Right then, Tata.ev, the passenger electric vehicle business of Tata Motors, is all set to bring a comprehensively updated iteration of the Nexon EV. It’s no surprise that we are driving it just days after having sampled the ICE-powered Nexon facelift. The upgrades are in line with the petrol and diesel iterations but the Nexon EV is slowly inching towards a different identity with notably new styling, an updated cabin and a massive feature upgrade. Can this be the quintessential electric SUV for all your needs? Let’s find out.
2023 Tata Nexon EV facelift: Same-same but different
More bling per electron is the mantra for the new Nexon EV. The new design language is similar to the ICE versions but the electric SUV gets its own unique face. The LED DRLs are now connected by a light bar across the bonnet with a closed-off front. The Tata logo has moved down over the indent. The front styling looks sharp and reminds this writer of the Volvo XC40 Recharge, but I mean that as a complement. There’s a new welcome and goodbye sequence, as well as a charging sequence making the new central LED DRL more functional.
The new face looks more upmarket. The bumper has been redesigned for a simpler appearance and is closed off with air curtains at either corner for better aerodynamics. The profile stays the same sporting new 16-inch alloy wheels with aero inserts. The rear gets new X-themed LED taillights and a longer roof spoiler concealing the wiper. Tata says the changes have helped reduce aero resistance by 13 counts improving the overall range by 2 per cent, the real-world range has gone up by 7 per cent.
The new Nexon EV is less blue on the outside this time but you do get the new “.EV” badge denoting its electric nature, something we’ll be seeing more often on the automaker’s future electrified models.
2023 Tata Nexon EV facelift: Revamped cabin
The cabin has seen massive upgrades over its predecessor with the new clutter-free dashboard. There are fewer buttons overall with the climate control unit now getting a touch-based panel. It looks great but can get distracting when used on the move. The illuminated Tata logo on the new two-spoke steering wheel looks brilliant, and the new air vent design gets a brushed aluminium finish. We see the same finish on the steering controls as well, and that’s nice attention to detail there.
The front seats have better bolstering and are more comfortable. The top-spec Empowered persona gets leatherette upholstery, as against fabric seats on the lower personas. The front seats also come with ventilation, which will now start directly in the highest mode, a change made based on customer feedback.
The Nexon EV’s cabin is done up in an off-white and grey theme, which feels roomier too. The proportions remain the same so there’s no real change in space. The rear seats remain equally comfortable with a central armrest and a cupholder in place. All seats now come with a seatbelt reminder, while the Nexon EV also gets ISOFIX anchorages. Given the battery is placed under the floorboard, you do sit with your legs placed slightly higher, robbing off some under-thigh support.
2023 Tata Nexon EV facelift: Features galore
The new Tata Nexon EV is available in three personas – Creative, Fearless and Empowered – bringing a different feature set for each. Tata says it needed to move away from the standard variant hierarchy and bring more personalised packages for customer needs. Mind you, this still means that the Creative is the least equipped on the feature front, while the Empowered (specific to the EV) packs the most bells and whistles.
Compared to the ICE Nexon, the new Nexon EV gets a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It’s a tad larger than the 10.25-inch infotainment screen seen on the Fearless persona (top-spec on ICE versions) but runs the same hardware, we are told. The new unit looks substantially better than its predecessor. The big screen looks more premium, has a nicer UI, and better graphics. The screen does have latency issues and the response to touch is average at best, which is a bummer because it works great otherwise. The smartphone-friendly layout helps to acquaint you faster with the new unit.
But the party piece is the new Arcade.EV mode. The new feature essentially allows you to download OTT apps and even games on the infotainment system. Apps like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube can be downloaded, allowing you to stream videos on the system. This, of course, requires the car to be stationary and you will have to connect it to a mobile hotspot or internet dongle. Considering the charging times required, this feature will certainly come in handy for many owners and chauffeurs to kill time easily.
The Arcade EV feature is only complemented by an equally potent 9-speaker JBL sound system. It even gets a cinematic mode, which turns the cabin into a mini theatre and we aren’t complaining. You can’t use the Arcade EV mode once the car starts moving but there is a lag in response time, which means the video is still running for a few seconds while the vehicle is in motion. I do think of this as a safety hazard. In fact, the video playback feature should immediately stop once the electronic parking brake is disengaged, which I hope Tata considers with the next OTA update.
The new Nexon EV also gets a 10.25-inch digital console on the Fearless and Empowered persona, while a simpler digital display features on the Creative persona. The latter also makes do with the older 7-inch infotainment screen that runs a new UI. The Empowered persona further adds the 360-degree camera, and the camera quality is fantastic giving you a good look at the surroundings. The 2D and 3D views will be a boon in tight parking situations. You also get wireless charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that works well. The navigation can now be displayed on the digital console, similar to premium cars, and you also have the option to go full-screen, which certainly looks cool and distraction-free.
Other upgrades include an air purifier, an SOS button on the headliner, a 9-speaker JBL sound system, C-type USB charging for rear passengers, a cooled glovebox, and a voice command feature compatible with Tata’s own UI, Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. The wireless charger replaces cupholders on the centre console, so there’s no space to hold your drink anymore.
