Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): India’s First All-Electric Compact-SUV

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Tata Motors — the automotive division of India's multinational conglomerate will soon be introducing its latest all-electric SUV in the Indian market, in the form of the Nexon EV. The Tata Nexon EV might not be the first all-electric SUV in the country, but once launched on the 28th of January will definitely become the first all-electric subcompact SUV in India.

The Indian car manufacturer already has one other fully-electric products in its portfolio. However, the Tata Nexon EV is different. The electric SUV is the first product from the brand to feature the company's all-new 'Ziptron' powertrain.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

We drove the upcoming Tata Nexon EV recently and came out extremely impressed with its performance, drive and handling, range, features and everything else in between. But does the Tata Nexon EV have what it takes to take on its growing rivals in the Indian market? Let's find out!

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Design & Style

The new Tata Nexon EV carries forward the designs from the upcoming facelift version of the standard SUV. This includes updates to both its exterior and interior. The updates and changes made on the new Nexon are in no way subtle.

The front of the Tata Nexon EV comes with a completely refreshed look, offering a more sporty and premium appeal. Interiors on the new electric SUV have also been updated; adding to the sporty characteristics of the Nexon.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Starting from the front, the Tata Nexon EV comes with an entirely refreshed look. The new headlamps are now much sleeker, sharper-looking and come with projector headlamps.

Though not LED projectors, the throw from the halogen headlamps is better than that of the outgoing model. The LED DRLs on the new Tata Nexon EV has also been updated and is integrated into the main headlamp cluster. The DRLs now come in an X-shape, giving it an aggressive design.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The headlamps at the front flank a thick slat finished in piano black in the place of the grille. The piano black finish slat feels premium and features the ‘Tata' badging at its centre, with the ‘EV' badge positioned slightly at the end.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The front end also comes with updated housing for the fog lamps, which have also been updated. The front bumper now comes with a larger air dam at the bottom-centre with what Tata Motors like to call ‘Electric Blue'.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

This ‘electric blue' accents can also be seen below the piano-black slat at the front and all along the side and rear of the Nexon EV as well. The front bonnet is now flatter, offering a larger SUV feel than on the outgoing model.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The side profile of the Tata Nexon EV remains pretty much unchanged. The ‘electric blue' accents continue from the front of the car to the sides as well and can be seen below the windows.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The new Tata Nexon EV also comes with the EV badging on the front door. Tata Motors now offers the Nexon EV with a completely new set of 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels as well, adding to the premium-ness of the SUV.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The rear profile of the Tata Nexon EV also remains similar to the pre-facelift model, with minimal changes and updates. The main noticeable change on the new Nexon is the updated set of taillights and the electric blue accents.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Other updates are the presence of the ‘N E X O N' badging at the centre of the boot lid, reminiscent of that on the Harrier and the Altroz. The SUV also comes with the EV and Ziptron badging at either end.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Interiors & Practicality

Moving to the interiors of the Tata Nexon EV, customers are immediately welcome to a familiar yet revised cabin. The Nexon EV comes with a nicely wrapped leather steering wheel, with mounted controls for the audio and call functionalities.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Behind the steering wheel is a semi-digital instrument cluster, with a digital display and an analogue speedometer. The digital display is similar to that on the Altroz premium hatchback, however, on the Nexon EV, it offers a host of other information as well.

This includes battery status, tachometer, distance-to-empty (range), battery percentage, regenerative braking usage; among other functionalities.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Moving past the cockpit, we come to the vehicle's centre console. The Tata Nexon EV features a seven-inch floating touchscreen infotainment display, compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also features the brand's Connected technology as well, which on its own offers an additional 35 features, controllable via an app on the smartphone.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Positioned below the infotainment system on the centre console are the AC vents, again surrounded by electric blue accents, carried forward from the interiors. The dashboard comes with a dual-tone scheme, with a black finish on the top and beige at the bottom, along with a piano-black finish in between.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The dashboard comes with soft-touch materials as well, offering a premium look and feel in the cabin. Moving further down the central console are the climate control setting, through a set of rotary knobs and physical buttons.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Apart from this, the Tata Nexon EV also offers a USB port and a 12V charging socket, which are positioned well, with ease of reach. There are also plenty of cubby spaces in the centre console. The Nexon EV comes with a circular dial to shuffle through R, N, D and S.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The test car we drove came with fabric upholstery for the seats. Tata Motors also offers leatherette seats on the top-spec variant. The seats themselves are comfortable and offer a good amount of cushioning.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The driver and front passenger seats are manually-adjustable and we could have preferred them to be electronically controlled; at least for the driver's seat. Both seats, however, do slide into place easily, allowing for comfortable seating and/or driving position.

