2023 Tata Nexon EV review – New look, new motor, new features! | First Drive | Autocar India

I think the Tata Nexon EV has earned its spot among the biggest success stories in Indian automotive history. Think about it. How many cars do you know that have convinced an entire nation to try something new? It’s not India’s first EV; in fact, technically, it’s not even Tata Motors’ first EV. I guess, and I’ve said this before, it was just the right car at the right price at the right time. Now, Tata Motors could have just sat on that and let the success flow in, but of course they haven’t. They’ve improved it… and how! I’m

Gavin, this is the updated 2023 Tata Nexon EV, and it is so much more than your average facelift. But before we get right into it, tell me what you think about the Tata Nexon EV facelift. Do you like the way it looks and do you think it has what it takes to hold on to that top spot of being India’s favorite electric SUV? Let us know down in the comments, and if you like this video, give it a like and be sure to subscribe to Autocar India. And if you want the Hindi review of this

car, head over to our sister channel, WhatCar? India. The link is in the description below. Now you’ve already seen much

of what’s new on the outside on the standard Nexon facelift, so I’ll be quick. The front end is completely new, with split headlamps – DRLs on top and full-LED headlamps below. While round the side you’ll find new 16-inch alloys and a subtler treatment for the accents at the base of the windows and the doors. Meanwhile, at the back, you now get an LED light bar in the centre that forks out into LED tail-lamps at the

sides Plus a more sculpted tailgate and bumper, and a new spoiler that hides the wiper underneath. However, the EV gets some changes over and above these. Well the first thing is this paint shade. It’s unique to the EV version, it’s called Empowered Oxide, and it’s got this pearlescent effect with a bit of green mixed into this grey. And it kind of shows in the light – not right now – but it gives it quite a unique look and brings home that electric feel. The next thing you might notice is this LED light bar between the

two DRLs that’s unique to the EV, and it has a very interesting function; it’s not just for show. Because when you plug in the car to charge, it actually lights up as a progress bar to show you how much charge you’ve put into the car yet. And finally, there’s the bumper up front with these new metallic accents that separate it from the ICE version, but also blank off this lower air dam a little bit more compared to the ICE version for better aerodynamics. You still do, however, get the air curtain that channels air through there

The boot remains the same 350 litres as before, and there’s a spare tyre underneath, but you’ll also have to leave room for the charging cable in here. Now let’s hop into the back seat. In the back seat of the Nexon EV, some things have changed and some things have stayed the same. For instance, you’re well aware that there’s a battery under the seat, because the floor is quite noticeably raised, relative to the seat. If you keep your feet flat, you will be in a slightly knees-up position, however, luckily, there’s plenty of room to tuck them

in under the front seat over there. You also get a decent amount of headroom, considering this car’s sloping roof, thanks to a scoop out here. But what’s new is this seat, which is far more thicker cushioned and firmer cushioned than the one before, but it’s still contoured primarily for two passengers. What is also new with this seat is that you get a three-point seat belt for the middle passenger, but like I said, it’s not going to be as comfortable for them in the centre here. A slight downside of this new seat is this armrest, which

is very flimsy, as are these two cupholders here. You still get rear AC vents, but now you also get a 45-watt USB Type-C fast charger. Considering the new three-point seatbelt, a middle headrest would have been a good inclusion, and also missing are pockets to store stuff behind the front seatbacks. What’s clear, however, is that the big upgrades are up front. Now, much like with the Nexon ICE, the biggest transformation has been on the interior with the Nexon EV, and really it’s the greater sense of perceived quality that makes the biggest difference. I’m sitting in a

new ‘persona’ – or trim level, really – and it’s called ‘Empowered’, that’s unique to the EV version, and what it does is blend a very light grey with a very dark grey in a dual-tone colour scheme. Now you might be wondering, where are all those teal accents that used to identify the Nexon EV in the past? Well, they’re here, in this tiny stitching on the dashboard and on the seats. That’s the only teal you’ll find all over the cabin. But other than, that they’ve done a wonderful job of making it feel a little bit more

upmarket, although there are some classic Tata tells, like some of the old switchgear, like these window switches, and a few ergonomic gaffes like the USB port that’s hidden way down there. You still get the small storage box under the armrest and the wireless charger in the centre console, but that means there are no cupholders, except for some shallow ones inside the glove box. Also new is that the Nexon EV now gets a more conventional drive selector lever, while the drive modes are now on the rotary dial. Unfortunately, during our test, both the selectors fumbled on

occasion, being slow to engage and sometimes engaging incorrectly. The AC fan and temperature controls are now toggle switches – as is the trend – and the remaining functions are on a gloss black capacitive touch panel, but luckily they work well. However, there are three other big changes which you will interact with frequently. This two-spoke steering wheel really does remind you of a Range Rover, especially in this light grey and dark grey shade, with this rectangular centre boss. I’m not so sure about this glossy centre, because it does pick up a lot of smudges and scratches

and already it’s starting to show. The illuminated Tata logo is cool though. I will say that these buttons don’t always function as desired and sometimes it takes a second jab to get things going on that screen over there. Yes, the dials are now a full color screen, and have been configured specifically for the EV. All the data is there – state of charge, power consumption and regeneration, and of course, range. You can even configure it in a few different ways, although some of the text is still a bit too small to read easily on the

move. The third thing is the new 12.3-inch touchscreen – a size bigger than what you get on the ICE Nexon. The graphics are crisp and fluid, responses are pretty good, and the UI is friendly. However, we did experience quite a few glitches and crashes, especially when it came to Android Auto and Apple Carplay. You get a crisp, 360-degree camera here, and new to the EV is Arcade.ev – an onboard app store which, with the help of a mobile hotspot or dongle, has apps to keep you entertained while you charge, like OTT video streaming platforms and

