That’s because the 2023 Tata Nexon facelift gets an extensive redesign and a revamped cabin but the engines are the same and so is the platform with its famed global 5-star safety rating. So, what are these updates and do they make a difference to you? We drove the new Nexon facelift in sunny Jaipur to find out.
Watch - Tata Nexon facelift first drive review: Can it set the benchmark higher?
Tata Nexon facelift: Comprehensive new design
The new Nexon has seen extensive changes to its design and features. It’s still based on the X1 platform — the last connection to the famed Indica. It’s only fair then that the Nexon gets to wear the new design theme before all the new Tata models arrive in the future. If you’ve seen the Curvv concept, this will look familiar. The upright stance looks really nice. I like the fact that it does not have an obvious grille, which means Tata is bringing a more centralised design theme to its cars - whether EV or ICE. You will see more familiar styling elements on these cars going forward.
I also like the haunches on the bonnet, they add a nice masculine appeal, plus you get to know where the edges of the car are far better from the driver’s seat. The LED DRLs look very futuristic, and at the same time, they double up as turn indicators. The headlamp unit is a split set-up and is more compact than before.
Updates to the profile are minimal and cleverly done. There’s a new beltline that gives the impression of a longer car, while there are new alloy wheels with aero inserts that seem to be shared from the upcoming Nexon EV facelift. The rear gets a redesign too with the new X-themed LED taillights that are connected by a light bar on the tailgate. There are plenty of angular lines on the new bumper and tailgate, which makes for a busy design overall. It’s still one of the more confusing bits on the Nexon’s exterior. The signature raked windscreen stays the same but the Nexon now gets a longer roof spoiler for better aerodynamics. This also integrates the rear wiper for a clutter-free appearance. Apart from the visual upgrades, the Nexon is offered in new colours including this “Fearless Purple” that’s bound to grab your attention.
Tata Nexon facelift: New interior
If you like the exterior of the Nexon, the interior should impress you even more. It’s seen big changes. Right from the steering wheel to the dashboard, everything feels new and everything feels premium. The steering wheel is now a two-spoke unit. The centre mimics a gaming console design and sports the illuminated Tata logo, which we are told, is a world-first.
The dashboard has been completely redesigned for a cleaner look. You have a three-step unit with black plastics on the top, carbon-fibre finish in the centre and leather inserts at the bottom. This is also finished in purple on the purple exterior shade, which extends to the seats and door pads as well. The plastics are nice and sturdy and the overall design is minimalistic. You also get wireless charging, a leather-wrapped armrest with some storage space but no visible cupholders. The door pockets can hold one-litre bottles and even an umbrella though.
The front seats get improved cushioning for better lumbar and lateral support. The seats also get ventilation and it worked flawlessly to keep us cool in scorching Jaipur. There’s no change in proportions and the Nexon facelift continues to pack decent space inside. The rear seats are comfortable but lack legroom for tall passengers, while the headroom is decent at best.
The rear passengers now get a seatbelt reminder with a three-point seatbelt for the middle occupant. However, they still miss out on a headrest. Depending on the Persona you choose, the Nexon’s feature list skips a few goodies, especially in the Smart variant. The Pure, Creative and Fearless personas are more loaded in this regard.
Tata Nexon facelift: Tech galore
The Nexon’s cabin has not only seen an aesthetic upgrade, but it’s a lot more tech-friendly as well. That comes from two new displays. There are two new 10.25-inch digital screens. One is for the instrument console and the other is for the infotainment unit. We’ve seen this before on the Nexon EV Max Dark Edition but the bezels are slimmer, so it looks a lot more modern. Both of these units come with a new UI. They are far too easy to use. The graphics are great - nice and crisp - and the colours look equally nice. The new digital console will also show the navigation map like on luxury cars and the feature is certainly impressive.
There are fewer buttons in the cabin overall and the HVAC controls have also been replaced with a touch-based panel at the bottom. You get only 2 toggle switches - AC temperature and blower speed. The feature looks and feels premium but we would’ve liked haptic feedback over here like we see on Land Rover and Audi models. This would’ve made it safer to use on the road.
The feature list continues with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a new 360-degree camera and a blind-view monitor that shows up every time you engage either indicator. The Nexon also gets an air purifier, a 9-speaker JBL sound system, height-adjustable passenger seat and voice commands in seven languages. The system can also take voice commands via Alexa.
