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Ford EcoSport vs Tata Nexon vs Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza


If you are in the market for a compact SUV that’s practical, efficient and good to look at, chances are you are on the same page as nearly every new family car buyer in your neighbourhood. That’s precisely how well the reign of crossovers has exploded in recent times. So what do you buy? Tough question. 

We have assembled the two most obvious choices and a newcomer here, as we look for a definitive answer. 

When we talk compact SUVs, there are two inevitable anchor points. The first is the absolute segment originator, the Ford EcoSport and the other is Maruti Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza which, as we know, is the unshakable segment leader. As it remains to be seen, this two-way test makes for a solid battle in a hot segment, however, there’s one more noteworthy candidate for this mega shootout – Tata’s first ever compact SUV, the Nexon. Here’s how they stack up against each other.

Contrasting Looks

Midlife facelifts can be either negligible or significant and it’s fair to say that the updates seen on the new Ford EcoSport belong to the latter kind. Thanks to the heavily updated front-end (with cues borrowed from Ford’s global line of SUVs), the EcoSport appears a lot more flamboyant than before. It no longer gets a twin grille setup. Instead, there’s a large trapezoidal grille with the Blue Oval logo. The redesigned headlights also add to the aggressive stance. Sadly, the only other visible change comes in the form of new 17-inch wheels as the rear end remains untouched. Make of it what you will, but the new EcoSport certainly does not lack road presence. 

Speaking of road presence, we were surprised by the amount of heads we turned while driving the Nexon. With its concept car like stance and quirky details (read: flared wheel arches, grey coloured roof, chunky tyres and ceramic white trim pieces), the Nexon genuinely stands out from the crowd and demands attention. Next to it, the slab-sided Vitara Brezza appears modest and rather simple. Although it’s well-proportioned and looks quite rugged, there isn’t any wow factor to its appearance save for the square wheel arches and the sticker job.

Practical Insides

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… 

Infotainment Displays

The Maruti’s infotainment system, like the entire cabin, may seem basic but it’s got a crisp display and it does what it needs to do. The Bluetooth connectivity works well and the rear-view camera is bright and clear, too.

While the display inside the Nexon looks nice and modern, the system could use better computing power as it lags quite a bit and is nowhere as smooth as the competition. That being said, the 8-speaker system delivers exceptional audio quality.

It’s the new EcoSport’s 8-inch display that sets a new benchmark when it comes to functionality and fluidity. It’s extremely easy to browse through the menus and the overall user interface is as crisp as it can get in this segment of cars. Ford has really upped the game when it comes to features – noteworthy inclusions here (given the price) are 6 airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, leather seats and puddle lamps among others. In comparison, both the Nexon and the Brezza come with two airbags as standard. Oddly enough, the Nexon misses out on rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps and cruise control – features that are standard in this class of cars.

Road Warriors

All three cars here are front-wheel drive and are powered by turbocharged diesel engines though each has its own way of making and putting down that power. Around town there is a sizable amount of difference between them when it comes to power delivery and ease of driving. The Nexon’s 1.5-litre 108bhp/260Nm motor delivers torque in a linear way with just a hint of turbo lag below 1,600rpm. This wide torque band gives it more linear acceleration as compared to the Vitara Brezza’s 1.3-litre motor which responds keenly to throttle inputs, especially on boost. However, the latter takes its own sweet time to build up all that torque, with a lot of turbo lag under 1,800rpm. Post 2,000rpm, the Brezza simply comes alive and pulls even harder than the other two cars. 

The EcoSport's 98bhp/205Nm 1.5-litre diesel motor remains unchanged, however, we found the 2017 model to be marginally zippier and smoother than the pre-facelift car. Nonetheless, this engine feels the smoothest in this company, especially on the move. The Nexon comes in close second while the Brezza’s engine begins to show its age when we speak refinement - it sounds strained and rough at the top end.

