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      2023 Tata Nexon First Drive Review

      Sagar Bhanushali

      Sagar Bhanushali

      Why would I buy it?

      • Improved interiors  
      • Many new features  
      • Petrol-DCA combination  

      Why would I avoid it?

      • Not very exciting to drive  
      • Space remains unchanged 

      Engine and Performance

      Tata Nexon Right Front Three Quarter

      Tata has finally given the Nexon a proper automatic gearbox and it’s a seven-speed, dual-clutch unit that we have seen in the Altroz. But unlike the Altroz, the DCA here gets to work with an engine that can make the most of the benefits that you get with a typical dual-clutch gearbox. Right off the bat, the Nexon turbo petrol feels way more energetic, it's more eager to get going and overall, the way it gains momentum it just feels effortless when you are doing low to mid RPMs. 

      The point here is that the DCA does a good job of masking this turbo engine's low end lag when its not on boost. It has always been quite obvious with the manual Nexon turbo and it was just as bad with the AMT gearbox that the old model had.  Speaking of which, the old Nexon and this new model share the same 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine which makes 120bhp and 170Nm of torque. So it makes decent power and torque and in the real-world, it feels adequate. The Nexon with the DCA gearbox doesn’t come across as an underpowered SUV but it’s not the quickest either. 

      In our 0-100 performance test, it managed to reach 60kmph in 6.73 seconds and 100 in 13.27 seconds. Now the thing is, this engine doesn’t have a strong top end and it shows in the real world. For instance, in our acceleration test, the climb from 100 to 120 took over 5 seconds.    This new 7-speed gearbox definitely improves the driving experience. It doesn't lurch or anything. In fact, it goes through the gears with a level of smoothness that we haven't seen in any Tata vehicle yet. If you are someone who drives every day but over short distances then you should consider this car with the DCA gearbox. 

      Ride and Handling

      Tata Nexon Front View

      If it ain't broke, don't fix it. You have heard this phrase hundreds of times and it holds true for this new Nexon. After all, its foundations have always been solid. It has proven itself to be a safe car in its segment, it rides well and it's got predictable handling manners. No wonder Tata hasn't changed the platform for this new Nexon. Of course, this DCA model weighs more than the old Nexon AMT but besides tuning the suspension, Tata hasn't changed the ride and handling balance for the new Nexon.   

      Exterior Design

      Tata Nexon Left Front Three Quarter

      For what is basically a facelift, there have been so many changes to the new Tata Nexon that it’s a night and day difference. Of course, a lot of things like the floor pan, and the roof may have been carried over but let’s not forget this is a major facelift and there are a lot of sheet metal changes that have contributed to this new look for the Nexon.    

      Basically, it looks like a completely new car if you look at it from the front or the rear. The bonnet sits much higher than before, the front bumper has lots of sharp cuts and creases to it and it now incorporates the headlights. As for the daytime running lights, they may look as sleek as other Tata SUVs but here they also add a lot of visual drama.   Moving to the rear, you could tell that the old Nexon has been around for a while. All the funky design elements like the taillights and the contrasting panel right below the rear glass now look quite old. 

      Thankfully, the rear has been majorly redone and the Nexon now looks properly modern. The highlights here include a rear wiper that’s hidden within the spoiler and the LED light bar that connects the taillights. It also puts up a little show when you lock or unlock the car. 

      Tata Nexon Left Rear Three Quarter

      Interior and Features

      Tata Nexon Dashboard

      The interior of the 2023 Nexon bears no resemblance to the old model. But, more than the design itself, it’s the number of features that the new Nexon comes with is something that’s worth talking about straight away. It gets ventilated front seats, a JBL sound system, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 360 degree surround view system, touch-sensitive controls for the climate control, height adjustment for the driver as well as the co-driver’s seat, tire pressure monitoring system, paddle shifters for the DCA version, wireless charging pad and a fully digital instrument cluster which can also double up as a navigation display. So you are getting plenty of features for your money. Now the only couple of things that it's missing are ambient lighting and a start/stop feature for the engine.  

      Tata Nexon 360-Degree Camera Control

      Like the old Nexon, the placement for the USB ports isn't user-friendly at all and it will be a task to plug in any device. We would recommend you do it only when the car is stationary. Also, I like the fact that the digital instrument cluster for the driver can also display Google Maps in all its glory. However, on this pre-production car, it stopped working within a few minutes of our drive. Finally, some of the bits are from the old car so things like the ORVM controls, the window switch panel, the drive mode selector and the handbrake. Honestly, they all look their age next to everything else that’s new in this cabin. Moving to the positives, I like the new two-spoke steering wheel design that reminds me of the old Sierra and the Estate but of course it's all modern and it's got a Tata logo that glows up when you start the car. The steering wheel controls may look like they are touch-sensitive but these are physical buttons which I prefer. They are just easier to use when you are driving. 

      Tata Nexon Sunroof/Moonroof

      Speaking of other things that are nice, the wireless charging pad is conveniently placed, the visuals from the surround view cameras are of high quality and so is the audio from the JBL sound system. I like that there are so many sound modes and that you can configure the output exactly as per your liking.  Overall space at the back is pretty much the same as before which means you get lots of space for your knees and your head. The seat itself is very comfortable and because you have this slight hump at the edge of the seat base, you also get a good amount of under-thigh support.


      Tata Nexon Left Rear Three Quarter

      The new Tata Nexon has improved in several important areas. It looks way more upmarket and it’s packing a long list of additional features over the old model. Some might be disappointed by the fact that it is largely unchanged when it comes to the mechanicals but the new DCA gearbox adds a whole new degree of usability to the petrol automatic version. All things considered, the Nexon turbo petrol with the DCA gearbox makes for a great everyday car if your daily running isn’t a lot.   

      Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi

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