It’s inside the confines of the practical cabins where things are particularly interesting. While all three cars are spacious and immensely practical, the way their cabins are designed is vividly different and there are a few hits and misses.
We will start off with the Nexon. Its cabin has a great ambience – the large side windows let in plenty of light, while the dashboard layout appears less generic than others and is matched with some nice looking light grey trim bits. The Tata’s even got a few standout design elements like the BMW-esque free standing touchscreen display and a centre console that extends all the way in between the front seats. All in all, the cabin has a bespoke feel to it, however, it cannot match the others when it comes to ergonomics - the storage space under the front armrest is too narrow and useless for regular size cups and the control stalks behind the wheel are oddly angled, meaning they require full twist of your palm to engage them.
By comparison, the Brezza’s all-black interior feels a little dated and to some, the flat dashboard design may even appear pre-aged. It’s definitely simple but then again all the controls are where you expect them to be and the ergonomics are class leading, too. Sure, the Maruti cannot match the Tata in design but it offers more usable storage options including twin glove-boxes, a useful storage bin in front of the gear lever and two full size cup holders behind it. On the downside, the Brezza is significantly lighter than the other two and it shows in its interior build quality, especially with some of the controls and the door shut. Now let’s move on to the newest car here.
We are happy to report that Ford has revamped the EcoSport’s interior entirely. Gone is the old all-black and high set dash and in its place is a fully new design that is undeniably more upmarket. The less wavy centre console is no longer cluttered with buttons as the EcoSport now uses a honestly brilliant 8-inch touchscreen display for most of the on-board functions (more on that later though). On the whole, the cabin is home to a mix of grey, black and silver materials, some feeling more premium than others. As for the quality and fit and finish, we found the Ford’s switchgear to be more solid than the other two cars, however, some of its plastics aren’t as well finished as expected - the opening for the cubby hole around the steering column and the glove box in our test car were poorly finished. On the whole, the Ford’s plastics appear the best in this company and feel more long lasting.
In terms of all-round visibility, it’s the Brezza that clearly shines through – you sit higher in the cabin affording a better frontal view and a commanding driving position. In comparison, the Nexon is a little difficult to navigate, owing to its thick A and C pillars and the utterly small rear glass which doesn’t help at all while reversing. The car with the least amount of visibility though remains the EcoSport – the high-set dash, thick A-pillars and a small rear glass seriously limit overall visibility. Thankfully, the front seats are now wider and feature softer cushioning. They are, in fact, as snug as the Nexon’s and offer good lateral support – something that cannot be said for the Brezza’s relatively flat seats.
Ford has cleverly scooped out the rear portion of the front seats, liberating more knee room. As a result, you get a better sense of leg room as there’s ample room to move your feet. Similarly, the headroom is plentiful and the softer cushioning is great, too. The rear bench has good amount of contours, but seating three at the rear is still a squeeze. The Nexon’s rear bench, on the other hand, has more contours and feels as though you are sitting in it rather than on it. There’s also slightly more headroom (as you sit lower compared to the other two cars) and more comfortable seating for three occupants although ideally only for short journeys. It may be flat, but the Brezza’s rear seat is wide and comfortable and even post multiple long drives, it remained so. Its biggest plus points here are the generous amount of legroom and good visibility all-round. Time to get back in the front…