The comfortable driver's seat along with the tilt steering adjustability does offer a comfortable driving dynamics (do note, the steering comes only with tilt adjustability and not telescopic, even on the top-spec model).

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Moving to the rear seats of the Tata Nexon EV, the seats are extremely plush, with excellent cushioning. There is also a sufficient amount of head and knee room, along with decent under-thigh support.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The floor does have a slight bump at the centre, however, three passengers can squeeze through for a short distance. The rear seats also come with a central armrest, further enhancing the comfort for the rear passengers.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

In terms of practicality, the Tata Nexon EV comes with a number of cubby spaces and storage all around. It offers a large glovebox, plenty of storage spaces on the all four doors, on the central console and behind the front seats. Boot capacity on the Nexon EV is 350-litres, although this can further be extended through a 60:40 split of the rear seats.

Length (mm) 3994
Width (mm) 1811
Height (mm) 1607
Wheelbase (mm) 2498
Ground Clearance (mm) 205
Boot Space (litres) 350
Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Variants, Key Features & Safety

The Tata Nexon EV is offered in a range of three variants: XM, XZ+ and the XZ+ LUX. All three trims of the Nexon EV come packed with a host of features and equipment, including on the safety aspect as well.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Here are some of the key features offered as standard on the Tata Nexon EV:

  • Keyless Entry with Push-button Start/Stop
  • Multiple Driving Modes
  • Electric Tailgate Opener
  • Automatic Climate Control
  • Seven-Inch Touchscreen Infotainment System
  • Connected Car Technology
  • 16-Inch Diamond-Cut Alloy Wheels
  • Electric Sunroof
  • Automatic Headlamps
  • Leatherette Seats
  • Automatic Rain Wipers
Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Here are some of the key safety features on the Tata Nexon EV

  • Dual Airbags
  • ABS with EBD
  • Hill Ascent Assist
  • Hill Descent Assist
  • Reverse Parking Camera with Guidelines
  • Seat-Belt Reminders
  • High-Speed Warning Alert
  • Pedestrian Protection
Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Driving Impressions & Performance

Tata Motors has worked hard to offer a really impressive electric SUV offering for the Indian market. The new Tata Nexon EV is powered by the brand's all-new ‘Ziptron' powertrain. This includes a 95kw electric motor paired with a 30.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It produces 128bhp and 245Nm of peak torque.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Tata Motors claims that the Nexon is able to achieve a 0 - 100km/h time of 9.9 seconds while reaching a top speed restricted to 122km/h. The Nexon EV also offers an impressive ARAI-certified range of 312km on a single charge. However, the real-world driving range for the electric SUV is around the 275 - 290 km mark.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The Nexon EV will be offered with a complimentary standard home-charging system, which takes 8 hours for a complete charge. There is also the option of fast-charging, which charges the batteries from 20% to 80% in just one hour.

Now that the technical specifications have been answered, let's get to the most important question, how is it to drive?

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The Tata Nexon EV offers instant power delivery right from the moment one presses the acceleration pedal. Being an electric SUV, the torque kicks in instantly and there is a huge surge in power.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The Tata Nexon EV comes with two driving modes: Normal & Sport and the difference between the two is extremely noticeable. In Normal mode, the acceleration feels muted, with the power delivery coming in more gradually.

