It’s vital in the sub-compact SUV segment to have some presence because otherwise one of the more stylish rivals will take over the game. The Tata Nexon happens to be one of the most aggressive in terms of styling and thus has made quite a name for itself. It’s neck to neck with the Ford EcoSport in terms of sales, and there’s enough substance to back the respectable performance.
The sub-four-meter SUV segment isn’t huge in terms of products, but every successful model has relied heavily on aesthetics. Maruti went overboard with their personalization scheme, Ford’s design was unlike anything else on the market, and Tata clearly didn’t want to leave any stone unturned. As a result of which, the Nexon has a visual appeal unmatched by its rivals. The inclusion of dual-tone paint schemes and even special editions makes the Nexon’s design even more pleasing. It gets 16-inch wheels standard across the range — and a range-topping ground clearance of 209 mm. The top variants benefit from wider 215-section tires.
Tata calls Nexon’s a layered three-tone dashboard. The distinct dashboard design works well not in terms of fit but also in the way it looks. The touchscreen protrudes from the dashboard, but despite that doesn’t look out of place. An eight-speaker Harman audio system ensures that the passengers aren’t bored, while things like sliding door for the cubby holes are straight out of premium cars. Other features worth a mention are a rotary knob to select drive modes, push-button start, and standard ABS and dual airbags.
The Tata Nexon also happens to be the only vehicle in the segment and possibly under Rs 15 lakhs that only offers turbocharged engines. And both the petrol and diesel units, made by Tata, are good ones. The 1.2-liter turbocharged petrol makes 110 PS while the 1.5-liter diesel makes an identical 110 PS but has a max torque advantage, at 260 Nm. While there’s no all-wheel-drive system, the Nexon can be specced with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed AT, regardless of the engine you choose.
The Tata Nexon Petrol has priced at Rs 6.22 lakh onwards, and the least expensive AMT-equipped variant is available at Rs 7.58 lakh. The diesel-engined version starts at Rs 7.25 lakh and the top-end diesel variant retails at Rs 10.66 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi.
The major competition for the Tata Nexon comes from the Ford EcoSport. At around 4k monthly sales each, both vehicles are quite close in terms of demand. The EcoSport seems slightly more polished and is more engaging to drive. The 1-litre Ecoboost engine is an enthusiast’s delight.
The Maruti Vitara Brezza clocks more than double the sales of the Tata Nexon. It gets an identical safety rating as the Tata Nexon but is available with a diesel engine only. The Brezza drives well and feels stable around corners.