Why would I buy it?
- Fabulous looks
- Many advanced features
- Improved range and drivability
Why would I avoid it?
- Would be more expensive
- Lower version isn’t as feature-rich
Engine and Performance
This isn’t a generation change, so the platform and everything else underneath remains unchanged. But Tata says they have reworked a few things here and there. Firstly, the second generation motors are now 20 kilos lighter than before and have a smaller packaging. It also has a new algorithm for load management which is optimised from the data collected from the many Tata EVs already on the road. Even the iVBAC – which is a combined system of normal braking and regen braking – is improved for better efficiency
These changes have made the new Nexon EV feel smoother and more refined. The throttle response is progressive and changes with the three drive modes offered here. In the Eco mode, it is subdued and feels restrained, while the Sport mode is quite sharp and has an aggressive throttle response. It’s the City mode which feels just right for everyday drivability. The three brake-energy regen modes are now controlled via metallic paddle shifters placed behind the wheel. It still doesn’t have a one-pedal setup in the highest regen setting. But overall, the regen experience has improved as it is less lurchy and more progressive.
The long-range version has a claimed range of 465km, which is up from the Nexon EV Max. Even the mid-range (Prime) version has 10km of additional range than before at 325km. Tata says this updated Nexon EV should get seven per cent additional range thanks to the changes they have made to it. Tata has also added vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-load (V2L) charging support with this update. It increases the versatility of the Nexon EV allowing V2V speeds of up to 3.3kW and up to 5kW for compatible models. And the V2L can power up electrical appliances with a simple attachment.
Ride and Handling
The slow-speed ride of this updated Nexon EV is now quite impressive. It remains flat and absorbs bumps and creases without letting anything inside the cabin. We even took it over the beaten path to reach our shoot location and the Nexon EV obliged, thanks to its higher ground clearance. Even the highway manners feel like you are in a much more expensive car.
The steering too has good weight to it. It's not light and lifeless and has a progressive feel be it at city or highway speeds. There’s some torque steer present when you go aggressive on the throttle with the steering turned in and the tyres struggling to grip. But drive it sedately and the new Nexon EV would give you no reason to complain.
Taking lots of cues from the Curvv Concept, the updated Nexon EV still looks like it’s in the concept stage. It bears no resemblance to the Nexon EV it replaces and gets a sleek LED strip connecting across the nose, which isn’t seen in the standard Nexon facelift. Also, the LED strips at the front and rear now have a lightning sequence for welcome and goodbye. What’s more, this LED strip also shows the charging status with its animation.
As part of the aerodynamic upgrade, there’s a vent on either side of the bumper which contributes to improving the range by two per cent, says Tata. More aerodynamic upgrades are seen on these 16-inch wheels, which are now wrapped in EV-specific tyres with lower rolling resistance. It's on the side you’d see the resemblance to the Nexon with the identical C-pillar and ground clearance remaining unchanged at 205mm.
At the back, the tail lamps connect in the middle and have a sharp crease with a smoked black design. The rear wipers are hidden inside the roof-mounted spoiler. You can have the Nexon EV in any of the seven colour options. However, the colour choice also depends on which variant you are buying.
Interior and Features
The revamped cabin comes with a new infotainment system and the phygital controls below it, an all-digital driver's display, and a new two-spoke steering wheel. We saw a similar 10.25-inch screen in the Harrier/Safari Red Dark and Nexon EV Max Dark editions, but there are a few improvements here. Firstly the size has increased to 12.3 inches and is exclusive to the Nexon EV. It’s a widescreen display sourced by Harman and the touch response is good if not great. The menus and user interface are simple to understand and remember.
It also has a new feature called Arcade. It is an app suite just like the Play Store. You can download apps including OTT apps to stream movies, shows, and music. There are also inbuilt games in it. But it needs to be noted that the streaming is only possible when the car is stationary (like when charging), it’s a safety precaution that Tata has thought about.
The quality of the videos on this screen was top notch and it is complemented by a brilliant-sounding and immersive JBL nine-speaker sound system. On the flip side, there’s a lot of reflection on the screen so you don’t have a perfect viewing angle. Also, it needs a Wi-Fi hotspot as it doesn't have an inbuilt internet service.
The phygital buttons below don’t have a tactile feel to them. And they have very mixed functions on it with no uniformity. The MID has a very futuristic-looking console and looks like it belongs to a much higher segment. It offers a lot of information along with configurability. You have smaller details like maps, energy consumption, trip data, and charge remaining and the best part is the projection of navigation from Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The steering wheel is two-spoke and gets an illuminated Tata logo. It's a fancy thing and the whole steering is inspired by a gaming console and the leather-wrapped steering feels nice to hold. Even the buttons on the steering feel nice to operate. It isn’t tactile but feels solid and premium.
With this new Nexon EV, Tata Motors wants to change the game. And they have gone to town with it as well. It looks fantastic - like it is still in the concept stage. There are so many new features, some belonging or not even offered in EVs twice the price range the Nexon EV is expected to be launched at. And the driveability and range have only gotten better. It’s hard to fault as well.
However, at this stage, a little more work under the skin would have made this a generation change instead of just a facelift. But, with so much on offer, the pricing of the new Nexon EV is expected to go up significantly. That’s the reason Tata has strategically introduced three budget placements for it. But at the end of the day, the Nexon EV is ruling the roost when it comes to EV charge in India. And with this update, it has just become undisputed.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi