Tata Nexon electric SUV in Cartoq’s First Drive Review: Should the Hyundai Kona & MG eZS be worried?

There is no doubt in the fact that the future of mobility is definitely electric and in the coming years we will see a significant increase in the use of electric vehicles on our roads. 2019 was the year when we got our first long range fully electric SUV in India in the form of Hyundai Kona and was followed by MG’s ZS EV which we had reviewed on our website last month. To check out MG ZS EV review on our website click here.

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Now we have another electric SUV, this time from homegrown manufacturer Tata Motors in the form of Nexon EV. We got a chance to test drive this all-new Tata Nexon in it’s electric avatar a few days ago. Here is the detailed review of the new Nexon EV that will compete with the upcoming MG ZS EV and Hyundai Kona.

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Starting with the way it looks. The new Nexon EV gets a new and refreshing  look that is based upon Tata’s Impact 2.0 design philosophy. compared to the normal ICE Nexon, the EV looks sharp and even sporty from some angles.We can expect a similar design in the upcoming Tata Nexon facelift also. The headlights have been completely redesigned and are sleek with projector type lights in them. They also get LED DRLs which also function as turn indicators. Tri-arrow designs have been included in various parts of the exterior as well as the interiors.

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There are tri-arrow inserts on lower part of the bumper, The DRL, side cladding, at the rear bumper, on the seats inside, on door pads and even the clear lens LED tail light gets similar tri-arrow touch to them. Overall the design of the car looks upmarket and polished. The Nexon EV will come in three variants. XM, XZ+ and XZ+ Lux and will be available in three colours of Signature Teal Blue colour which got during the drive, Moonlit Silver and Glacier white. On all the three variants you’ll get Tata Electric blue on the humanity line at the front, waist line and the insert on the boot that runs between the tail lamps. The base variant gets 16 inch steel wheels whereas the XZ+ and XZ+ Lux get 16-inch alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tyres for better range.

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Dimension-wise nothing has changed in the Nexon EV in comparison to the regular Nexon, which means that the cabin remains spacious. When the higher XZ+ and XZ+ Lux trims provide 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay the XM gets a basic music system with no touchscreen. Only the XZ+ variant gets electric sunroof, auto headlamps, rain sensing wipers and leatherette seats. Nexon EV also gets AC vents for rear seat passengers.

Nexon Ev 1

The instrument cluster has also been changed. It is similar to the one seen in Altroz which is part figital and part analog. It shows the various information like the juice left in the battery, trip meter, range, flow of energy, drive mode, acceleration and regenerative braking status etc.It gets safety features like Dual airbags, ABS and EBD as standard across the range. Just like regular Nexon, the EV also gets a similar dashboard layout with their electric blue inserts on the AC vents, instrument console and the storage space on centre console.

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Like most of the cars that we have these days, The Nexon EV also gets connected car features. Tata Nexon EV uses a ZConnect app using which the owner can get realtime status of the vehicle. It has 35 connected features using which one can remotely pre-cool the car, track driving behaviour, locate car, immobilise it in case of theft and so on. One of the advanced features that XZ+ and XZ+ Lux get is the ‘What 3 words’ navigation system using which you can send your precise location from your phone itself. this comes in handy in a country like India where the streets are pretty confusing. Tata is the first Indian manufacturer to offer this feature in a car.

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So, what exactly has changed?. Well, the new Nexon EV as the name suggests is a fully electric vehicle. The Nexon EV gets it’s power from a 30.2 Kwh high capacity lithium-ion battery which is connected to permanent magnet AC motor at the front. The motors generates 129 PS of power and 245 Nm of peak torque. For better weight management and handling the battery pack has been placed under the floor. It is dust and water-proof and meets IP67 standards. It is also liquid cooled for better performance in Indian conditions.

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The Nexon EV is a quick car and can do 0-100 kmph sprint in just 9.9 seconds. The car gets an ARAI certified range of 312 km, a real world range of around 250-275 km can be expected depending upon how you drive it. Tata Motors has electronically limited the top speed to 120 kmph. The car takes around 60 min to charge 80 percent from a DC charger, whereas the AC charger will take around 8-hrs to charge the car fully.

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How does the Nexon EV feel to drive?. This is the most important part. The moment you step inside the cabin everything seems familiar, except for the gear knob it now has R, N, D and S written on it. The rotary switch is the same as that of the drive selector on regular Nexon. The R stands for reverse, N stands for Nuetral, D for Drive and S for Sport mode.

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The 245 Nm of torque is all available from a standstill. The power delivery in the D mode is pretty linear and this when you can squeeze out maximum range from the batteries. It is only when you switch it to the S mode you get the real feel of the electric motor working under the hood. The nature of the car suddenly changes and there is a sudden flow of energy and this pushes you back on the seat and leaves a smile on your face.

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The power to throttle response in the Sport mode is insane. The suspension is a bit on the firmer side and the body roll is also well contained. The car feels planted in the corners. The steering however is very light which does not inspire confidence at higher speeds but, will turn out to be a boon in city traffic conditions. While driving in the city we hardly ever had to press the brakes as the regen system takes over the moment you lift off the foot from accelerator. This can be annoying at times especially in Sport mode where the regen system  works more vigorously.

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Some of the things that we wish the Nexon EV had are the Cruise control which the competition offers, a USB charger for rear seat passengers and a Parking mode on the gear selector knob. Tata even took us to their Test track we got a chance to know more about Nexon EV’s Hill Ascent Assist and Descent Assist feature. Ascent Assist feature helps the car from rolling back on a slope and keeps it moving forward and the Descent Assist maintains a speed between 10-20 kmph while coming down a slope. The Tata Nexon EV is an extensively tested product and we even got a chance to take it through 300 mm deep water.

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Overall, the Nexon EV is a great product and can be called as a great start from an Indian manufacturer. Tata is also giving 8 years or 1.6 lakh kilometres warranty on motor and battery. Nexon EV is built on India’s safest car platform and this will definitely inspire confidence in buyers when they consider this as an option.

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Apart from those small niggles, Tata Nexon EV is a great product that is peppy enough, has descent range, drives and handles well and provides peace of mind to the owner by giving out all the information through the app. Coming to the price, even though Tata has not officially confirmed the price we expect it to be somewhere between the Rs 15 lakh to Rs 18 lakh bracket. which will make it cheaper than the Hyundai Kona, may be even the MG ZS EV.