Cars & Bikes

Tata Nexon Petrol First Drive Review

There has been a lot of hype around the Tata Nexon. For a car to stay in the news for three years despite not being on sale (the prototype was shown in 2014) shows the burden of expectation the model has to carry when the car will finally be launched in September this year. But going by the diesel variant review, you must have already realised that it was well worth the wait. Can we say the same about the petrol variant? Read-on to find out.

Visually there isn’t any difference between the petrol and the diesel variant, so you get the same outlandish exterior and design elements that are usually seen on prototypes rather than a production-ready vehicle. From any angle, the Nexon looks distinctive, whether it be the butch front or the mixture of coupe roofline and chunky lower portion of the profile or the interplay of surfaces at the rear.

What makes the exterior really stand-out is the distinctive white ceramic strip that highlights the lower window-line and the contrasting grey roof which went really well with the red and blue colour cars we had on the drive. Even the at the back the thick white strip that merges with the tail lamps looks different and somehow not overdone.

The Nexon is based on the Bolt’s X1 platform but Tata´s engineers have lengthened the wheelbase for better interior packaging. On the downside, this platform has always been heavy and in pursuit of better rigidity, this new Crossover has gained even more weight.

What is it like on the inside?

Tata, on all its recent cars, has worked hard on improving cabin quality and ease of use and the Nexon is no different. Ergonomically, this is the best Tata we have come across, thanks to the well laid out dash and logical placement of important elements. In terms of quality, the Nexon is definitely a step in the right direction and it feels a step-up over the Tiago or the Tigor. It not perfect however, and fit, finish and consistency is still leaves a lot to be desired. You can still spot panel gaps and sharp edges especially lower down on the dashboard.

Even bits like the air-con controls, power window buttons, control stalks and the gloss black finish around the gearbox lever (which gets easily scratched) could have been better. Yet, it feels at par with the competition as both the Vitara Brezza and the EcoSport aren´t the best in terms of quality and finish themselves. Quality control is still an issue like in most Tata products and despite being brand-new, our test vehicles developed snags like the rubber cover for the brake pedal coming off and one of the tail lamps going off.

The Nexon gets a Harman developed infotainment system and screen quality is a big step over the Tigor or even the much more expensive Hexa. Sure, it could use a faster processor and yes, it doesn´t function as smoothly as the unit installed on the Vitara Brezza.

The Nexon scores well in terms of practicality too and you get loads of storage options. You get large bottle holders and an umbrella recess(it can hold a small umbrella and has a drainage hole too) in the front doorpads, a massive cooled glove box with an removable tray, a deep centre storage box and the cup holders integrated into rear centre armrests. Although the storage under the centre armrest is big, it is too deep especially towards the front where the cubby gets narrow. Even the glove box lid which gets two cup holders on the inside, is useless, as it fouls with the front passenger´s knees.

The front seats are well shaped and the stiff side bolstering does a good job of keeping you in place. Driving position is not the most ideal though, as the pedals are bit off-set and the steering feels a tad too close to the driver. At the rear, the Nexon is spacious and the wide cabin makes it a genuine five-seater. The bench itself is well shaped and the backrest angle is ideal too. The addition of air vents with speed control (these aren´t AC vents) and a 12V charging socket at the rear enhance the rear seat experience. The boot at 350-litres is big enough and the 60:40 split folding rear seats can increase the space up to 690-litres if and when needed.

The Nexon in the top XZ trim comes loaded with features. Primary among them is a touchscreen infotainment system which houses Android Auto(Apple CarPlay will soon be added) and a sweet sounding 8 speaker Harman music system. Apart from this, the Nexon gets all the basics like climate control, key-less go, reverse camera with guidance and daytime running lamps. The fact that Tata will offer all variants with two airbags and ABS as standard adds to the Nexon’s feel good factor. The feature we most loved though is that the XZ variant also comes equipped with a water-proof wrist band which acts like a key. This is a great feature for people who often go running and swimming and don´t want the hassle of carrying the key fob.