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Tata Motors has built up a significant lead in the electric car market in India and if all the credit has to be given to one vehicle, it is the Tata Nexon EV. the electric compact SUV is the bestselling electric car in India and is already very capable in its standard form.
What if you wanted more? What if the range offered by the standard model just isn't enough? What if its performance isn't adequate? Well, It does seem like the engineers at Tata Motors grappled with these questions for a long enough period until they decided to push it to the max and name it just that - the Tata Nexon EV Max.
The whole point of this car's existence is very simple - offer the maximum of everything. Max range, max performance, max features, and max electric mobility. Well, we set out to check if this EV really is dialed up to the max. Here's our take on the new Tata Nexon EV Max.
Design & Style
At first glance, it is difficult to find any design elements that set the Max apart from the standard Nexon EV. In fact, there aren't any new design elements. It features the same familiar design and styling that compact SUV buyers in India have come to love.
The overall silhouette remains identical to the standard Nexon EV. The halogen headlamps, grille, tri-arrow elements in the lower grille, tall roof, etc, have all been retained as well. Electric blue accents are found all over the compact SUV and the EV badges are also finished in the same shade.
The wheels though are new. They are dual-tone, diamond-cut alloy wheels just like the standard model. However, the 16-inch alloy wheels now feature a more mature and sporty design language on the Nexon EV Max. The other major change comes in the form of the new Intensi-teal colour scheme that is exclusive to the new Tata Nexon EV Max.
Dual-tone colour options are standard on the Nexon EV Max and it is still available in the Pristine White and Daytona Grey colour options as well. That being said, we should also mention that the Tata Nexon EV Max looks the best in the Intensi-teal scheme as the teal is much deeper and intensive, and has a great contrast with the electric blue elements on the SUV.
The Nexon has always been a good-looking SUV and now, with the new colour scheme and stylish wheels, looks much better than it already was.
Cockpit & Interior
The overall interior layout is similar to that of the standard Tata Nexon EV. The biggest difference that one would notice up front is the new colour for the interior. It is called Makarana Beige and looks really classy. Pair this colour with the electric blue stitching and it makes for an interesting combination.
The seats look great and feature perforations and tri-arrow designs on them. The two front seats even get the ventilation feature and the controls for the same are placed on the seat unit towards the doors. This ventilation feature is a lifesaver, especially during the summer.
It is a dual-tone interior where the black colour too plays a major role in making it look that much more elegant. The dashboard is the perfect example. There is a good amount of black while the bottom is finished in beige. You even get a few elements finished in electric blue.
In front of the driver is the chunky steering wheel that is wrapped in leather. The stitching is once again in electric blue and this gives it a nice feel. It is a three-spoke flat-bottom steering wheel and the three spokes are finished in gloss black. You do get steering-mounted controls for the audio as well as cruise control functions.
Behind the steering wheel is the instrument cluster. The binnacle surround gets an electric blue finish and the instrument cluster itself looks great. It is an analogue-digital where the speedometer is analogue and all the other information is displayed on a full-colour 7-inch TFT screen.
This screen displays lots of information about the vehicle including range, battery state of charge, real-time power usage, real-time regeneration monitoring, regen level display, trip meters, odometer, various warnings, notifications, etc.
Taking centre stage on the dashboard is a floating 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but they rely on wired connections. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto would have been much better for a car that is out to achieve the maximum.
Beneath the infotainment unit are the central AC vents which get an electric blue accent underneath it. This is set inside a gloss black panel that runs across the length of the dashboard. An eye for detail will also notice the little tri-arrow elements finished in electric blue on this gloss black panel. These are the little details that make a difference.
Lower down in the dashboard are the controls for the automatic climate control. However, any changes made using these knobs are displayed on the infotainment screen and it can be a little distractive at first. A small LCD display near the AC controls would have been a much better alternative.
Beneath the AC controls are a few buttons that handle various functions. This includes the button to lock/unlock the vehicle, unplug the charger from its socket, activate or deactivate hill-descent control, etc.
