Tata Nexon EV Max road review: New wine in old bottle with pricier tag
What is the one thing that keeps you from buying an electric vehicle? Price? Ok, and the second? Range? If these two concerns have cast aspersions on your ambitions of buying, owning and driving an EV for long, Tata Motors claims they have the right balance in the form of the newly-launched Nexon EV Max which while essentially being a Nexon EV in terms of its looks, offers a significantly higher range per charge and quicker charging options as well.
The Nexon EV has been a rousing success story in the Indian electric mobility space and has single-handedly introduced the technology to many families across the country. Tata Motors sold around 9,000 units of Nexon EV and Tigor EV in the last quarter and a majority of these were the former. High ground clearance, decent looks and a relatively modern cabin have helped the cause of the electric SUV. But many feel that the lack of options in the Indian EV space is also one major reason for Nexon EV stepping out and hitting big. And with a real-world range of around 200 kms, it is a city cruiser rather than a highway trooper.
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In glides then, silently, its more capable twin - the Nexon EV Max, an electric car that seeks to build on the strengths of the Nexon EV while keeping a keen eye out on key factors such as range and performance. There are also some cabin updates from within and despite a noticeably higher price, the Max is looking to cater to a more evolved EV buyer.
Tata Nexon EV Max - Variants
The Nexon EV Max has been made available in two variants - XZ+ and XZ+ Lux. The range and charging options on both these variants are identical but some of the cabin features between the two vary with the XZ+ Lux being the better equipped of the two.
Tata Nexon EV Max - Exterior
The Nexon EV Max hardly has any exterior design changes that would set it apart from Nexon EV. In fact, and surprisingly, it does not even get a ‘Max’ badge at the rear. Look closer though and the design of the alloys have been updated just a bit and there is a new colour option available, but that's about it.
Nexon EV Max continues to sit on 16-inch alloy wheels, gets DRLs on the front and ‘EV’ badges on the grille, side and on the rear trunk. The EV Max does stand out though in its latest shade which Tata Motors refers to as Intensi-teal. The shade of blue is matched by a roof in Daytona Grey for a visual appearance that's more catchy than the Blue-White combination on the Nexon EV.
Tata Nexon EV Max - Cabin
Step inside and while it isn't instantly evident that this here is a higher-priced Nexon EV, the changes nonetheless are quite welcoming. The layout of the dashboard, the steering wheel design, the infotainment and driver display screens are identical to the lower-range model but the jeweled control knob on the central console to select the drive modes lends the car a premium touch.
Also new is an air purification system, an electric sunroof, wireless phone charging section and ventilated front seats. These practical additions are more than likely to elevate the experience of long journeys in an EV that claims to indeed be catering to highway-run requirements.
As for space, the Nexon EV Max is same as the Nexon EV in terms of dimensions and therefore, there is no change in the levels of comfort here. The back seats are fairly comfortable with generous under-thigh support and decent amount of leg room, knee room and head room. Even the light shade of upholstery colours continue to amply help the pleasing feels of being inside this car.
But all of these are fine till you realize the asking price for the Nexon EV Max. In just comparative terms, the cabin of the model still has a lot of room for improvement and the generous use of hard plastics is a let down. In parts where a piano black finish treatment has been used - on the center console for instance, dust and fingerprints clamour to take the premium feel away. In a nutshell, while feature additions are indeed good, the Nexon EV Max ought to have upgraded the quality of materials to bring it closer to the likes of MG ZS EV and Hyundai Kona.
Tata Nexon EV Max - Drive Performance
The Nexon EV Max may not be as plush as the ZS EV from MG from within but it is looking at taking the fight to its rivals in terms of range and drive performance. And on both these key parameters is where the bulk of the focus has been at.
At the very core of this EV is a 40.5 kWh li-ion battery pack with IP67 rating. It is significantly bigger than the 30.2 kWh on its younger twin and therefore, more capable of lasting the distance. But despite its larger capacity, the bigger battery has not warranted any space-related change. Tata engineers reveal that changes made to the floor bed allowed for the bigger battery to be assimilated without any compromise in cabin space or boot space which remains at 350 litres.
And while space remains the same, there is a big bump up in performance credentials with 143 Ps and 250 Nm of torque on offer. These aren't just idle numbers but the real-world difference in drive dynamics is very, very evident.
The Nexon EV Max may come to life silently - as is with all EVs - but there is a healthy dose of power at the slightest of throttle input. The multi-drive modes are a great addition and the vehicle sets ‘City’ as the default mode each time. In this mode, the EV seeks to balance a capable drive with one that also prioritizes range. Want more fun though and the 'Sport' mode puts all of the EV at your beck and call. The ‘Eco’ mode is obviously the most sedate of the three but even in this, the Nexon EV Max was quite capable of completing tight overtaking moves without batting an eyelid.
Another impressive addition is the multi-mode regenerative braking which while not new to EVs, is perfectly tuned to ensure that the car has enough slowing power on its own without overwhelming the person behind the wheels. Easy to control using buttons on the central console, the regenerative braking can be set to Level 3 for maximum intensity but even at this level, the Nexon EV Max was quite easy to handle. On congested roads, the minimal braking input required from the driver means the twin advantage of less fatigue for him or her, and more energy being sent back to charge the battery.
As for the most important component of range, we received our test unit with 100 per cent charge and the range figure it showed was at 320 kms. Through the next few hours, we drove the EV for around 150 kms and also kept it still for around half hour - with AC turned on - for shoot-related work. As such, when we handed the car back, it showed 55% battery still left and could go another 120 kms. This clearly signals that the real-world range of Nexon EV Max, while still being dependent on a variety of factors such as terrain, driving pattern, weather, AC intensity etc - would be above 300 kms and significantly higher than what is offered by Nexon EV.
Tata Nexon EV Max - Price
The Tata Nexon EV Max has been officially launched in the Indian car market and has a starting price tag of ₹17.74 lakh (ex showroom) for the XZ+ with the 3.3 kWh charging option. Using the EV will have to be on overnight charge to return to near full battery capacity. The XZ+ variant with 7.2 kWh AC fast charger is priced at ₹18.24 lakh (ex showroom). The fast charger can power the vehicle to full battery in around seven hours and comes at ₹50,000 extra over the cost of the two Nexon EV Max variants.
|Nexon EV Max Trims||Charger option||Ex-Showroom prices in INR|
AC Fast Charger
|XZ+ Lux||3.3 kWh||18,74,000|
|XZ+ Lux||7.2 kW|
AC Fast Charger
Tata Nexon EV Max - Verdict
Think of the Nexon EV Max as a medicine, a medicine to calm anxious range-related nerves. You may not need to drive one till you actually need to drive one. Clearly aimed at those with longer daily commutes and those wanting to have an EV that can do highway duties often, the Nexon EV Max is surely a major step up over Nexon EV in terms of range and drive dynamics.
- High per-charge range
- Improved performance credentials
- Updated feature list
- No design change vis-a-vis Nexon EV
- Costly, even as a long-range Nexon
But it is also quite pricey with a premium of around ₹2.5 lakh to ₹3 lakh vis-a-vis comparable Nexon EV variants. There is no design change on the outside which is a let down because a premium EV needs to surely look more premium as well. Chances are that the Nexon EV will continue to rule Indian roads with the EV Max catering to a very small group of very mature buyers who don't mind spending big bucks to get a better range that is comparable with some even more expensive options like the ZS EV and Kona.