The Maruti Suzuki Brezza rules the sub-compact SUV space, a space that was created by Ford’s EcoSport back in 2013. The Ford although initially successful began to lose the public gaze as the Brezza settled into the market. Ever since this space has been mainly Brezza territory, and no one else really else in the segment seems to be making a dent. Now, however, there’s a new kid on the block, the Tata Nexon. Line both up, and the Nexon will definitely grab your attention! We love the fact that in its journey from a concept, that took our breath away at the 2014 Auto Expo, to the creation it lost very little. It still looks like a concept with those bulky wheel arches, chunky 16-inch tyres and that coupe-style fastback roof-line. In comparison, the Maruti Vitara Brezza’s very well defined boxy SUV design looks almost a tad bland. But looks are subjective, and the Brezza’s SUV design has held it in good stead in the market thus far. The question is then whether the Tata Nexon is more than just another pretty face especially considering that it undercuts the Brezza by a considerable sum.
In terms of basic dimensions, both these sub-compact SUVs push the 4-metre barrier almost to the ragged edge. Both are almost identical in terms of length, with the Nexon at 3994 mm and the Brezza pushing the envelope at 3995 mm. The Brezza at 1640 mm is taller than the Nexon which measures at 1607 mm, thanks to its trick roofline. Even in terms of width, the two are barely within 2cms of each other, with the Nexon being wider at 1811 mm in comparison to the Brezza’s 1790 mm width. Overall, however, in layman's terms, the Nexon uses a lot of cool design tricks like lower seating in the cabin (although this doesn’t detract from the slightly commanding driving position), and a high door line in the back to compensate for the sloping roofline. However, the Brezza’s flat roofline does make for a roomier feeling in the cabin and better headroom. When it comes to SUVs, compact sub-compact or regular the headline in dimensions is the boot space and here again, the Nexon wins with 30 litres more than the Brezza’s 328-litre boot. Although in the interest of a well-rounded comparison, it is noteworthy that the Brezza’s boot is easier to load. Both Boots can be folded with 60:40 splits to liberate boot space.
Interiors and Features
On paper, both these cars are almost matched in terms of features on offer. Depending on what you’re willing to spend on your Nexon or Brezza both get touchscreen infotainment systems, climate control and cooled glove box. Brezza gets two individual boxes while the Nexon gets a single large cooled and lit glove box with a removable tray for tablets, cellphones and laptops with both having bottle holders in the door pockets. The Nexon also gets an umbrella holder that channels water from a wet umbrella out of the car through the door pocket. In the end, the Nexon is just a more interesting place to be in.
The dash gets a mix of rubberised plastic and a silver gloss finished plastic that adds character, The buttons and knobs all feel really premium to use and touch, overall, the Nexon is a game changer, in terms of the way we look at Tata interiors. The tambour style sliding door between the drivers and passenger seat just builds on that premium charm. The party piece however still is the centrally-top mounted Display on the Nexon, which is built in with Tata’s ConnectNext system but in a cooler avatar, and is compatible with Android Auto, Mirrorlink and Apple CarPlay. The Brezza only gets Apple CarPlay as of now. In terms of Interiors and features, we’d have to give it to Tata’s Nexon beating the Brezza simply in terms of being fresher in terms of aesthetic appeal. However, the Brezza does offer a more spacious cabin environment. The Tata Nexon’s Harman sourced speakers too are significantly better than those in the Maruti Brezza.
Engine and Performance
This is where the Nexon starts to take a clear lead. The Nexon is available in two engine options a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol motor that makes about 108 hp and about 190 Nm of torque, and a more torquey 1.5-litre diesel engine that makes 108 hp and 260 Nm of torque. Pit that against the Brezza’s single-engine-option, a 1.3-litre diesel motor that makes 90 hp and 200 Nm of torque and there is a considerable bridge between the two. It is important to note that the Brezza is no slouch since it is about 100 kilos lighter than the Nexon. The only noticeable lag in the engine is in the lower revs where it might ask you to shift down a few more times than you’d like. The Tata Nexon gets three drive modes City, Eco and Sport which vary the engine maps to give you either more mileage, more power or a mix of both, although the Nexon does miss out on Cruise Control that the Brezza has. In terms of the way the engine and gear ratios have been laid out the Nexon is definitely more engaging to drive, but it is important to note that the Brezza’s Fiat sourced motors might just be one of the most reliable small diesel engines ever built!
In terms of safety, both cars are almost evenly matched, the Nexon gets two airbags in the front as standard. The Brezza gets one and upper variants get two. Both have ABS systems with electronic brake-force distribution or EBD. Which brings us to the Verdict and, honestly, it is a very close one. Maruti-Suzuki’s brand presence in India is almost an enigma, match that to a reliable engine and sturdy design and it pretty much explains why the Brezza has been topping the charts thus far. The Nexon however, is a true challenger and it has all makings of a successful vehicle - great build, exciting design, exceptional features, and if that’s not reason enough to pick the Nexon, the fully-loaded Nexon diesel retails for Rs 50,000 less than the Brezza. This means that overall the Nexon is definitely worth a strong consideration and our winner for this comparo. Despite it, all the Brezza would still appeal to a larger number of buyers. With the launch of the refreshed Ecosport just around the corner, it'll be interesting to see who takes the crown in this three-way fight.