The EcoSport is arguably the most relaxing car for tackling urban duties, thanks to its light steering, minimal turbo lag (in this test) and a strong tug past 2,000rpm for making those quick overtakes. The Brezza, meanwhile, is a handful in traffic because of its unresponsive bottom-end and a strong spike in power delivery on boost. In terms of flat-out acceleration, all three cars are really close. Despite being the heaviest, the Nexon ended up being the most effortless in our acceleration and roll-on tests. Its 0-100kmph sprint time of 12.73 seconds is better than the Brezza but a tad slower than the EcoSport, however, its in-gear acceleration is where the Tata really impresses. It does 20-80kmph in third in just 9.89 seconds and takes 12.02 seconds to accelerate from 40-100kmph in fourth. The other two cars are nearly three and four seconds slower respectively. The Brezza’s prominent turbo lag means you are likely to work the gearbox more although that’s not a bad thing at all since the 5-speed unit is a joy to use and the clutch is adequately light as well. In comparison, the Nexon’s 6-speed gearbox isn’t as slick and slurs between gears. Lastly, the EcoSport’s shift action is similar to the Nexon, however, its clutch pedal is too springy for our liking. 

Over windy sections, it’s the Brezza that feels the most car-like to drive and is therefore legitimately enjoyable to drive. Being the lightest and featuring the stiffest chassis here, the Maruti doesn’t mind being pushed hard at all and rewards the driver with good body control and sharp turn-ins. The EcoSport is also fairly enjoyable around the corners, with a communicative steering and good front-end grip. That said, its tall proportions and weight means it rolls a bit more than the Maruti. As you may have figured at this point, the Nexon is the least enjoyable when driven hard – the steering feels vague and there’s loads of body roll as the car struggles to make quick direction changes. 

Riding High

The Vitara Brezza had us smiling behind the wheel every time we hit the twisty bits, however, it came in distinct last as we turned to ride quality. The bump absorption is the least impressive here and at low speeds, the car is nowhere as composed as the Nexon or even the EcoSport that rides on low profile rubber. Over repetitive small undulations, the Brezza feels brittle and picks up more of the sharp bumps compared to the others. Things improve as you hit the highway, with a flatter ride and less body movements but overall, the Brezza certainly doesn’t offer the most comfortable ride here. 

The EcoSport, on the other hand, glides smoother around town and at higher speeds. It does a good job of ironing out small bumps with just a hint of firmness. It’s at high speeds though where the EcoSport feels the best – it’s rock solid and over large undulations, offers a great sense of composure by settling down much faster than the other two cars. As for the Nexon it just about beats the EcoSport when it comes to overall ride, but around town its undeniably better – borderline plush and more absorbent than the EcoSport with a nice, soft edge over rough surfaces.  

Fuel Efficiency

It’s hardly a surprise that the lightest car here turned out to be most fuel efficient albeit by a small margin. The Brezza, in fact, returned an impressive 14.1kmpl in the city and 19.1kmpl on the highway. Predictably, the heavier and more powerful Nexon and the EcoSport couldn’t match that. Not too far behind, the Tata delivered 13.9 and 18.7kmpl whereas the Ford managed 13.8 and 18.8kmpl respectively. 



Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza

Final score: 381/600

Price: Rs 11.62 lakhs, On-road Mumbai

Our previous comparison test between the Vitara Brezza and the Nexon turned out to be a close tussle, but that’s not the case here. The Maruti is unquestionably the most enjoyable to drive and if you are a keen driver, it probably should be your pick. It’s more engaging and inclined towards a spirited drive compared to the others. Unfortunately, the compact SUV segment isn’t just about driving involvement and the Brezza lags behind its rivals in some key areas. Though punchy and willing to deliver, it’s engine is quite old and is starting to feel its age – it’s the noisiest of this bunch and suffers from noticeable turbo lag. Also, it’s stiff low speed ride and high price are two major areas of concern that will deviate a lot of potential buyers. 


