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2020 Tata Nexon facelift: improvement in perceived quality, overall fit and finish

The 2020 Tata Nexon facelift is far more thorough and comprehensive than most. Not only has the front end been heavily revised to give it a completely new look, but the upgrade to BS6 has been accompanied by a power bump for the 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine. So just what is the updated Nexon like?

The bonnet is now flatter and taller while the grille, headlamps and front bumper are new. Tata has done away with the ‘ceramic’ highlights on the nose though they still feature on the side and round the back. The C-pillars have been blacked out and the Union Jack-like tail-lights are an interesting design detail. Also, in an effort to make it look wider, the rear bumper gets faux vents at the bottom.

The cabin is more familiar. The design of the dash, with the free-standing touchscreen, is carried over, and with the neatly executed chrome-lined vents, it works well too. The sporty, flat-bottomed steering wheel is new, and the instrument cluster is now a digital LCD panel.

While the build of the dashboard feels tough, the small buttons function well and perceived quality is a step up, attention to detail could be better. Open the sliding, shuttered stowage area and the insides are still unclad and full of joints and sharp edges, but the umbrella holders in the doors are a nice touch.

2020 Tata Nexon turbo-petrol specifications
  • Engine 1199cc, 3 cyl, turbo-petrol
  • Max Power 120hp at 5500rpm
  • Max Torque 170Nm at 1750-4000rpm
  • Gearbox 6-speed manual
  • Tank size 44 litres
  • Length 3993mm
  • Width 1811mm
  • Height 1606mm
  • Wheelbase 2498mm
  • Ground Clearance 209mm
  • Boot Capacity 350 litres

Up front, the seats are wide, placed at a good height and there is a fair amount of space in the footwell. The seats are also well finished, and what makes the cabin feel airy is the inclusion of the new sunroof. Legroom is sufficient and headroom is good for six-footers, despite the slight drop in the roof lining.

Moving to the equipment, new features on the Nexon includes new LED DRLs, ESP, traction control, roll-over mitigation and brake assist as standard, auto wipers, auto headlights and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

The new Nexon also gets Tata’s IRA connected-car tech and included in the software suite is the ‘what3words’ navigational aid. Both the instrument panel and the touchscreen could have been brighter; try to reverse on a bright day and it is difficult to see obstacles on the screen.

Tata’s 1.2 turbo-petrol may be a three-cylinder engine, but the only time you can really tell is when you fire it up. Tap the accelerator and it immediately settles down, with refinement levels improving as you press on. The new intake and exhaust manifolds mean it is not quite as throaty anymore, but it has a nice enough snarl at high revs.

The throttle response at low speeds, though, feels snatchy and there are distinct flat spots in the power delivery. The engine has clearly been calibrated with fuel efficiency as a priority, judging by the abrupt ‘tip-in’ and ‘tip-out’ for the fuelling. The 6-speed manual gearbox is light, however the throws are long, the gear lever is a bit too tall, and the clutch is snappy. All these factors make the Nexon not as city friendly as its rivals.

There is also some amount of turbo lag. The SUV only really begins to move once it has passed 1,800-2,000rpm and it is in the mid-range where this engine does its best work. Get past 2,500rpm and there is a nice sustained shove; keep your foot in and this carries on well past 5,500rpm.

Against the clock, the Nexon did a 0-100kph sprint in 13sec, though this was due to the traction control, which couldn’t be switched off and kept cutting in, preventing a quick launch. Get past the initial launch and the updated Nexon has a bit of an edge over the earlier 110hp version; especially from 50kph onwards.

The three drive modes are also well defined. Eco is actually quite useable and not terminally frustrating, and Sport does give you an extra kick.

While the overall performance is more than acceptable, Tata’s BS6 petrol engine still lacks the sophistication and capability of the new breed of turbo-petrols.

Coming to the ride, the Nexon excels over broken roads. Stability is great, and you can carry a fair amount of speed over bad patches and gravel roads. There is a hint of stiffness over regular roads, but the Nexon rounds off most bumps nicely.

There is lots to like about the new Nexon — it feels tough, with an improvement in perceived quality and the overall fit and finish. Also, with Nexon prices ranging from ₹6.95 lakh to ₹11.20 lakh for the petrol version, it is still terrific value for money.

If you just love the design and are looking for a tough, yet comfortable compact SUV that won’t break the bank, the new 2020 Tata Nexon should be high up on your shortlist.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 10:07:16 AM |

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