata’s X1 platform, the Nexon looks almost identical to its concept model that was showcased three years ago at the 2014 Auto Expo. Usually, no one expects to see a production model looking exactly like its concept but Tata somehow managed to fuse a few practical touches in the same design.

The result is a futuristic compact SUV with interesting curves and creases, making it look years ahead of its time. The front retains the same smiley-face of the Tata family with a bold chrome stripe running below the honeycomb grille and merging headlamps. The design of the headlamps perfectly matches with creases on the bonnet. The top-spec XZ+ trim also gets twin beam, projector headlamps with smart LED daytime running lamps.

What saves the Nexon from looking familiar to the old Tata cars is the muscular bumper that also gets interesting fog lamp housings and a tough looking plastic cladding at the bottom.

The black plastic cladding covers the entire lower body including the large wheel arches and provides the SUV with a rugged feel. Another interesting style element of the car is the use of white ceramic stripes which breaks the design monotony. The stripes underline the windows and conclude on the tailgate with an ‘X’ shape, framing the taillamps. The same white plastic also frames the front fog lamps, providing a bold appeal to its front face.

The side profile also gets prominent lines giving a sporty look to the Nexon and the large 16-inch wheels further enhance its road presence. Again, the top-spec XZ+ variant also gets impressive machine-cut alloys and grey coloured roof while the shark-fin antenna and roof rails also come with XZ trim. All these elements with the standard, integrated rear spoiler give a futuristic silhouette to the SUV.

The rear also looks interesting and sporty but a little overdone with lots of elements crowding the tailgate. There is a gloss black stripe supporting the ceramic white stripe for a tri-colour look and a brake light is also provided under the spoiler. The car also gets a rear wiper and one will hardly get an empty space on the tailgate, especially on the upper half. The LED tail lamps are interesting and support the over-styling. Otherwise, the tail-shape is also perfect and flows well with the other design lines.

Interior and features

Team Tata’s efforts in the betterment of interior design can be witnessed as one enters the cabin of the Nexon using the keyless entry. The car offers a pleasant triple-tone interior with black, beige and grey colour scheme and also gets chrome inserts for a premium feel. The fit and finish of the plastic panels are impressive and gives a quality feel.

The fabric upholstery gels with the overall interior and seats are well designed too, except a little scope of improvement in thigh support and cushioning in the front row. The headroom and legroom are plentiful for four adult passengers inside the Nexon. The rear legroom is among the best-in-class, however, the fifth passenger might feel little uncomfortable because of the rear AC panel which is a positive feature though.

The seating position is high — giving an excellent road view at the front — and the top trim further gets hydraulically height-adjustable driver seat. However, the rear windshield provides a restricted view for the driver and it becomes a bit tricky to park the car without the reverse parking camera that comes with the top-end variant only. Thankfully, the rear parking sensors are standard across the variant list, except the base one.

The steering wheel is tilt adjustable, helping the driver to find a comfortable driving position along with an unrestricted view of the instrument panel. Moreover, it gets multimedia control buttons so one doesn’t need to take hands off the wheel frequently.

The XZ+ trim also gets a centre front armrest that makes the driving feel more comfortable and the rear also gets a foldable armrest with cup holders. There is a unique sliding tambour door storage in the centre console that hides a deep storage space and front cup holders. Another premium looking object is the driving mode selector knob on the centre console which looks inspired by the one on Jaguar’s console.

The Nexon gets a new dash-top, floating, 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and connectivity options like the USB, Aux, Bluetooth, Wifi and Android Auto. The unique feature of the system is its voice command that not only controls phone, media and navigation but also offers readout and replies for text and WhatsApp messages. So, one will rarely need to lift a hand off the wheel, except for changing gears.

The boot space of 350-litre is again best-in-class which can be further extended to 690-litres by full-folding the rear seats, and the top-end trim also offers 60:40 rear seat folding option. Another impressive storage option is its cooled-glove box with illumination and features cup holders, wallet and pen holder, and a separate space for laptop/tablet.

Performance and control

The Tata Nexon is offered with two engine options — a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol and a new 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel — both mated to an all-new six-speed manual gearbox. There is no automated manual transmission (AMT) or automatic option for any of the choice as of now and what we got to spend time with was the top-spec diesel version among the two.

The Nexon diesel claims to deliver 110PS of power at 3,750rpm and 260Nm of peak torque between 1,500rpm and 2,750rpm. Both the power and torque figures are best-in-class and the fact can actually be felt while driving the car.

Refinement of the motor is comparable to the class-leading Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, however, the NVH level starts increasing after 2,500rpm. That means you won’t feel any problem with it while cruising and city driving. The drive modes come with three settings — City, ECO and Sport– which do alter the engine mapping and throttle behaviour. The best driving experience comes out in the Sport mode that has been worked by Tata and now feels much linear and full of life.

The clutch feels light and the shiftings are also smooth, and the tall-ratios further reduces the requirement of frequent shiftings unless you are going to attempt a quick overtake. The gearbox gets a push-lock feature for reverse, saving the driver from putting the reverse mistakenly while shifting to the sixth. The Tata Nexon managed to return an overall fuel efficiency between 16kmpl and 17kmpl which is impressive as half of the time the car was in Sport mode.

The suspension tuning is very optimum, its ready to handle those regular undulations on the road and mild off-roading as well. At the same time, it is stiff enough to provide that planted feel at high speeds and cornering which is much closer to that of the EcoSport. Brakes also sync well with the setup and the pedal also provide plenty of feedback for a confident drive experience with excellent control. Safety features like Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) comes standard across all the four trim options along with the dual front airbags. However, the rear airbags are not available even as an optional extra.


The Tata Nexon adds freshness to the compact SUV segment with a futuristic design which definitely grabs attention on the roads. At first sight, it looks sporty and muscular but the boxy design may be a downer for some. The diesel trim starts at Rs 6.85 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), marginally lesser than its competitors. The top-spec variant has been priced almost similar to the rivals, however, offers a number of extra and unique features.

The subcompact SUV offers class-leading performance with excellent handling, resulting in one of the best driving experiences in the category. It is the best option for those looking for a car in the given price range with a good ground clearance. It means the Nexon may hit the premium crossovers as well with its pricing. While it is the most accessible option in the subcompact SUV segment, the presence of popular brands like Maruti Suzuki would make competition tough.