The Nexon also gets remote engine start/stop and remote AC features for the first time, both of which can be activated using the app to pre-start the SUV or pre-cool the cabin. On the safety front, the Tata Nexon facelift gets six airbags, ESP, ISOFIX child seat anchor mounts, and hill hold function as standard. The SUV retains its five-star safety tag by the Global NCAP but is yet to get a safety rating under India’s very own Bharat NCAP.
Tata Nexon facelift: Promising new automatic
Tata has updated the powertrain on the new Nexon facelift. The new showstopper
is the 1.2-litre turbo petrol with a dual-clutch automatic alongside the tried and tested 1.5-litre diesel engine. The 1.2-litre turbo petrol continues to make 118 bhp and 170 Nm of peak torque and is paired with 4 gearbox options - a 5-speed manual, a 6-speed manual, a 6-speed AMT and the one we were driving - the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The 7-speed DCT with the 1.2 turbo is a nice combination. Most of the power is concentrated in the mid-range and is quite likeable. The engine is responsive and gets the numbers going quickly. If you are looking at highway runs too, this should keep you very happy while making the entire process smooth. Compared to the diesel, the petrol motor is more refined and the NVH levels are way lower. There is turbo lag under 2,000 rpm, which tends to be a bother but the DCT helps mask that effectively. You will still have to work your way around to get the SUV moving. What we would’ve liked is a little more responsiveness at the lower end of the rpm.
The paddle shifters offer more control, especially to combat the turbo lag. The new mono-shifter feels chunky and premium on the DCT version. The steering weighs up nicely and while it may not be as heavy as we’d like at high speeds, the unit is responsive. The new dual-clutch transmission also offers slick shifts and works well for the most part. Body roll is well contained but the shift in weight is immediately apparent around a hard corner. Even then, the Nexon manages to entertain and is an enjoyable experience. You continue to get 3 driving modes - Economy, City and Sport - that tune acceleration accordingly.
Tata Nexon facelift: Diesel supremacy
With the turbo petrol done, It’s now time to move on to the Nexon facelift diesel in this Fiery Red shade. The 1.5-litre diesel engine makes 113 bhp and 260 Nm of peak torque, and we drove the one paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox. All good things on the Nexon and definitely what most users admire if you like a diesel SUV. You also get a 6-speed AMT that brings more convenience. With the diesel engine, it’s a familiar space, there’s a nice power band to play around with. The acceleration in the lower end is amazing and it is quick off the line. If you’ve liked the Nexon diesel, the new one only takes that experience much higher with all the tech on board, complemented by the new design and styling.
The torque-friendly diesel keeps you entertained, especially on open roads. The steering wheel feels a tad heavier at high speeds than the petrol and the clutch is easy to manage in stop-and-go traffic. The diesel engine’s clatter though seeps into the cabin quite easily and Tata could’ve worked on improving the NVH levels here. The Nexon diesel continues to be fuel efficient, something that hasn’t changed.
Tata Nexon facelift: Ride quality?
When it comes to ride quality on the Nexon, Tata has tuned the SUV rather well and it keeps you comfortable on most broken roads and even some nasty potholes. It’s very pliant out on the highway as well as broken patches. The 208 mm ground clearance works wonders to combat challenging terrain and the SUV certainly delivers.
Tata Nexon facelift: What can be better
But not everything remains hunky dory on the Nexon. Quality levels could be better, especially in the cabin. The fit and finesse have seen massive strides but there is scope for improvement in smaller areas like the door grab handles. Certain plastics still feel flimsy, which robs the premium feel the car otherwise has to offer. Our test unit also faced issues with the connecting Android Auto but a hard factory reset resolved the issue. We’re told these concerns will be addressed on the production models.
Tata Nexon facelift: Verdict
Is the new Nexon comprehensively updated enough? The short answer is yes. The design looks fantastic, the interior gets a complete revamp and the changes make it nearly an all-new offering. It now boils down to how much of a price increment will the new Nexon come at. Prices will be announced on September 14. The Nexon’s comprehensive upgrade also comes at a time when the competition has really upped the game.
So Tata had to update its bestseller to keep it formidable against all its rivals. This includes the Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Kia Sonet, Mahindra XUV300, Hyundai Venue and more. The Venue was recently introduced with ADAS, making it the first car in the segment to get the same, which certainly makes things challenging for the Nexon. The Nexon is a massive showcase of improvement in the automaker’s talents and at the right price, this will be another winner, retaining its bestseller tag for more years to come.