2023 Tata Nexon: Punching Above!

  • Sep 6, 2023
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While the 2023 Tata Nexon isn’t a new-generation car in the traditional sense, the Nexon experience is now significantly different.

The Tata Nexon was launched in 2017 and as the years went by, the sub-compact SUV frequently and consistently received updates to make sure it stayed modern enough. These updates are besides:

  • The 2020 Tata Nexon facelift
  • The endless list of special editions
  • A car that started a mini revolution of its own - the Tata Nexon EV 
  • And the expansion of this model line to include over 40 possible variants!

Come 2023 and what we should have been looking at is a brand-new generation of the Tata Nexon. This usually entails a change in platform, perhaps a departure in design language and changes to variables like the space and practicality available. That isn’t what’s happened with the 2023 Tata Nexon. 

However, it doesn’t subdue the fact that this is a monumental change in the Tata Nexon experience, to the extent that just calling it a facelift would be underplaying just how much is new here.

Looks

The first and most apparent change is in the range of colour options. The new Tata Nexon has bright and popping colours like purple, turquoise, bright red and a specific kind of grey that you traditionally see on European cars (often referred to as Nardo Grey).

The other standout is the new DRL signature that makes the 2023 Tata Nexon look a bit techier. The fascia also changes to now include a gloss black mask above the front grille and the LED headlights and fog lights get integrated into the front bumper. Viewed head-on, it’s easy to tell this Tata Nexon apart from the version it replaces.

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However, the side profile will look plenty familiar as it still has the curvy crossover stance the Tata Nexon always did. The one point of differentiation: the 16-inch alloy wheels that get aero-flaps integrated into them to improve efficiency and reduce drag.

At the rear, the big change comes in the form of the X-shaped connected LED tail lamps that make this Tata Nexon easy to distinguish from the rear. Here too, we see a gloss black finish around the lamps and while they look good, they tend to scratch up far too easily. Another change is the rear wiper that’s now tucked away underneath the rear spoiler, giving the rear a cleaner look. The DRLs and taillights also get a new welcome/goodbye lighting animation that looks cool!

Interior

In design, the change is a small but significant one. The 2023 Tata Nexon features more horizontally aligned elements. Tata has also employed more leatherette throughout the cabin, including some on the dashboard. The quality of plastics has also improved and generally, the experience inside the new Tata Nexon is a more premium one.

Nowhere is this seen more than in the seats. Both, the front and rear seats have been beefed up with a generous heap of extra padding, giving you a mobile sofa experience. Not only are the seats comfortable, they also offer better underthigh support while the padding is at the right balance between soft and firm to make the seats good for both city commutes and long distance trips.

However, the chunkier seats combined with the new front seats that haven’t been scooped out at the rear seem to have reduced the knee room available. You can still seat a 6 footer behind their own driving position but the space left has reduced by a few millimeters.

Some other changes include the addition of type-A and type-C USB chargers in both seat rows, both front seats are now height-adjustable and there are more gloss black elements in the centre console, which look premium but are smudge and scratch magnets. Opting for the purple exterior paint will also get you a purple-black interior while the other colours get a black cabin.

Tata did miss an opportunity to cover some gaps in practicality. The front storage area is quite small and isn’t ideal to store any knick-knacks. And with the wireless phone charger and drive mode dial taking up space in the middle, there’s simply no usable cupholder at all.

Features

First, there’s the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wirelessly. The screen’s interface is very easy to follow with a handy drop down slider for shortcuts as well. Interestingly, the screen and the instrument cluster will have themes that are variant specific.

FYI: Variants: Smart, Smart+, Pure, Creative, Creative+, Fearless, Fearless Plus+

Operationally, this screen is great but it did glitch at different points and even froze completely with the issues experienced in more than one test car.

