Cabin design nowadays usually mirrors the theme for its exteriors. However, before we dig into the finer details, let us look at some of the facts. Both the cars are the top-of-the-line models. They both get a touchscreen infotainment system, climate control with rear vents, button start, two 12V sockets, split folding rear seats, dual front airbags, cooled glove box, pockets on all of the doors and cup holders, both in the front and rear.
Let us begin with the Dzire. Step in and you are greeted by a space filled with beige and black. Adding to this mix are faux wood inserts in the dashboard, steering wheel and door cards. It feels airy and light thanks to the colours.
Slip into the driver’s seat and everything falls quite easy at hand - a fact that is enhanced by the slight driver oriented nature of the centre console. The design is stacked but simple, and with minimal clutter. It is not eye catching, but there is a visible purpose to everything. The front seats are comfortable and actually offer decent under-thigh support while the view through the windshield is really good. Quality is consistent but not great and lots of the buttons and stalks are common across the Maruti budget range.
With a new platform, Maruti has been able to liberate more space at the rear both in the cabin as well as in the boot. Two can sit comfortably in the rear while three is a squeeze, thanks to the presence of the floor-mounted vents. The roofline is low and the door line is high, giving you the impression that you are actually sitting low in the cabin. This also reduces the under thigh support but it ensures that you have sufficient headroom.
The Tata Nexon’s cabin is a grey and black affair with subtle dabs of chrome all around. Where the Dzire feels airy and traditional, the Nexon’s hints at a sportier appeal. The entire setup in front of the driver looks very familiar as it makes use of the same steering and instrument cluster as the Tiago and Tigor.
The piece de resistance here, of course, is the floating display for the infotainment system as well as the centre console with a Land Rover style sliding door. Visually, these elements lend a premium feel to the car but when you look further, the centre console is too deep and narrow while the Harman infotainment system has slower response times as compared to the one found in the Dzire.
The Nexon is the same length as the Dzire, but it is wider and higher with the additional space being very visible in terms of shoulder room and legroom. It is billed as a five seater, but like the Dzire, the rear AC vents will not make things very comfortable for the middle occupant. The driving experience in the Nexon is pretty good, but the side view gets blocked out due to the thick A-pillars and C-pillars and this is quite annoying in our heavy and unruly urban traffic.
The Dzire has a bigger boot at 378-litres as compared to the Nexon’s 350-litre one but thanks to large wheel arches jutting into the boot space, you realistically have lesser space to use in the former. The Nexon’s got a higher loading lip, but you can pack more stuff in, thanks to the higher roofline.
The Nexon’s approach to interior design is a fresh take on things and visually, it trumps the Dzire. But, the Dzire build quality is much better. This has allowed it to gain just a marginal lead in this round.