even some built-in games. And with that, here’s a quick look at the features. Highlights include ventilated front seats, wireless smartphone charging and interface, onboard air purifier, the big touchscreen and the digital dials. Special mention has to go to the 9-speaker JBL sound system with a subwoofer that sounds great. On the safety front, you get front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera, electronic parking brake, hill ascent and descent assist, front and rear disc brakes, front and rear seat belt warning with load sensors, 6 airbags and ESC as standard. And, of course, the original ice Nexon

got a five-star Global end cap crash rating back in 2018. There’s also a handy blind spot camera that activates when you use the indicator, but annoyingly, it fills up the whole screen and this can be distracting. To sum up the interior then, the design has taken a more mature approach, but the wow factor is still there, thanks to the screens and steering wheel. And while perceived quality on the whole is up, there are still a few instances of less-than-desirable fit and finish. Now let’s go for a drive, because the most unexpected change is yet to

come. Now, while there have been a lot of changes on the outside and a lot more changes on the inside, there have also been some changes under the skin. Now that’s not always very common for a facelift, but this time they seem to have really made some differences. Now they’re not major changes when you look at it on paper, but they do point to the possibility of some improved efficiency, and a small peek into what will come from Tata’s Generation 2 EVs. In fact, people within Tata even informally refer to this as a ‘Generation 1.5

EV’, because although they haven’t made any changes to the chassis or the platform, this car uses a brand new, next-generation electric motor. It’s more compact and 20kg lighter for a start, and has almost 30 percent less reliance on rare-earth materials. It spins to 16,000rpm compared to the 12,000 of the old motor, yet it’s quieter. It has new algorithms for the battery cooling system and charge management, and better integration between the friction brakes and regen brakes. Now before you get excited, no, that hasn’t resulted in a huge jump in horsepower. The jump is only slight and,

in fact, it’s gone down a little bit in torque as well. Tata engineers say this was a conscious decision to help flatten the torque curve and reduce spikes in power, and that you won’t be able to perceive the lost torque in day-to-day driving; more on this later. It also contributes to better efficiency and that means, in the real world, you should get more range out of this battery. Speaking of the range, we haven’t had a chance to do a proper real-world Autocar range test on this car, which we will soon But due to various efficiency-enhancing

improvements – better aerodynamics on the outside, lower-rolling-resistance tyres, and yes, that new motor – Tata claims that this car is more efficient, and the ARAI-rated range is now up to 465 kilometres on this long-range version, which essentially is the Nexon EV Max. Battery capacity remains the same here at 40.5 kilowatt hours, and as before, it can charge at up to 7.2 kilowatt on an AC fast charger. Also the same is DC fast charging which, as we experienced before, doesn’t go faster than 30 kilowatts, which is slow by modern standards. A cool new addition is that

the Nexon EV can now do vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-load charging via an add-on accessory, which means you can use your car to charge an appliance or another EV. They’ve also said the car recuperates more energy in every regen mode. Yes, the regen modes return, and this time they’re controlled by paddle shifters. Clicking the plus paddle increases the amount of regen and clicking minus lowers the regen level. And you can switch it off entirely for when you want to coast on the highway. I have to say the level of regen feels about the same. Even in its

highest setting, it can never bring you to a complete halt, so you can’t do full one-pedal driving, but it feels strong enough in Level 2 and Level 3, so if you’re in the mood to recoup some energy during city driving, it will be quite useful. Driving this car on the whole feels very familiar. That hasn’t changed too much with this new motor. There’s no greater urgency and, in fact, the responses have been softened slightly, so you don’t get that sudden leap ahead that you might have done in the previous Nexon EV. As before, it’s not

got that brutal ferocity of some other EVs, but it’s still plenty strong enough. in fact, if you suddenly turn it up to Sport mode it feels like a brake has been released and suddenly you’re let go at speed So yeah, there is a lot of power. Just that manic urgency is not there, and I think that’s just fine. Tata Motors claims the 0-100 kph time is down to 8.9 seconds, and in a quick test with our equipment in wet conditions, we managed 9.3 seconds, which is not too far off. And yes, it is absolutely a

welcome sight to have proper EV readouts here on a nice full-screen colour digital display. The other thing that’s remained pleasantly the same are this car’s ride and handling dynamics. There is a slight firm edge to this car’s ride, but overall it gives you a feeling of toughness and confidence. And if you thump through a big pothole at speed, it will just shake it off without flinching or disturbing you in the slightest in the cabin. Now, as before, when it comes to handling, the Nexon is really right up there. It’s got decent body control and the

steering has some weight. In fact, I think maybe a little too much weight for city driving. Could do with a little bit more lightness in town. But on a nice road, that makes it a lot of fun. Also, because of the robust suspension, you can do this on a not-so-nice road – one with a slightly broken surface, like this one, and you can drive it quickly without flinching. So it continues to drive well too, and really what that means is that Tata Motors has managed to improve on their winning formula without deviating from what made

it successful in the first place. I think it’s time to park up and sum up. Now, when we started doing this review for the Nexon EV facelift, I don’t think any of us were prepared for just how significant the changes would be. But now that it’s done, they’ve all added up. Not just the ones to the Nexon facelift on the whole, but to the EV specifically as well. They’re all tiny, but they’re all meaningful, and they all come together to make for a car that is entirely more desirable and entirely more recommendable to somebody who’s

taking their first plunge into electric mobility. Now yes, it’s still not the fastest charging EV around, we’ll have to do our Autocar range test to tell you what it’s like in the real world, and yes, at the time of this review we don’t know the price, yet. But Tata Motors these days is just so on top of its game when it comes to its electric cars that I think they’ll get it spot on. The Nexon EV facelift? Yeah, it gets a thumbs up from us.

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