The Sport mode, on the other hand, offers instant power and torque at the slight twist of the rotary knob. Tata Motors has done an excellent job in terms of power delivery on the Nexon EV.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The electric SUV comes with its lithium-ion battery pack (heaviest part of the car) positioned below the cabin. This has allowed Tata Motors to reduce the centre of gravity of the Nexon EV by 40mm compared to its standard fossil-fuel-powered sibling.

Ground clearance has been reduced from 209mm on the pre-facelift model to 205mm. However, this is still impressive, considering its competition.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The lithium-ion battery pack is covered in a steel IP67-certified casing. Tata Motors has also run a number of crash and penetration tests to ensure that the batteries are secured safely, without the risk of any danger to its passengers.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Moving forward to the handling aspect, the Tata Nexon EV offers precise and sharp steering. There is a good amount of feedback offered by the steering wheel, especially at high speeds out on the highway. In the city, the steering feels light, allowing for easy turns in and out of traffic situations.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

The low centre-of-gravity also helps keep the Nexon EV stable, even under hard acceleration and turning. There is a slight bit of body roll, however, it isn't too noticeable. The suspension setup on the Tata Nexon EV is a bit on the firmer side. This is more suited for the highway, as, in the city, the harder suspension setup does feel a bit jerky.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Braking on the electric SUV is excellent, with disc brakes upfront and drum brakes at the rear. The Nexon EV does come standard with regenerative braking system (an engine braking of sorts in electric vehicles). This regenerative braking system is set up perfectly, without feeling too intrusive.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

NVH levels on the Tata Nexon EV is impressive. There is little to no noise from the tyres or otherwise. Tata Motors has also managed to mask the electric whining of the motors to a minimum, which is impressive as well.

Electric Motor
3-Phase Permanent Magnet
Battery 30.2kWh Lithium-ion
Power (bhp)
128
Torque (Nm)
245
Transmission Automatic
Range (km)
312
0-100km/h
9.9 seconds (Claimed)
Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Pricing, Colours & Availability

The Tata Nexon EV is offered in a range of three colour schemes: Teal Blue (as seen in the photos), Glacier White and Moonlit Silver. Tata Motors hasn't announced the exact pricing details of the Nexon EV. However, they did mention that the electric SUV is expected to be in the price range of Rs 15 lakh to Rs 17 lakh, ex-showroom.

Once launched in India, the Tata Nexon EV will be available across the country from the start. Charging locations have been set up in most major cities in India, with the exact locations mentioned on their official website.

Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Competition & Fact Check!

The Tata Nexon EV is among the first compact-SUVs to go on sale in India. Currently, the Nexon EV doesn't have any direct rivals in the segment, however, in the EV space, the SUV does go up against the likes of the Hyundai Kona EV and the upcoming MG ZS EV.

Model/Specifications Nexon EV MG ZS EV
Electric Motor 3-Phase Permanent Magnet 3-Phase Permanent Magnet
Battery 30.2kWh Li-ion 44.5kWh Li-ion
Power (bhp) 128 141
Torque (Nm) 245 353
Price (estimated) Rs 15 - 17 Lakh Rs 20 - 25 Lakh
Tata Nexon EV Review (First Drive): Handling, Performance, Driving Impressions, Range, Features & Other Details

Rahul Nagaraj Thinks!

The Tata Nexon EV isn't the first all-electric offering from the brand in the Indian market. The company already sells the electric version of the Tigor compact-sedan in the country. However, the Nexon EV is the first product to be based on the brand new Ziptron technology. The new powertrain is extremely impressive and offers a lot of fun while driving.

The Tata Nexon EV is mainly targeted as an SUV for the city and not as an outright highway mile-muncher. The electric SUV offers an extremely peppy performance, loads of features and an impressive range, all packaged at very competitive pricing making it an extremely attractive product.

What We Liked

  • Instantaneous Power (Especially in Sport Mode)
  • Rear Seat Comfort
  • Regenerative Braking System

What We Didn't Like

  • Suspension Setup in the city (Slightly on the harder side)
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Read more on: #review #tata motors
Article Published On: Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 9:00 [IST]
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