On the centre console, there is a small slot where the 12V socket, as well as the USB port for the infotainment system, are located. Behind this slot is the new feature highlight which is the jewel gear knob. The knurled finish on the outside allows for a good feel while using the gear knob.
Adding to the premium feel is the active display inside this gear knob. It is a full-colour display with an animation everytime you switch between Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive. It also features different colours for each of them. Fancy stuff indeed. Right next to it are the dedicated buttons for the Eco and Sport drive modes.
Behind this gear knob are the controls to increase or decrease the regenerative braking as well as the electronic parking brake and auto hold functions. You also get a wireless charging pad for your smartphone and a slot to place another phone. There is an armrest for the driver and front passenger. Lift the armrest up and a deep cubbyhole is revealed.
The interiors of the new Tata Nexon EV Max then, are classy, elegant, and youthful at the same time. It really is a nice place to be in.
Comfort, Practicality & Boot Space
Tata Motors' cars are always known to be spacious and very practical and the Nexon is no different. It has always been one of the most practical cars in its segment and the Nexon EV Max carries the same forward.
The Nexon EV Max boasts many features that increase comfort inside the car. The foremost of these features is the ventilated seats. They make a world of difference when the weather is really hot. In addition, the seats themselves are really comfortable. The quality is great and the cushioning on all sides is excellent.
At the rear too, the seat is excellent with great back support as well as under-thigh support. There's no dearth of legroom, knee room and headroom. You do get a fold-down armrest with cup holders. Passengers at the rear also get air conditioning vents positioned at the back of the centre console.
The glovebox is pretty spacious, allowing you to store lots of stuff in it. In order to accommodate the wireless charger in the centre console, Tata has removed the cup holders and instead provided two small slots in the glovebox door, which is nowhere close to being practical.
The door panels have deep pockets that allow you to store much more than just water bottles and the boot is pretty spacious too. Tata Motors chose to sacrifice ground clearance over cabin and boot space, in order to accommodate the larger battery pack. That shows the brand's priorities. The compact SUV still features a boot space of 350 litres which is excellent.
EV Powertrain Performance & Driving Impressions
The whole point of the Tata Nexon EV Max is to have the maximum of everything and the engineers at Tata Motors have done just that. It features a bigger battery, a more powerful motor, increased range, and significantly greater performance.
The Tata Nexon EV Max is powered by a 40.5kWh battery pack, which is a 10.3kWh increase over the 30.2kWh battery in the standard Nexon EV. As a result, the battery is taller and wider while also weighing nearly 70 kilograms heavier.
The motor that drives the front wheels now produces 143bhp and 250Nm which is 14bhp and 5Nm higher than in the standard Nexon EV. This of course leads to an increase in performance. Tata Motors claims it can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 9 seconds and will then go on to touch an electronically limited top speed of 140km/h.
However, we didn't push the Nexon EV Max to speeds that were remotely close to its claimed top speed. We did do a couple of hard acceleration runs but cut off throttle at just 80km/h because we were doing something far more important. To be honest, the top speed and 0-100 times wouldn't be of much importance to most buyers of this electric SUV.
What is of utmost importance is the range and the Tata Nexon EV Max boasts an ARAI certified range of 437 kilometres which is simply fabulous. However, the range would be significantly lower in real-world conditions and that is exactly what we set out to test.
Tata Nexon EV Max Range Test
When we set out, the Tata Nexon EV Max had 98 percent charge in its battery and the range displayed on the instrumentation was 407 kilometres. We soon hit the highway and throughout the day, we put the electric SUV to the test in various environments. There were some open highways where we could use the cruise control set at 80km/h.
Then there were some stretches of slow-moving traffic and we finally reached our destination. In the surroundings of the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, we did some off-roading too where the MRF Wanderer Ecotred tyres were slipping and sliding about, but the Nexon EV Max ploughed through.
The return leg was a bit more stressful thanks to the rush-hour traffic we had to navigate through when we reached Bangalore again. Towards the end of the drive, we finally hit the magic number - 300 kilometres. It was at around the same time that the battery SOC dipped to 10 percent.
