2023 Tata Nexon EV review, first drive - Range tested!
You'll know by now that the Tata Nexon has taken quite a step forward with its new update. But, it can be argued that the Tata Nexon EV has played a significant role in keeping this compact SUV relevant for so long to begin with. It's also fair to say that the Nexon EV was the first electric car to become a truly mainstream choice in India, so this new one has big shoes to fill.
2023 Tata Nexon EV Battery, charging, real-world range
The reworked 2023 Tata Nexon EV continues with the same battery sizes as before, although the nomenclature has now changed. The Prime and Max suffixes have been dropped for the simpler Medium Range and Long Range monikers. The smaller battery pack is 30 kWh and the larger one seen here is 40.5 kWh.
But a host of changes have improved range. There's a new motor that's 20 kg lighter and smaller, so overall weight has increased only marginally despite some structural reinforcements. The regen is now more aggressive by about 10 to 15 per cent while a more efficient cooling system has been added too for the batteries and cabin.
The air curtains, wheel inserts and spoiler that it shares with the ICE Nexon have increased aero efficiency and added 2 per cent range. Tata also claims that the tyres for the 16-inch wheels are of the lowest resistance in the country. This has allowed the ARAI range of this Long Range model to go up to 465 km from the Max's 453 km.
We managed a quick city range test to test the efficacy of these changes. We covered 41.4 km entirely in the city and used 4.45 kW to do this. This gives the new Nexon EV Long Range a 9.03 km/kWh efficiency figure and a range of 377 km in the city. This is higher than the last time we tested a Nexon EV Max which returned a city range of 355 km. Effectively, you can expect the new Nexon EV to be 5 to 7 per cent more efficient than the previous versions, in line with Tata's claims.
Charging speeds haven't changed but the Nexon EV now adds V2L and V2V functionality. So you can power small appliances at 2.6 kW and charge other EVs at 3.2 kW, that's about the same rating as a portable charger.
2023 Tata Nexon EV Driving impressions
Look at the new Tata Nexon EV specs, and you'll be a touch apprehensive at first. The power out has remained largely similar at 145PS but torque has dropped significantly from 250 Nm to 215 Nm. The claimed 0 to 100 kmph time has dropped to 8.9s too, us having tested the previous max at 8.8s.
But Tata Motors says there's lower gearing and easier access to the torque now, and this is quite apparent when you start driving the new EV. So you still start with a progressive build-up of torque, and like earlier, the Nexon EV will trundle along in that linear, effortless manner that makes it so easy to use in traffic. The flat EV torque is as accessible as before, and if anything, the power delivery has been refined further. The improved calibration is quite noticeable with there being no real spikes or dips in the power being put through the wheels. Further, the Nexon EV will also shift quite smoothly from acceleration to regen, with no apparent hesitation. Tata Motors had worked on this throughout the Nexon EV Max, but it has taken a step forward here.
The paddle-operated regen modes also make life easier. You can switch between modes much easier now, quickly freeing up the drivetrain when the road opens up or dialling up the deceleration when there's an obstacle. With the regen effect also increasing, the Nexon EV is now easier to live with in stop-go traffic too. There's still no one-pedal driving in the highest regen mode but the SUV will slow right down to a convenient 5 kmph crawl which makes negotiating these situations quite easy.
The drive modes continue as they were. So you have Eco, City and Sport with the full outputs in Sport and progressively lesser torque in the lower modes. But these too have been refined further. The lesser torque and smoother calibration have dialled out the slight wheelspin and torque steer that sometimes caught you out earlier in the Sport mode. The Eco mode is good enough for city use, you'll only want to switch to the City mode on steep inclines or during quicker overtakes.
The new Nexon EV also rides and handles in a more polished way. There's still that firm edge to the ride at low speeds like many EVs, so you will still notice potholes, speed breakers and broken patches, but it's not jarring. It does well to round off these impacts to not become too uncomfortable. There's also good high-speed stability. Top speed has gone up to 150 kmph, so highway runs are perfectly doable. At these speeds, the Nexon EV is as steady and sure-footed as the Nexon always has been.
