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    2022 Tata Nexon EV Max XZ Plus Lux First Drive Review

    Authors Image

    Desirazu Venkat

    27,945 Views
    Tata Nexon EV Max Right Front Three Quarter

    Why I would buy it?

    • Faster charging
    • Improved feature list
    • Improved range

    Why I would avoid it?

    • Scattered charging infrastructure
    • Only two airbags even on the top-spec variant
    • Lux variant is on the pricier side

    Summary

    The Tata Nexon EV as a product changed the game when it arrived two years ago. It opened the door of EVs for the masses and the proof is in the pudding with Tata selling over 20,000 of them in just 24 months.

    Dashboard

    The Nexon EV Max’s arrival is a strategy similar to what EV makers around the world implement by offering the same car with multiple range and performance options expanding the appeal of the vehicle. In terms of design and layout, there are no major changes but you get an upgraded feature list, better performance and a bigger range as compared to the standard Nexon EV. This entire extra is priced at just Rs 1.8 lakh (at the time of writing this story) over the standard car, which in this part of the market is an acceptable premium for the “Maxed out” experience.

    Grille

    Where a car like the Nexon EV Max still struggles is with the range anxiety and that’s a shortfall caused by infrastructure rather than its capability. We would recommend it if you have regular access to charging infrastructure, your daily commutes are around 150km or if it’s a secondary vehicle in your garage.

    Engine and Performance

    Engine Shot

    The Max in Nexon EV Max has come courtesy of a bigger battery pack which now stands at 40.5kWh as compared to 30.2kWh of the standard Nexon EV. This has given it a theoretical range of 437km as compared to the 312km of the standard car. Power and torque figures have also been bumped up from 127bhp/245Nm to 141bhp/250Nm.

    Right Side View

    Off the bat, the Nexon EV Max feels more powerful and faster in its response times despite the Max being 100kgs heavier than the standard car. In our tests, it did the 0-100kmph sprint in 8.29 seconds as compared to 9.19 seconds of the standard car indicating a boost in performance. This number indicates that despite the additional weight, the Nexon EV has lost none of its addictive performance that we liked so much in the standard car.

    Center Console/Centre Console Storage

    A new addition to this version of the Nexon EV is four-stage regenerative braking. At Level 0, there is no regen and you are driving the car like a regular two-pedal vehicle alternating between the throttle and the brake. At Level 1 the intervention is minimal and is useful at city expressway speeds while at Level 4, the regen feels almost intrusive and strongly slows down the car while recharging the battery. As a safety feature, at the highest level of regen, the brakes lights are activated so that the car behind you is not caught by surprise.

    Center Console/Centre Console Storage

    We had the car for just a few hours and found it addictive to use and can only imagine that the owners would turn it into a game to see how much charge they can put back in the batteries while driving every day. Tata has elevated the driving experience by adding two more modes for the Nexon EV Max. In Eco mode, the throttle response is the dullest and is useful to crawl in bumper-to-bumper traffic while the sport mode unlocks the full potential of the powertrain and gives you maximum punch for highway driving conditions.

    Instrument Cluster

    As we mentioned at the start, Tata claims a theoretical range of 437km and a real-world figure of 330km which is significantly higher than the standard car, something we think is quite possible. We will of course give you the real-world range once we can put the Nexon EV Max through CarWale’s real-world EV range test.

    Ride and Handling

    Right Front Three Quarter

    When we drove the standard Nexon EV, we felt that the ride quality was on the firmer side due to the extra weight as well as the 16-inch wheels. It didn’t affect the drive experience but was evident in the way the car took stuff in its path. With this car, Tata seems to have worked on improving that aspect and there’s a greater degree of pliancy and comfort in the overall ride quality.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    In true Tata SUV fashion, the Nexon EV Max displayed plushness in the way it took on potholes and imperfections gliding over everything that we threw at it without sending much back to the cabin or even displacing the occupants. What’s not changed though is that the ride was quite audible in the cabin and this combined with tyre noise and wind noise creates an experience that takes some getting used to. Despite the battery pack sitting so low, we experienced no issues with ground clearance, however, if you have crater-sized potholes or big speed breakers, it is better to proceed with caution.

    Wheel

    When you need to lay down the hammer, the sub-nine-second acceleration figure combined with progressively weighted steering means you can make quick progress when the road system permits you to do so. The addition of rear disc brakes is confidence-inspiring and does contribute to better stopping power.

    Interior space and quality

    Second Row Seats

    Changes to the Nexon Max interior are minimal. Dimension-wise nothing has changed and you get the same amount of space both in the first and second row. What’s new is the upholstery which Tata has called Makrana beige and it is only available with the XZ+ Lux variant. It adds a nice colour to the cabin and joins the other shade of beige and white that are offered with the standard Nexon EV.

    Features, safety and charging

    Bootspace 12V Supply

    On the feature front, Tata has added ventilated seats, wireless charging, electric sunroof and an illuminated gear selector dial with separate buttons for the various drive modes. Other features include a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, climate control, air purifier, cooled glove box, auto-dimming inside mirror, cruise control, rear AC vents and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

    Right Side View

    The safety suite has all the basics like hill descent and ascent control, traction control system, rear discs, ABS with EBD and reverse camera with dynamic guidelines. You get dual front airbags too but we would have liked four as this has now become the expected standard in this part of the market.

    EV Car Charging Input Plug

    When the Nexon EV was launched in early 2020, it was offered with a 3.3kWh wallbox charger and a 15amp emergency charger. You now also get the option of a 7.2 kWh AC fast charger which is priced at Rs 50,000 over the 3.3kWh charger-enabled versions.

    Infotainment System

    The ZConnect app offers 48 connected car features on the lines of drive analytics and diagnostics. The add-on feature list covers a smartwatch integration, auto/manual DTC check, setting a limit for charging, monthly vehicle reports, and enhanced drive analytics.

    Conclusion

    Front View

    Should you buy the Nexon EV Max over the standard Nexon EV? Yes, we think so, as the 1.8 lakh premium and additional Rs 50,000 for the 7.2kWh charger are worthy extras for better performance, more features and a longer range. The current hurdle in owning a Nexon EV/Max is of course charging infrastructure, which has expanded significantly since the car was launched in 2020 but still has a long way to go. Our other grouse is that you only get two airbags despite the variant. In terms of pricing, the Nexon Max goes up against the Honda City e:HEV and the MG ZS EV in the Excite trim level.

    Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi

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