Tata Nexon Diesel AMT: Expert Review
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Tata is asking for a heavy premium over the manual for the Nexon diesel AMT. Is the convenience offered worth shelling the extra cash for?
With the growing demand for automatics, Tata equipped the Nexon with an AMT and made it 2018 ready. But, this convenience comes at a steep cost. The AMT variants of the Nexon command a premium of Rs 70,000 over the equivalent manual, and offer no additional features. Should you save the cash and shift manually, or is the convenience worth the asking price?
- Car Tested: Tata Nexon AMT
- Variant: XZA+ with dual-tone roof
- Engine: 1.5-litre diesel
- Price: Rs 10.59 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)
- The Nexon doesn't look like a conventional SUV, but the voluptuous bodywork does give it a good road presence.
- The front is eye-catching, with the big headlamps and integrated LED DRLs merging into the grille.
- The new orange body paint, coupled with the grey roof is the best dual-tone paint scheme on the Nexon.
- From the side, the Nexon’s sloping roofline almost gives it a coupe-like stance.
- The large 215/60, R16 wheels and the black cladding add to the visual toughness.
- The only differentiating factor between the automatic and the manual is the “XZA+” badge on the former’s tailgate.
- The Nexon doesn't look particularly appealing from the rear, thanks to the high ground clearance of 209mm and the exposed exhaust muffler.
- The three-layered dashboard layout looks neat and thanks to the high quality plastic, it feels premium too. Notably, it's better than the competition.
- The 6.5-inch touchscreen isn’t the finest in the segment, with the ones in the Brezza and the EcoSport being a lot better. It come with Android Auto compatibility though, but misses out on Apple CarPlay.
- Changing the drive modes changes the colour of detailing in the screen.
- The 8-speaker Harman sound system continues to be the best in class.
- The big difference here is the AMT gear lever in the centre console with the drive-mode selector placed behind it.
- Space in the cabin remains a strong point for the Nexon with ample shoulder, leg and kneeroom (1385mm, 970mm, 715-905mm respectively) on offer.
- But, while the cabin looks good, it lacks practicality. For instance, the storage spaces are narrow and won’t hold big smartphones.
- The tambour door pocket in the centre console is narrow and deep. Also, it is not lined leaving the items inside prone to damage.
- We also had an issue with honking. There was some problem with the horn pad and it needed a really heavy push to make the horn blare.
- Another issue we noticed was that the rear door-lock hinges had already begun to rust.
- The manual cars we tested just after the launch had had some electrical issues, you can watch them here. This time around though, none of those occurred again.
- Tata’s 1.5-litre diesel engine is quite impressive. The 260Nm of torque, available from as low as 1500rpm, helps it commute effortlessly in the city.
- This is also what makes using the AMT a good experience. Even in a higher gear, say 30kmph in third, the SUV picks up cleanly without having to downshift.
- This means that slower gearshifts, characteristic of AMTs, don't get in your way while accelerating hard and there is no evident lag in power delivery either, with the turbo kicking in close to 1600rpm.
- On the downside, the first gear engages a little roughly. And in bumper-to-bumper traffic, this results in small jerks which can get a little annoying over time.
- Like the manual, you have three drive modes to choose from - City, Sport and Eco. These alter the engine map and the difference between each is quite evident.
- In the Sport mode, the throttle response become more aggressive and the transmision holds revs till a higher rpm.
- This is good fun if you are in the mood, but otherwise makes the ride a little jerky.
- In this mode, the Nexon AMT goes from 0-100kmph in 16.62 seconds, slightly over 3 seconds more than its manual counterpart.
- The 20-80kmph kickdown took 9.96 seconds.
- Also, should you shift to manual, the mode is set to Sport by default. This makes it a little aggressive and not fit for commutes.
- In the City mode, the throttle response is well tuned and the shifts too are smooth.
- Switch to the Eco mode and the throttle response is further dulled down, making it ideal for relaxed driving. It was in this mode that the SUV returned 17.13 kmpl in the city and 23.60kmpl on the highway, which is, on average, 1 kmpl less than the manual.
Ride and Handling
- The Nexon’s ride is like that of a typical SUV - soft with a little side-to-side movement.
- While you won't feel those small potholes or speed breakers in the city, there will be some minor movement in the cabin at slow speeds.
- The SUV does suffer from body roll, but it only becomes bothersome while taking on corners with an enthusiast right foot.
- The suspension does settle quickly after bumps, and this makes the SUV stable on the highways at triple-digit speeds.
- The seats’ cushioning too is soft and this further helps you get comfortable.
- Compared to the Brezza and the EcoSport, the ride quality of the Nexon is the most suited for Indian roads.
- The Nexon AMT is available in the XMA, XZA+ and the Nexon XZA+ with dual-tone roof, with both petrol and diesel engines.
- If you don't have the budget for the XZA+ and still want an automatic, you can now also opt for the lower XMA variant, which costs Rs 8.53 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
- In doing so, you will be missing out on features like projector headlamps, DRLs, roof rails, alloy wheels, automatic climate control,touchscreen infotainment system, four speakers, driver’s seat height adjustment, front armrest and tambour door storage, rear armrest, rear defogger and ISOFIX mounts.
The AMT takes away the hassles of the daily drive well. The only time you would feel a lack of refinement is in stop-and-go traffic. If you are a new driver, or are tired of the everyday traffic in metro cities, only then does the Nexon AMT make sense. But, if the traffic situation is not that bad in your area, it might be wise to save the cash.