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CarWale Track Day 2019: Tata Nexon vs Mahindra XUV300

Introduction

Let´s face it, the race-track isn't the ideal place to test these compact SUVs. They belong to the urban confines where their practicality really comes to the fore. But since they are so popular we thought we should bring them to the track and see what they can do. So what we have here are two compact SUVs with small displacements but force induced petrol engines. The Mahindra XUV300 is the latest to join the compact SUV brigade and comes with a potent 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. Taking it on is the Tata Nexon which also comes with a 1.2 litre, 3-Cylinder turbo-petrol motor. So who will take the crown? Let’s find out.

0-100-0kmph

Time to bring out the data then. Apart from lap times, we also decided to measure how much time these compact SUVs would take to accelerate to 100kmph and also the time taken to come to rest from 100kmph. We begin with the Nexon. The stylish Tata did well and hit 100kmph in 14.24 seconds despite its weight. It also took 245 metres to do the same. Flooring the brakes at a 100 kmph, the Nexon came to a dead halt in 3.2 seconds covering a distance of 45.15 metres. That gave the Nexon a total 0-100-0 time of 17.43 seconds. Was that good enough to beat the new kid on the block?


The Mahindra XUV300 makes slightly more power, but would that be enough to beat the Nexon? Dumping the clutch, with its wheels spinning away to glory, the baby XUV hit the ton in 13.72 seconds and took just 228 metres while at it. Dropping the anchors brought out the other ace up its sleeve - the XUV had all-four disc brakes and the difference was immediately noticeable. The XUV came to a dead halt in just 2.79 seconds and covered a distance of 39.22 metres. That gave the XUV a total 0-100-0 time of 16.51 seconds which makes it almost a second quicker than the Nexon, which came in last in the 0-100-0 tests.

Lap Time

Considering that the XUV300 accelerated and braked better than the Nexon, it would seem that the Mahindra would ace the lap-times as well. Let´s go with the Mahindra first, this time around. It has got 110bhp power, 200Nm of torque and a 6-speed gearbox transferring the power to the front wheels. The XUV300 suspension is set up quite well too and it has a good balance of ride and handling. While it does not have driving modes, it does get a steering mode which, when dialled to sport, weighs it up.
Going around the track, the baby XUV has plenty of grunt for its size to power out of the corners. The steering, even in sport mode, does not offer too much feel but the turn-ins are quick. What really messes up the XUV's party is the intrusive ESP which keeps acting like a possessed nanny. It kept cutting the power at crucial times when the most drive was needed to shoot out of a corner or when corrections were needed during mid-corners. That hampered the XUV´s true potential by a fair bit and it finally completed the lap in 2m22.08s.


 
The Nexon was up next. As far as the capabilities are concerned we had already tried the diesel Nexon at the track last year and it proved to be quite an entertaining drive. This time with a lighter petrol engine upfront, it could only get better.
And it did. The Nexon was an absolute blast to belt around the track. Good feedback from the steering along with a very neutral chassis meant that the Nexon could easily be coaxed to drive the way we wanted. The Nexon's lift-off and oversteer properties also helped greatly in corner entries. Lap time? Surprise surprise, the Nexon went around the track in 2m19.59s, almost 3 seconds quicker than the more powerful but restrained XUV300.

Conclusion

What was clear in this comparison was that having more power does not necessarily guarantee a quicker lap-time. Yes, more power did give the XUV an advantage in a straight line, but when it came to putting down the power during corners, it struggled, with the ESP cutting in and with loads of understeer.

The Nexon, on the other hand, followed the driver´s commands down to the T and that resulted in a lot of fun and quicker lap times, as well. It did suffer when it came to the braking with the XUV´s all-round discs proving far more effective and fade-free. While this comparison on the road would turn out vastly different, on the track it was the Tata Nexon that won our hearts with its playful nature and of course, the better lap-time.

Photos

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Mahindra XUV300 Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
New Delhi₹ 9.06 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 8.78 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 9.19 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 9.32 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 9.66 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 9.04 Lakhs onwards
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