Which is the best value for money, under Rs. 20 lakh electric SUV? Mahindra XUV400 or the Tata Nexon EV Max?
Two homegrown SUVs are vying for the attention of EV buyers in India. Tata Nexon EV MAX or the Mahindra XUV400? We finally have both cars together to find out which one of these electric heavyweights is the most value for money, practical, and, of course, solves all your problems as an electric SUV. Let the battle begin!
Since its launch, the Nexon EV has been well-received in the Indian market, and 50,000 units plying on the roads is a testament to the popularity of the car. With the EV Max, Tata Motors is trying to strengthen that even further. Of course, the Nexon EV Max is more expensive than the standard version, but what you get with it, is a larger battery pack, more features, and an even greater range.
The Tata Nexon EV is clearly the most popular of the two, and there’s no denying that. It had the first-mover advantage after all, but the XUV400 has a lot going for it. It’s bigger than the Nexon EV.
Tata Nexon EV Max
You can see that in the above table. The XUV400 is longer, wider, taller, and even big on the wheelbase, so it is definitely comfortable for people sitting on the inside. And it’s also pretty good to look at. The big muscular look does wonders for the aggression that it oozes thus differentiating it clearly from its subcompact cousin.
But it’s the performance that matters to the customers. So how are they to drive? As the name suggests, the Tata Nexon EV Max comes with a larger battery pack, so now you get a 40.5 kWh battery pack with LFP cells that together help develop 140+ bhp and 250 Nm of peak torque. Along with this, you also get 4 regeneration modes, and the option to completely switch it off as well. Then there are also 3 drive modes: 'Eco', 'City' & the more performance-oriented 'Sport' mode.
Off the mark, there is no lag or hesitation with the Nexon EV Max. We drove in Level 3 Regen mode in Eco mode for most of the day, to conserve the battery for the shoot. Besides, it gave us the opportunity to better understand the car and its performance in Eco and City modes, as the throttle response is limited. Then there is the Sport mode, and here’s where you can use all the torque that helps punch right through, giving an extremely satisfactory driving experience.
Having said that, what I don’t like about the Nexon EV Max is its suspension setup, since the car has added weight, approximately 100 kg, so as to accommodate the larger battery pack. But that has made it slightly bouncy over bad patches and even undulations. So, the rear passengers will have to adjust to this on longer journeys. Not exactly a deal breaker. But, what is, is the steering wheel, which is quite dull on lower speeds, while on higher speeds it feels imprecise to the kind of inputs you would want while going into turns. Typically, I would prefer a firmer grip on the steering wheel.
Tata Nexon EV Max
The XUV400 gets a 39.4 kWh battery pack and that’s good enough for 149 bhp. You enjoy the way the power is delivered to the wheels, it is seamless and the drive modes give it a different appeal. But it’s the way it drives that you like. The suspension set-up is such that it doesn’t disturb the cabin. The XUV400 takes the small, big and bigger potholes in its stride and all the bumps are soaked in with ease. There’s minimum movement inside the cabin which is good given the larger footprint of the car.
From an engineering standpoint, both are great. But here‘s where our thoughts are divided. Definitely, the Nexon EV Max has a better-looking cabin. The floating touchscreen adds a nice touch, while ventilated seats, wireless charging, auto hold, and an in-built air purifier are a touch of modernity. But then again, the seating position and the overall ergonomics take some time to get used to.
The XUV400’s cabin is very outdated. In fact, it’s similar to what you see in the XUV300. There are connected car features on offer but there’s no wireless charging, ventilated seats or even a larger infotainment system but ergonomically, the buttons are very well placed.
In cars such as these, the rear seat and boot space matter too. There’s no denying that the Nexon EV Max is a much more compact car than the XUV400. But that does not mean that there isn’t enough space for the passengers inside. Of course, you cannot adjust three adults at the back, with the middle seat reserved for a child. There’s a nice amount of knee room, in fact, more than decent one, and even under-thigh support.
