We will get past the numbers first. Tata is offering the Nexon with two turbocharged engine options – a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel, both developing 109bhp of power and 170Nm, 260Nm of torque respectively. Both are paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox and come with three driving modes - Eco, City and Sport.
The three-cylinder petrol motor is a quiet performer; however, its modest power output means it ends up struggling at times to pull the Nexon’s heft. Peak torque is available from just below 2,000rpm but peak power doesn’t come in until 5,500rpm, meaning that you have got to rev that motor more than you would economically like to zip along with traffic. The power delivery isn’t exactly linear either because of some flat spots around mid-range. Also, the engine feels extremely dull and unresponsive in Eco mode when it’s not on boost. That said, you can get around it by switching to Sport mode wherein throttle response is noticeably better. All said, we ended up driving the Nexon petrol in Sport throughout the testing period. In the latter mode, it’s not sluggish in any way, nor is it a hurried car. If you like driving in a relaxed manner then the Nexon petrol will suit.
While the petrol powered version is nice and quiet, the Nexon is best served with the turbo diesel motor. The latter is simply effortless in its performance (thanks to the extra torque) and surprisingly refined. The motor, in fact, delivers torque in a linear way with just a hint of turbo lag below 1,600rpm. On boost, it pulls hard all the way till 4,200rpm without ever sounding coarse. There is no denying that it becomes noisy at higher revs but it does feel more refined than the Brezza’s motor. However, we would like to add that our test car’s engine, though smoother, kept making weird noises, especially after continuous hard pull. Meanwhile, the 6-speed gearbox is equally good when it comes to the shift action, but the clutch pedal is springy and you can never really gauge the bite point.
Strapped to our timing gear, the Nexon posted some quick times, with 0-100kmph coming up in 12.73 seconds. It does 20-80kmph in third in just 9.89 seconds and takes 12.02 seconds to accelerate from 40-100kmph in fourth, resulting in significantly quicker roll-on times compared to its arch rival, the Vitara Brezza. The Nexon has even got different drive modes that alter throttle response to favour economy or performance. In Eco mode, it accelerates in a fairly leisurely manner, taking nearly 19 seconds to hit 100kmph. The petrol Nexon proved to be marginally slower flat-out, taking 13.02 seconds to hit 100kmph.