This also allowed us to experience the limp home mode that the Tata Nexon EV Max goes into at 10 percent. In this mode, the throttle becomes spongy and the SUV hesitates to accelerate. You really have to mash the pedal into the floor to get the car going.
At the end of our run, we had clocked an impressive 309.7 kilometres and the Nexon EV Max still had 10 percent of its battery left. With this 10 percent and the performance limitations set by the limp home mode, we do suspect that an extra 30-40 kilometres can be covered.
Now, we must also mention that the 309.8 kilometres were achieved by hypermiling. Throttle inputs and braking were kept to a minimum while the regeneration was always at its maximum. We drove only in Eco mode and air-conditioning was barely used for five kilometres.
Under normal driving conditions though, we expect the range to dip below the 300 kilometre mark and we expect a realistic range of around 270 kilometres. The Nexon EV Max features three drive modes - Eco, City, and Sport. It is at its economical best in the Eco mode. City mode is best left for bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Sports mode increases performance and the slightest input on the throttle makes a big difference in performance. However, the range on the screen immediately drops by 30 kilometres when you switch to this mode.
The Tata Nexon EV Max features four regen settings. It can be turned off completely and can go up to Level 3 where it has the maximum level of regeneration. In level 3, you really can drive with a single pedal as the braking created by the regen is pretty strong.
Ride & Handling
The ride quality in the Tata Nexon EV Max is almost perfect. The suspension is supple and soaks up potholes and speedbumps pretty well. The springs are a bit stiffer to handle the additional 100 kilograms that are added by the battery and the additional features on offer.
It is pretty quiet inside the cabin and the fact that it is an EV helps further. There is barely any noise from the motor and the only thing you can hear at higher speeds is some road noise from the tyres.
The steering wheel feels great to hold and is pretty heavy, even at lower speeds, Needless to say, the wheel does weigh up nicely at higher speeds and this increases the driver's confidence. On the whole, the new Tata Nexon EV Max is an excellent electric SUV, and driving it is a brilliant experience.
Tata Nexon EV Max Charging
This is yet another area where the Tata Nexon EV Max has been pushed to the maximum. Buyers can choose between two chargers while purchasing the vehicle. The 3.3kW charger from the standard Nexon EV has been retained. However, this charger takes 15-16 hours to charge up the battery because of its larger size.
For those seeking a faster charging time, Tata Motors has launched a new AC fast charger. The 7.2kW charger does the job in 5-6 hours. If a 50kW DC fast charger is accessible, the Nexon EV can be charged up from 0-80 percent within an hour. These are some excellent charging options for different usage styles.
Safety & Key Features
The Tata Nexon was the SUV that set new standards for safety in its segment. The Nexon EV Max too gets the same safety along with several new safety features.
Tata Nexon EV Max Safety Features:
- ABS with EBD
- Brake Assist
- IP67 Rated Battery & Electric Motor
- Hill Hold Assist
- Hill Descent Control
- Auto Hold
- Panic Brake Hazard Lamps
- ISOFIX Child Seat Anchors
Tata Nexon EV Max Key Features:
- 7.0-inch Touchscreen Infotainment
- Analogue-Digital Instrument Cluster
- Rear AC Vents
- Ventilated Seats
- Built-In Air Purifier
- Jewel Gear Knob With Active Display
- Auto-dimming IRVM
- Wireless Smartphone Charger
Variants, Colours & Pricing
Tata Nexon EV Max Variants:
- Nexon EV Max XZ+ with 7.2kW Charger: Rs 18.24 lakh
- Nexon EV Max XZ+ Lux with 3.3kW Charger: Rs 18.74 lakh
- Nexon EV Max XZ+ Lux with 7.2kW Charger: Rs 19.24 lakh
Tata Nexon EV Max Colour Options:
- Daytona Grey
- Pristine White
Tata Motors has achieved exactly what it set out to with the Nexon EV Max. It does take everything to the maximum and the electric SUV is very impressive indeed. A realistic range of over 270 kilometres with all features in use is brilliant and this, combined with fast charging options makes it one of the most practical electric vehicles in India.
The price seems too high at first, but one starts to realise it is excellent value for money when it is used out in the real world. It is now almost perfect for the price.