Tata Nexon EV First Drive Review: Can it be your next daily drive?

Can the Tata Nexon Electric become your next daily driver? Read our first-drive review of India's first all-electric sub-four-meter SUV to find out!

By:January 21, 2020 8:58 AM

Expanding its portfolio of electric vehicles, Tata Motors is soon going to launch an all-electric derivative of the Nexon in India. This will essentially be India’s first electric sub-four-meter SUV. We recently got the opportunity to test drive this vehicle in the city of Pune, and in this review, we will be sharing with you our first-drive impressions of what could be a gamechanger for the homegrown carmaker.

Exteriors:
The Tata Nexon EV is based on the Nexon facelift and hence comes with all the design changes that the combustion derivative of this SUV has received with its mid-life update. The front fascia of this SUV has been completely redesigned. The headlamps now bear a sharper look and continue to house projector units. The restyled LED daytime running strip now also doubles up as turn indicators. The grille, as well as the bumper too, gets a new look which is a lot sharper in comparison.

From the side, the Nexon EV retains the swelled wheel arches sitting underneath which are 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels. The A, B and C pillar have been blacked-out and this combined with the contrasting roof, gives the Nexon EV a very funky look. At the back, the scale of the design updates has been dialled down a notch. The only new bits that you see here are the redesigned tail-lamps and the new bumper.

On the whole, the Nexon EV looks quite appealing, especially in the Teal Blue exterior colour scheme. Aesthetically, it stands as an evolution over the standard pre-facelift Nexon and is sure going to be a head-turner on the road.

Interiors:
The cabin layout of the Tata Nexon EV is identical to the standard Nexon. Yes, there are a few unique design elements such as the blue-coloured highlights around the instrument cluster, air-con vents and on the centre tunnel. The door-pad trim also features a new design. The seats are wrapped in leatherette while the steering wheel has been wrapped in leather. There is a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system which features better usability in comparison to the older unit. It supports smartphone connectivity through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Tata Motors has also introduced ZConnect, its connected car technology on the Nexon EV. It offers 35 connected car features such as safety alerts, remote commands, location-based services and a lot more.

A host of new features have been added to the Nexon EV. The list includes an electric sunroof, automatic headlamps and rain-sensing wipers along with an electrically operated tail-gate. But these are available only on the top-spec XZ+ Lux variant. Overall, the cabin feels better built and put-together in comparison to the first generation Nexon.

Driving Performance:
Now, moving on to the most important part, which is how is the Tata Nexon EV like to drive. Well, first let’s talk about what drives the electric SUV. Sitting underneath is a 30.2 kWh Lithium-Ion battery pack that powers the 3-phase electric motor. The electric motor in question produces 129 hp of power along with 245 Nm of peak torque. The motor sends the power to the front wheels with the help of single-speed automatic transmission.

There are two driving modes on offer namely Sport and Drive. Tata says that there is a 60 per cent difference between the power and torque outputs in the two modes. Under normal conditions i.e. city driving, the Drive mode is sufficient enough. You will not feel that an extra boost of power is required. The Sports mode, on the other hand, is a treat. The power delivery offered in this is quite intense and is actually addictive. In Sports mode, Tata claims that the Nexon EV will do 0-100 kmph in just 9.9 seconds.

The battery pack of the Tata Nexon EV sits underneath the floor of the vehicle. Hence, this has helped in reducing its ground clearance by 40 mm, thereby lowering the centre of gravity. As a result, the driving dynamics of the Nexon EV in a straight line and through wide turns are slightly better than the standard Nexon. That said, you do feel the weight of the car, especially under braking.

The suspension set-up the Tata Nexon EV has also been reworked in order to accommodate the extra weight. Though it is still on a slightly stiffer side, it absorbs bumps quite well and offers decent stability on higher speeds. Tata has also improved the cabin insulation of the Nexon EV over the standard Nexon. It becomes apparent right from the moment you start driving this e-SUV. Even at triple-digit speeds, the road noise is well contained. However, you do get slight wind-noise from the huge rear-view mirrors.

Brakes of the electric Tata Nexon offer good feedback. Though you will not need to use them much when driving at slow speeds as the regenerative braking is enough to bring the car to a crawling distance. However, the system does not bring the car to a complete halt. The Nexon EV comes with hill descent and hill assist control. The former keeps the speed of the e-SUV limited at 16-18 kmph while going down the hill. On the other hand, the latter, not only stop the vehicle from moving backwards on an incline but also crawls it up the same without any throttle input.

Charging:
What about charging? Well, Tata Motors is offering a two-tier charging support system for the Nexon EV. There will be a standard 15 amp charger on offer which is said to charge this car from 20 per cent to 100 per cent in 8 hours. In addition to this, there will also be a 50 kWh charger installed by Tata Motors in sync with Tata Power at select locations around the country which is going to charge the batteries of the Nexon EV from 0 – 80 per cent in 60 minutes.

Safety:
In terms of safety, the Tata Nexon EV comes with dual airbags along with ABS with EBD. In addition to this, there will be cornering stability control on offer as well. The pre-facelift Tata Nexon scored a commendable 5-stars in the Global NCAP crash tests. Though the Nexon EV hasn’t been crash-tested yet, expect a similar performance from the same.

Verdict:
The Tata Nexon EV is expected to be priced in-between Rs 15 lakh to Rs 17 lakh. Yes, this price bracket is higher in comparison to that of the standard Nexon, but, some of the extra money that you are paying will be saved on your fuel bills over time. The Tata Nexon EV has the potential to become your next daily driver. It has all the features and creature comforts that you can expect from a vehicle of its class. It rides well, is powerful enough and at the same time offers impressive safety. The final piece of the puzzle will be a decent supporting charging infrastructure, which at the time in India, is lacking.

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