Headroom is not a lot, for reference Ameya is 5’9, so it’s enough for him, but since the car is not wide enough, there is limited room for the shoulders so having two passengers beside you might make things a bit uncomfortable. But apart from that, the seats have a nice cushion feel to them and are comfortable. Then what the Nexon EV Max misses out on are charging slots, but do get AC vents.
Moving to the boot of the Nexon EV Max, you get 350L of space and has a better loading lip than the XUV400. You can adjust quite a few bags here, about 3 to 4 medium-sized suitcases or even more with smaller luggage. I also want to point out that since Tata has not provided a charging provision for the passengers at the rear, what it has cleverly done is offered a 12V port between the rear seats and the parcel tray.
The XUV400 gets more space in the boot space than the Nexon, 378 litres, 28 litres more to be precise and that’s because it’s longer than its rival. With 5 people seated inside, it can easily carry 4-5 bags of this size and you can easily pack for a quick weekend getaway. It also gets 60:40 split seats and that helps provide added space if needed. But let’s go to the rear seat now to check out that space.
Here there is good enough knee room for me and good headroom as well. And since the XUV400 is wider than the Nexon, you get good shoulder room too and the big glass area that you get here gives you that sense of space. 3 people can sit here comfortably. But what goes missing here are the rear AC vents and on hot days such as today, it becomes a necessity. In fact, there are no charging points either at the back, which is a big miss from where I stand.
On the safety front, the Nexon is far ahead because of its 5-star GNCAP safety rating and that was expected because it is based on the same platform as the regular Nexon. And so, the electric SUV comes with a bunch of standard safety measures such as ESP, traction control, hill ascent and descent assists, ISOFIX, and reverse parking assist. There are also more than 40 connected car features on offer. The XUV400 too gets a host of safety features but misses out on ESP. It however gets 6 airbags in the top variant while the Nexon gets only 2.
There are a number of ways to charge up the Nexon EV Max. A 7.2 kW home charger can charge from 0-100 per cent in 6.5 hours. Even any 15 Amp socket can do the same in about 15 hours while a 50 kW DC fast charger can juice up from 20 to 80 per cent within an hour.
In the case of the XUV400, the car can be juiced up with a 3.3 kWh charger in 13 hours while the larger capacity 7.2 kWh charger can charge the EV in 6 hours and 30 minutes. A DC fast charger will take just 50 minutes to recharge the car from 10 to 80 per cent.
As you can see, the Mahindra XUV400 is slightly cheaper than the Tata Nexon EV Max. However, it is important to note that the XUV400 has a smaller battery pack but the range is almost the same.
Prices (in lakh, ex-showroom)
Tata Nexon EV Max
Rs. 16.49 lakh
Rs. 16.99 lakh
Rs. 17.49 lakh
Rs. 17.99 lakh
Rs. 18.49 lakh
XZ+ AC Lux
Rs. 18.99 lakh
Prices (in lakh, ex-showroom)
EC 3.3 kW
Rs. 15.99 lakh
EC 7.2 kW
Rs. 16.49 lakh
EL 7.2 kW
Rs. 18.99 lakh
EL 7.2 kW DT
Rs. 19.19 lakh
We drove both the cars for an equal number of kilometres and the range though similar- 453 km for the Nexon EV Max and 456 km for the XUV 400 - needs to be taken with a pinch of salt because reaching the 200 km mark too was a struggle for both.
As we said, there has to be one clear winner in this battle. So whose vote has swayed in which direction? Not mine, but Pratik’s has, and for good reasons. The XUV400 just feels right, despite its compact dimensions, the car has ample room for all the passengers especially for those at the back. Then there is the talk about the ride quality which again is much better in the XUV400 with a firmer suspension set-up which makes up for a pleasurable driving experience.
One cannot forget that the Nexon is more bang for your buck because it has a long feature list, a longer warranty for the battery and has now got a reputation in the market, so we aren’t taking any of those things away from the Nexon EV Max. But the XUV400 is so much better to drive and yes more comfortable and is at par with the pricing of the Nexon EV.. yes you have to deal with an outdated look to the cabin which has always been Mahindra’s Achilles heel. So our clear choice is the car that Pratik has sat in and silently buzzed off.
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