Tata Nexon 

Final score: 383/600

Price: Rs 11.12 lakhs, On-road Mumbai

The Nexon, on the other hand, is a better all-rounder, featuring much nicer interiors, more supportive seating and a surprisingly responsive and refined diesel motor. Despite its flaws, it managed to edge ahead in this test thanks to its plush rear seat and a ride that is by far the best in this segment. That said, it isn’t perfect as it misses out on a lot of common features (including automatic headlamps, wipers and cruise control) but where it fails to impress is in terms of handling and more importantly, quality control – our test car, a 4,000km run example, suffered from a few electrical snags including non-functioning wipers and rear lights.   



Ford EcoSport

Final score: 388/600

Price: Rs 12.57 lakhs, On-road Mumbai

As concluded in our first drive report, the new EcoSport has made a mighty impressive comeback. Sure, it’s not the most spacious car here (especially for five occupants) and its low speed ride could be more absorbent but there is no denying the fact that Ford has improved the EcoSport on several counts. With its refined and potent powertrain, comfortable seating, a thoroughly modern infotainment system and segment first features, the EcoSport has emerged as the new most accomplished compact SUV money can buy. 


Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi 

Click here to read our road test of the Tata Nexon 

Click here to read our first drive review of the Ford EcoSport



CAR NAME Tata Nexon Maruti Vitara Brezza Ford EcoSport
Variant ZX+ ZDi Plus Titanium+
Fuel Diesel Diesel Diesel
Installation Front, transverse Front, transverse Front, transverse
Displacement 4 cyls, 1497cc 4 cyls, 1248cc 4 cyls, 1498cc
Bore/stroke 76/82.5mm 69.6/82mm 73.5/88.3mm
Valve gear 4 valves per cyl 4 valves per cyl 2 valves per cyl
Power 108bhp at 3750rpm 89bhp at 4000rpm 99bhp at 3750rpm
Torque 260Nm at 1500rpm 200Nm at 1750rpm 205Nm at 1750rpm
Power to weight 83.07bhp per tonne 74.47bhp per tonne 75.74bhp per tonne
Torque to weight 200Nm per tonne 167.36Nm per tonne 154.91Nm per tonne
Gearbox 6-speed manual 5-speed manual 5-speed manual
Kerb weight 1300kg 1195kg 1300kg
Tyres 215/60 R16 215/60 R16 205/60 R17
Spare Full-size Full-size Full-size
Type Rack and pinion Rack and pinion Rack and pinion
Type of assist Electric Electric Electric
Turning circle 10.5m 10.4m 10.6m
Front Discs Discs Discs
Rear Drums Drums Drums
Anti-lock Yes Yes Yes

Test Data

CAR NAME Tata Nexon Maruti Vitara Brezza Ford EcoSport
Variant XZ+ ZDi+ Titanium+
0-20kph 1.06s 1.02s 1.04s
0-40kph 3.08s 2.72s 2.66s
0-60kph 5.34s 4.97s 5.01s
0-80kph 8.62s 8.46s 8.12s
0-100kph 12.73s 12.78s 12.50s
0-120kph 17.86s 19.14s 19.01s
20-80kph in 3rd gear 9.89s 12.87s 12.70s
40-100kph in 4th gear 12.03s 15.98s 15.09s
80-0kph 25.41m 24.04m 25.52m
City 13.9kpl 14.1kpl 13.8kpl
Highway 18.7kpl 19.1kpl 18.8kpl
Tank size 44 litres 48 litres 52 litres
Range 614km 680km 720km
Legroom(Max/min) 820/630mm 790/560mm 850/620mm
Headroom(Max/min) 980mm 1000mm 980mm
Shoulder room 1310mm 1390mm 1400mm
Backrest height 590mm 560mm 590mm
Legroom(Max/min) 910/720mm 900/660mm 870/630mm
Ideal legroom 730mm 700mm 710mm
Headroom 920mm 970mm 950mm
Shoulder room 1380mm 1340mm 1310mm
Seat base length 490mm 470mm 490mm
Backrest height 610mm 560mm 570mm
Boot 368litres 328itres 420litres
Length/width/height 710/940/550mm 700/1020/480mm 700/1000/600mm
Loading lip height 680mm





Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
New Delhi₹ 8.75 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 9.2 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 9.43 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 9.57 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 8.81 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 9.42 Lakhs onwards
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