This screen also hosts two important new feature displays: the 360-degree camera, and the linked blind-view camera. We didn’t get to test it out extensively in the dark, but the camera feed, though slightly laggy, offered a clear surround view with a good deal of flexibility when it comes to viewing angles. The indicator linked blind view camera does come in handy too. One catch here is its integration, wherein the feed takes up the full view on the touchscreen so if you have, say, navigation running, the view gets pasted over which can make things tricky for you especially on unknown roads.

But a cool bit of kit where you can see the navigation feed in the new 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. With Android Auto, you can see the Google Maps feed right here and with Apple CarPlay, you’ll have Apple Maps displayed, either in between the dials or with maps taking up the full real estate.

This digital cluster offers multiple views, and besides info like the seatbelt warning and outside temperature display, also shows you what media’s being used, the highline TPMS display and the usual driving data.

 

Other Features

Cruise Control

Tilt Steering

Wireless Phone Charger

Sunroof

iRA Connected Car Tech

Auto-Dimming IRVM

Auto Headlamps

Rain-Sensing Wipers

Ventilated Front Seats

Smart-Key With Push-Button Start

 

The new two-spoke Tata steering looks like a touch panel especially with the gently glowing Tata logo but does employ traditional buttons. The AC console, however, gets a new touch-sensitive panel. Tata’s done well to keep the blower speed and temperature toggles as physical controls but the hazard light, door lock, boot release and other AC functions including express cool are touch-to-use.

Last but not the least, the new JBL sound system with 4 speakers, 4 tweeters and a subwoofer delivers quite a complete and punchy aural experience.

Boot Space

Two large/airport-sized suitcases or two medium-sized bags along with some duffel bags can fit into the boot with the parcel tray still in place. There are 4 bag hooks integrated into the boot’s plastic panels, along with a 12V socket as well. The rear seats do fold down but at a rather sharp angle. 

However, you can flip the rear seat base up and get a flatter position for the dropped backrests, although it still won’t sit flush in line with the boot floor.

Safety

6 airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP, rear parking sensors and ISOFIX come as standard. Higher variants add front parking sensors, highline TPMS, and a rear camera or 360-degree camera with blind-view monitoring.

Drive

The 2023 Tata Nexon continues with the same 1.2-litre petrol (120PS/170Nm) and 1.5-litre diesel (115PS/260Nm) engines. The petrol will be offered with 4 transmissions: a 5-speed manual, a 6-speed manual, a 6-speed AMT, and the new 7-speed DCT, while the diesel gets either a 6-speed manual or an AMT.

Driving the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is a smooth and relaxed experience. This transmission offers very smooth gear changes even with hard throttle inputs and brings in a layer of sophistication in the drive experience that the Tata Nexon hasn’t offered until now. You can tell the engine is a 3-cylinder unit by how it sounds and the rather clunky sound it makes when shut off but vibrations are kept in check reasonably well.

All the automatics are now offered with paddle-shifters. While they do come in handy for added manual control and manual mode does let you stick to higher revs for long, pressing and holding the upshift paddle doesn’t re-engage Drive mode as it does in any other paddle-shifter equipped automatics (something Tata could fix).

The diesel is the go-to option for those who expect high running especially in heavy city traffic. While the petrol DCT certainly offers the most sophisticated drive experience, cars running this powertrain combination tend to be less fuel-efficient in heavy traffic.

Ride comfort is where the Tata Nexon scores highest, though. Even the sharpest of bumps are dusted off with ease, with the suspension noise controlled very well too. The Tata Nexon also offers good high-speed manners and doesn’t get bouncy even with a full passenger load.

Verdict

What Tata has managed to do with the 2023 Tata Nexon is retain what made it a great family car to begin with while taking things to the next level, especially with the interior quality, petrol DCT, design and tech package.

However, it’s important for facets like the tech package run glitch-free for the experience to truly deliver on its potential. This was also an opportunity missed to correct certain functional gaps in the Nexon’s interior practicality package.

That addressed, the new Nexon isn’t just a threat to every other car in the segment, it’s now doing enough to truly punch above its weight.

Tata Nexon
Tata Nexon
Rs. 7.99 Lakh
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