Tata’s Nexon has been hugely popular ever since its first concept reveal at the 2014 Auto Expo, and there had been a lot of anticipation around until it was finally launched in our market in 2017. With its coupe-like roofline and stunning looks, it managed to win over the hearts of many Indians. Earlier this year, it received a facelift a few all-important updates. We pit the old Nexon against the new one to see which one wins.
The looks matter
On the design front, the old Nexon nailed it. It had sloping body panels and stylish design cues very similar to the ones seen on the concept car. The swept-back headlights and the bold grille give it a distinctive look. The flared wheel arches give it a muscular look and we also liked the white accent that underlines the window frame. The contrasting grey roof gives it a sporty appeal, and the small tail lights look nice and contemporary. This SUV is based on the Bolt’s platform, but the wheelbase is longer.
Gone is the curvaceous front front-end, and in comes a more aggressive looking front fascia on the new Nexon. This features the new Impact 2.0 design philosophy and its upright chin gives it a nice SUV stance from the front. The sleeker projector headlights gets twin LED DRLs, a new grille and a huge air-dam that gets the tri-arrow signature element. The 16-inch machined alloy wheels are new; so are the LED inserts in the tail lamps. The new Nexon looks much nicer than the older model.
What’s the cabin like?
Cabin quality on the old Nexon is very impressive, and the dashboard is beautifully built and laid out. However, the levels of fit and finish could’ve been better. Certain bits like the power window buttons and control stalks are lacking in quality, but we like the glossy black finish on the gear lever. It even features a Harman developed infotainment system. There are lots of storage spaces around as well, that includes a big cooled glovebox. The seats at the front are well contoured and seat bolstering feel right, and thanks to the wide cabin, the rear is roomy too. The 350-litre boot is quite spacious.
The new Nexon receives a dual-tone grey and white layout on the inside and now gets a flat-bottom steering wheel. It also boasts of a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster that displays features like turn-by-turn navigation, etc. The driver’s seat is height-adjustable and provides good under-thigh support, and ingress and egress is a breeze. The rear seat continues to be spacious and the huge seat base is very comfortable.
The old Nexon has features like reverse camera with guidance, 8 speaker Harman music system, climate control, key-less go, Android Auto, daytime running lamps, a water-proof wrist band, two airbags and ABS with EBD, multi-drive modes – Eco, City, Sport, park assist with rear sensors, electrically foldable ORVM, cooled and illuminated glove box, voice command recognition for phone, media, navigation, image and video playback, seatbelt reminder, low fuel, parking brake release, and service reminder.
In the new Nexon, you get rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring system, iRA connectivity suite, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped gearshift knob, push-button start, auto AC, front armrest and sliding tambour door, rear-seat armrest with 2 cupholders, height-adjustable driver seat, 60:40 split-folding rear seat, rear power outlet, rear wash/wipe, dual-tone roof, 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, traction control, Electronic Stability Program, hill-hold assist, rear defogger, drive modes, manual AC, front power windows, power steering with tilt adjust, digital cluster, flat folding rear seats, projector headlamps with LED DRLs.
Let’s go for a spin
The old Nexon we’re driving is powered by a 1.2-litre, turbo-petrol motor that makes 108bhp and 170Nm of torque, paired to a 6-speed manual transmission. However, turbo lag is apparent and the gearbox isn’t particularly smooth and the small motor is lacking the grunt to pull this SUV. Power delivery is very impressive too, but once the motor picks up pace with a strong mid-range.The engine is refined at idle and likes to be worked to its limit. The steering is always eager to change direction. But there is body roll and the ride is on the softer side. It is also stable at high speeds and stays composed. We wish the brakes were stronger though.
The new Nexon we’re driving is powered by the 1.5-litre, diesel engine that makes 108bhp and 260Nm of torque, synced to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Power delivery is effortless and it surges ahead; the motor has good grunt on offer too. Eco mode is best used in traffic, while City and Power modes improve the engine responses. It loves cruising and has a strong mid-range. The shifts are a bit notchy though and the clutch feels heavy. Refinement levels are very impressive too. The ride continues to be supple and the handling is spot-on too. Around corners, it feels safe and the steering is direct and body roll isn’t prominent. The tyres provide good grip too.
The final say
The old Nexon is an impressively capable SUV from Tata cars that comes with lots of equipment, good driving dynamics, a roomy cabin and a stylish exterior. The quality of plastics inside could’ve been better, and the petrol engine is lacking is power. Also, being a small turbo petrol, fuel economy won’t be great either.
The new Nexon is a huge step-up from the old car, particularly in diesel guise. The newer, sharper looking front end is sure to lure more buyers, and it comes with more equipment, a strong diesel engine and sorted dynamics. Cabin quality has improved as well. We’d definitely recommend the newer model, for it is a better package, by and large.