The boot capacity remains the same at 350 litres with a spare tyre, puncture repair kit and a portable charger in place. While the feature list is extensive, Tata needs to improve on the overall fit and finish with panel gaps and inconsistent quality evident in several areas.
2023 Tata Nexon EV facelift: Performance
The new Tata Nexon EV gets the updated Gen2 motor that’s 20 kg lighter and is packaged smaller too. Tata says the new motor is now capable of running up to 16,000 rpm from 12,000 rpm earlier, with upgrades made to the liquid cooling system for the motor and battery. The BMS algorithms have also been revised for better load management. We are driving the Long Range version which makes 143 bhp, while the Medium Range version that makes 127 bhp. While power has marginally increased, continuous torque has gone down over the predecessor at 215 Nm. However, there’s a notable improvement in power delivery.
The new Nexon EV is quicker off the line and feels more powerful. Tata says it has expanded power delivery by 750 rpm and that shows. With the old Nexon, there was a jerkiness in the way power was delivered. This is a far smoother and more refined experience. The torque curve is more linear this time. Speeds climb up to triple-digits with ease and you will hit 120 kmph in no time. 0-100 kmph comes up in 8.9 seconds on the long-range version, same as the last but it feels more confident this time. The top speed has also gone up from 120 kmph to 150 kmph, and the Nexon EV feels reasonably eager to get there.
The electric SUV continues to be a decent handler. Tight corners are easy to manage with minimal body roll and the low centre of gravity gets full credit for the same. The electric steering is easy to operate at low speeds but lacks the heft we would’ve liked as the speeds climb. Braking is equally strong, albeit a bit spongy at times. There’s a bit of resistance between the brakes and regen under hard braking. The electric offering now comes with the panic brake alert feature, which is a segment-first.
2023 Tata Nexon EV facelift: Range
The new Nexon EV comes with two major variants – Long Range and Medium Range. This is essentially what the Max and Prime used to be earlier. The Long Range version returns 465 km on a single charge with the same 40.5 kWh battery. The Medium Range version returns 325 km on a single charge with the 30 kWh battery. That’s an improvement of 12 km and 13 km respectively. That may not seem a lot but Tata says the overall improvements help in achieving a higher real-world range. For better regeneration, Tata is also offering four levels of regen and the paddle shifters serve purpose for the same. Level 1 is on the left side, go plus on the right side and you have Level 3.
You also get three driving modes – Economy, City and Sport. Economy mode offers the dullest acceleration, City is the perfect balance between range and acceleration, and the Sport mode gives you fantastic acceleration but at the cost of range. Between the City and Eco mode, there’s a difference of about 15 km in terms of depletion, and between the City and Sport mode, there’s a depletion of 10 km. While the City mode is where you’ll spend most of your time, if you want to have some fun, the Sport gets some good points.
We started the drive with 99 per cent of charge and 355 km of range. We consumed about 50 per cent by the end of the day and had about 157 km of range left. This was a good mix of city roads, rural stretches, highways and even the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. However, a more comprehensive range test is in order.
Both the Long Range and Medium Range versions are now compatible with a 7.2 kW AC fast charger. While it is standard on the Long Range, the Medium Range gets it as an option and is otherwise available with the 3.3 kW AC charger. It takes about six hours to charge the Nexon LR with the 7.2 kW unit, and about 4.3 hours for the MR version. The times extend further to 15 hours and 10.5 hours respectively when using standard a 15-amp home charger. The Nexon EV will take just 56 minutes to fully charge using a 50 kW DC fast charger.
2023 Tata Nexon EV facelift: V2L and V2V
The new Tata Nexon EV also gets a segment-first Vehicle to Load and Vehicle to Vehicle charging functions. The V2L feature will let you power larger devices or even a small room. Whereas the Vehicle to Vehicle allows you to charge another EV with bi-directional capability, handy when another vehicle runs out of charge. Both these features are available on electric vehicles priced over ₹30 lakh like the BYD Atto 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, which gives the Nexon EV an advantage. On the safety front, the SUV comes with six airbags as standard, hill descent and ascent control, auto vehicle hold, TPMS, and more.
2023 Tata Nexon EV facelift: Verdict
So is the Nexon EV all the electric SUV you’ll need? It comes quite close. It looks and feels modern. There’s a healthy dose of tech updates that truly stand out as well. But then consistency and quality are two things that need to be worked upon. The tech, while it looks great, doesn’t work as flawlessly, and the quality in terms of fit and finesse could certainly be better. So while the Nexon EV is miles ahead of its predecessor, it’s due for improvements that can make it the great package it was always meant to be.
Pricing will also be crucial to the new Nexon EV’s success. With over half a lakh units already sold, the updated version should attract even more customers, should Tata continue to keep prices competitive. Moreover, a more unified assembly line now translates to shorter waiting times. The sub- ₹20 lakh electric SUV segment is finally seeing some action. With a host of new launches planned, competition will be coming for the Nexon EV’s dominant share. The Nexon EV facelift arrives at the right time. These updates will not only extend the electric SUV’s life in the market but also its lead in the segment and that should keep it ahead of the curve.
First Published Date: 12 Sep 2023, 16:00 PM IST