Also like earlier, and like most Tata Motors' EVs, this new Nexon EV is quite a good handling car. On a twisty section of road, the low-slung weight helps this tall SUV. It will lean, no doubt, but it do so in a smooth, predictable manner.
You'll have to be somewhat of an enthusiast, but you can use the paddles to slow the Nexon EV down smoothly into a corner and the power out by slacking off the recuperation. It takes some getting used to but makes for quite a pleasing driving experience. Surprisingly, the Nexon EV's steering feels quite a bit better than the ICE version's. There's some heft to it, but it's also fairly direct and consistent. So you have a good idea of where to point the car in most situations and an added sense of confidence.
Interiors, features, space
The Tata Nexon EV carries over all of the interior upgrades as the standard Nexon. So you have the more contemporary reworked dash and the new textures and materials. The new capacitive panels as well as the new steering wheel with the glow-up Tata logo. Differentiating the EV is the lighter grey and off-white interior colour scheme.
We think this takes the cabin ambience up a notch from the all-black and purple options in the ICE Nexon. This is especially true of the steering wheel and the central soft band with its discreet blue stitching, which now feel very well finished. It's the same with the new central tunnel with the nicely finished electronic parking brake and auto-hold switches.
Also new for the Nexon EV is a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen. This functions in much the same way as the smaller 10.25-inch screen, differentiated by a green theme. This screen comes with all of the smaller screens' useful functions like wireless Android Auto/Apple Carplay, a host of connected tech features and a PM 2.5 air filter. A further, and thoughtful, addition is that of Arcade.ev. This is an apps suite that runs on your phone's Wi-Fi hotspot and will play games, and music apps as well as streaming services directly onto the screen when the car is at a standstill. This should come in handy during those charging sessions on longer trips.
The 10.15-inch instrument cluster has the same screen, but here too you get EV-specific graphics. They have the same viewing modes as well as the handy Google Maps display but here too the execution is better than in the ICE versions. The power dials and range and speed readouts are more easily visible. It's the same with the battery percentage and regen levels, you also get added graphs for energy usage.
The new seats are as comfortable as in the ICE versions but there are some differences in the rear seat. The space itself is very similar to the ICE Nexon but the lighter colour palette makes for a greater perception of space. Leg and headroom will be slightly cramped for taller adults although you have good foot room with the high-placed front seats. That said, with the floor being raised slightly to accommodate the batteries, some thigh support has been sacrificed. The extended squab helps counter this though to an extent.
The extensive features package from the new ICE Nexon has made its way here too. You get full LED lighting, auto-headlamps and wipers, ventilated seats, wireless charging, 9-speaker JBL audio with sound stages and effective 360-degree cameras. With the battery placement, the boot is slightly smaller at 350 litres compared to the 380 litres in the ICE.
There are 6-airbags as standard as well as ESC, TPMS, hill-hold and hill-descent control.
2023 Tata Nexon EV Exteriors
With this update, the Nexon EV takes the clean e-mobility theme further with its styling changes. The blanked-out fascia is very well integrated into the sharp new face. The Nexon EV is easily differentiated from its ICE counterpart by the full-width lighting with its trick animations. A thoughtful touch is that these also show the charge level when the Nexon EV is plugged in. Also different, and pricier feeling, is the grated inserts in the bumper. The blue EV branding has been kept restrained too.
The Nexon EV also gets a new empowered trim that brings with it a very well-done pearlescent white paint. The ground clearance is at 190mm, down from the ICE's 208mm.
2023 Tata Nexon EV price, Verdict
The previous Tata Nexon EV was such a success purely based on the balance it achieved in terms of price, range and features. This new one seems to take things further on all these counts. Yes, it has gotten expensive, but not by much. But you now get notably more range, more refined performance and an impressive improvement in the tech that's onboard and cabin ambience. Another step forward for the Nexon EV then.
Watch our video review of the 2023 Tata Nexon EV below
Images by Neel Paradkar
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