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The Nexon.EV has received a host of upgrades to enhance its appeal. We got to spend a few hours behind the wheel of this electric vehicle (EV) on the streets of Pune

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Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

The Tata Nexon.EV has been a popular EV in the compact SUV segment. For 2023, Tata Motors have made some styling improvements, improved the motor, and decked the car with a lot of new features. So, this is not just a minor update but a big step over the previous generation model.

Starting off with the facelift design, Tata have surely done a great job. From the side profile, the car has the same silhouette but it now gets sleek LED lighting: at the front, an LED light strip runs across the bumper, connecting the DRL, and the rear also gets triangular units with a strip running through. This, along with a re-designed bumper with aero inserts and a slightly re-designed grille, differentiates the EV from the internal combustion engine (ICE) model. Apart from these, the 16-inch alloy wheels remain the same as the ones we see on the updated ICE model. When you start up the car, the LED welcome you with a start-up sequence and, overall, the car now looks pretty futuristic and does get a lot of heads turning in the city.

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Tata Motors call the new motor the “Gen 2 motor” which has a smaller packaging and is said to be around 20 kilograms lighter than before. It is now capable of spinning up to 16,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). There are two variants, Long Range (LR) and Medium Range (MR), which deliver approximately 465 kilometres and 325 km of range respectively (range as per ARAI). The LR variant makes use of a 40.5-kWh battery pack while the MR makes use of a 30-kWh battery pack. The top-spec LR variant that we have for this review has a claimed 0-100 sprint time of 8.9 seconds and can attain a top speed of 150 km/h. This variant is said to put out 144.6 hp and 215 Nm of peak torque.

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As I began to drive the car, I did appreciate the calibration of how power is delivered. The car feels extremely smooth and the steering is really light, which makes it effortless to get past traffic in the city. The three drive modes can be quickly switched by turning the knob selector and each mode really comes into use with constant change in driving conditions. In stop-and-go traffic, I switched to Eco mode and it was smooth sailing until I got past the congestion and quickly switched to City mode where it is easier to make overtakes and zip away. City mode is more than ample for daily driving and, ideally, a driver should be able to get through three days of daily commuting before charging up the car. This is considering an average individual would be doing approximately 35 to 40 km per day. Another thing that made the drive experience engaging was the addition of paddle-shifters that can be used to toggle through the four levels of regen. The regenerative braking works really well in the city to enhance range and, in the highest mode, reduce the need for a driver to keep getting on the brake pedal. Compared to the previous model, the regeneration is said to have increased by 10 to 15 per cent.

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The suspension set-up is on the slightly stiffer side, so driving quickly through bad sections of the road is not a very pleasant experience; you do feel the thuds. However, the car does get into its element over smooth roads and also corners really well. The brakes have a good bite and get the car to stop in a precise manner.

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On the interior front, the new seats are very comfortable; the rear seats are fine for shorter individuals but taller passengers will feel a little cramped. The main upgrade comes in the form of a new 12.3-inch screen in the centre which is larger than the ICE model’s and this is mated to the 10.25-inch dashboard. Just like the updated ICE model, this also gets a new steering wheel with the illuminated Tata logo at its centre. Under the central screen are capacitive touch buttons for all the different controls which work pretty well. To make things easier while on the go, the a-c controls are still switches which will eliminate distracting the driver. The centre console has a lot of new functions and Tata seem to have thought of adding every tech feature to enhance the appeal of this EV.

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What I really appreciated at first was the 360-degree camera that can be toggled through the centre screen. As an indicator is turned on, the screen will display the blind spot on the side of the car to preclude collisions. Then we have the new JBL sound system that has good quality and also can be customized personally or with pre-set modes in a lot of ways through the centre screen. Finally, one of the main updates is what Tata call Arcade.EV. This will allow a user to connect to their favourite streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, Disney Hotstar, Amazon Prime, etc. Apart from this, even a couple of games can be downloaded. The idea is to keep the driver entertained while they wait for their car to get charged up. While some fellow journalists did have glitches with the centre screen, the unit in my car was working seamlessly. It is worth noting that the touch sensitivity is good and there is no lag while scrolling through menus. To reduce range anxiety, the car now supports Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) charging, so another Nexon.EV or an EV that is compatible can be charged up using the car itself.

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In conclusion, Tata have done a really good job with the new Nexon.EV and I was quite impressed after my time spent with the car. It proves to be a great car to drive around the city and, with all these added tech features, it is sure to appeal to many more customers. We will soon test the car in a more detailed road test where we can experience its performance on the highway, zip through some twisties, properly test the charging times, and also give you a more comprehensive review of the slew of features that it now offers.

 

About the author: Azaman Chothia

 

 

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