Tata Nexon Facelift

The Tata Nexon, India’s best-selling SUV for two consecutive years, has undergone not one but two major facelifts during its lifetime. This popular SUV, first launched in 2017, made history in 2018 by becoming the first Indian car to receive a 5-star crash test rating from Global NCAP. 

In 2020, it received its first refresh, and it has continued to dominate the market with Tata selling over 5,00,000 Nexons to date. Despite fierce competition from rivals like the Maruti Brezza, Hyundai Venue, and Kia Sonet, Nexon’s success lies in delivering more value for less money.

Now, in 2023, Tata has introduced the latest iteration of the Nexon. Can this new version help Tata maintain its position at the top? How will buyers react to the updated exteriors, all-new interiors, and upgraded mechanical components? Has Tata done enough to stay ahead of the competition? Let’s find out.

Exterior Redesign: A Fresh Face

The 2023 Tata Nexon sports a thoroughly updated exterior, which isn’t just a midlife uplift but a whole new take on Tata’s bestseller.  Starting from the front, it features a brand new cowl, bonnet, and fenders. The bonnet sits higher, and its tall ridges create a more imposing presence. Atop the bonnet, you’ll find new Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs) with intriguing slat-like details. 

A high-mounted faux grille connects the DRLs, while below, wide brackets resembling air intakes house the main projector headlamp and fog lights. An angular bumper directs airflow towards the air curtains, which in turn guides it around the wheels. All this gives the Nexon a modern, young and futuristic design. 

The Nexon retains its signature curved coupe roof and steeply raked windscreen, but it receives new 16-inch alloy wheels with inserts. The decorative band or ‘hockey stick’ along the windows no longer features a contrasting colour. 

The rear of the Nexon has also been refreshed, boasting a larger spoiler and updated ‘V-shaped’ rear signature lights. The Tata logo now appears to ‘float’ in three dimensions. 

However, some areas of fit and finish, particularly around the taillights, leave room for improvement. The Nexon retains its impressive suspension aggregates and class-leading ground clearance of 208mm.

Interior And Features

Inside the 2023 Tata Nexon, you’ll discover an all-new, attractively designed, and well-equipped cabin. The dashboard features a clean design with layered elements and straight lines, lending a sense of sophistication. 

A slender ledge finished in ‘metal’ sits above a wider ‘soft’ section below the vents, creating a terraced look. The dash also boasts a faux carbon fibre finish on the band where the vents are located.

Tata introduces a new two spoke steering wheel design with straight lines across the boss and flat piano black surfaces, enhancing the high-tech look. Notably, the steering wheel logo is illuminated.

The new Nexon incorporates twin high-resolution 10.25-inch screens. The central screen impresses with its sharpness, clarity, and responsiveness. Wireless Apple CarPlay works flawlessly, and the 360-degree camera offers pin-sharp resolution and slick 3D animation and graphics. A fully digital instrument panel, a real screen unlike some competitors, is also included. It can display a full-sized map, similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.

Beneath the vents, convenient ‘paddles’ for fan and temperature control are provided. Tata opts for capacitive touch buttons, similar to Porsche’s, mounted on a gloss black ‘glass’ surface. These buttons operate smoothly and seamlessly blend with the high-tech dashboard.

While the front seats are spacious with good bolstering, the backrest is firmer compared to rivals, and the driver’s seat alignment may need improvement. Rear seat comfort and space are impressive, offering ample legroom, headroom, and a comfortable seat base. 

The rear seats feature AC vents and USB charging ports. The Nexon’s width allows comfortable seating for three passengers in the rear. The boot offers a generous 382 litres of space thanks to the re-profiled rear hatch.

The new Nexon adds body-coloured seats on some models, uniform interior and screen graphics, a high-quality 9-speaker JBL audio system with a subwoofer, voice-activated assistant, Alexa integration, an Air Quality Index monitor, tire pressure monitoring, IRA-connected car tech for remote start/stop, over-the-air updates, and vehicle diagnostics. 

Top-spec Nexon models feature auto headlights and wipers, emergency call buttons, knitted roof liners, cruise control, and safety features like six airbags and ESP.

However, there are some notable omissions. Built-in navigation is absent, proper cup holders are lacking, and the conductive wireless charging cannot be switched off. Additionally, the seats lack power adjustments, and the cooled seats button is somewhat hidden and difficult to access. The oversized drive mode selector knob feels out of place, and the cabin’s piano black surfaces are prone to fingerprints. Build quality, particularly on older components, still has room for improvement.

Performance: Smooth And Capable

The 2023 Tata Nexon offers two engine options. The three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, producing 120hp, remains largely unchanged from the previous model but now features a twin-clutch automatic transmission with a wet clutch for durability and protection. While there is some vibration at idle, initial acceleration may feel a bit weak. 

The seven-speed gearbox starts in second gear unless in City or Eco mode to conserve fuel, which can affect low-end acceleration. However, as you gain speed, the gearbox smoothens out, delivering seamless upshifts after 1,800rpm. Power delivery is gradual, lacking a dramatic spike, but the throttle response is improved compared to the previous version.

The engine performs best between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm, offering good torque in this range. Beyond 4,200rpm, performance diminishes, and the engine becomes noisier. While Sport mode provides a slight boost in performance, it remains relatively modest. Rivals with smaller turbo engines provide more spirited performance. The gearbox is not lightning-quick, especially on downshifts, but it operates smoothly at low engine speeds.

For diesel enthusiasts, the Nexon retains its four-cylinder 1.5-litre diesel engine, delivering 115hp and a robust 260Nm of torque from 1,500rpm. The engine exhibits some gravelly noise as you rev it, and there is a slight lag below 1,500 rpm. However, beyond 2,000 rpm, the engine offers more power and torque. The sweet spot lies between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm, where the engine feels most efficient. Pushing the engine harder results in diminishing returns, with performance dropping off after 4,500 rpm.

While the clutch is relatively light, it can become fatiguing during heavy traffic, and the gearbox with its long throws and vague gate may require extra attention.

Ride And Handling: A Balanced Approach

Tata has retained the suspension and driving characteristics of the Nexon, providing a hint of stiffness at low speeds due to the setup and tall springs. However, at higher speeds, the ride smoothens out, demonstrating excellent bump absorption and body control. The Nexon delivers a flat ride despite its 208mm ground clearance, allowing drivers to maintain speed on rough roads.

The steering is light at low speeds, becoming more direct as speed increases. It remains accurate, reducing the need for constant corrections at higher speeds. On the highway, the Nexon offers a comfortable and confident driving experience. It handles corners competently with minimal body roll, making it enjoyable on winding roads.

Priced between Rs 8 lakh and 14 lakh, the 2023 Tata Nexon appeals to a wide range of buyers. Its refreshed exterior design has been well-received, and the upgraded cabin offers a more premium feel. The larger, high-quality screens, capacitive touch buttons, and various features contribute to a modern and tech-savvy interior.

The Nexon remains comfortable, with the addition of a smooth twin-clutch automatic and an updated diesel engine making it even more enjoyable to drive. It continues to deliver a composed ride, handling rough roads with ease.

However, there are some areas for improvement, including fuel efficiency, build quality on older components, and certain missing features. Nevertheless, the Nexon maintains its reputation as a value-packed offering in the SUV market.

Considering its track record and the preferences of Indian car buyers, the 2023 Tata Nexon is likely to be a compelling choice for those seeking an overall balanced package. If you were a fan of the Nexon before, you’ll find even more to love in this latest iteration.

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