Tata Hexa Overview
Tata Motors’ ongoing effort at brand reinvention started, in earnest, with the Tiago, a car that got the whole country to sit up and take notice again. The sales numbers back that up too, with an average of 5,000 units every month. It was quite an impressive feat – giving a mid-range hatchback a truly premium look and feel – something the brand was never previously known for.
However, the job at the other end of Tata’s model range was arguably a lot harder. When the car in question is a premium SUV costing Rs 12-18 lakh, expectations are a fair bit higher, and the erstwhile Aria never managed to pull it off. Under the skin, it had the right hardware – the then-new ‘X2’ platform’s hydroformed ladder-frame chassis, a robust suspension that offered superb comfort and stability, and even four-wheel drive. But it looked too much like an MPV and lacked a premium feel, which is all too important at this price point.Check for Tata Hexa price in Ahmedabad at Tryaldrive.
The Aria has been succeeded by this, the Hexa, and it tackles those problems head on. It looks appropriately rugged and the interiors are on a new level for Tata, while the tough X2 underpinnings have been retained and given a makeover. Additionally, apart from just the feel-good factor and the styling, Tata says it drives like a proper SUV now – at least the top-spec manual version does, which gets 4×4 and a set of drive modes to choose from. So, the question we’re here to answer is, does the Hexa have what it takes to stand tall in the competitive premium SUV segment, and in doing so, can it leave us as impressed as its little sibling, the Tiago, did last year.
Tata Hexa Exteriors
From front and centre, the Hexa strikes the right note. Having seen the other test-drive Hexas coming up in the mirrors during our drive, I knew it had the “get out of my way” quotient down pat. Tata say that every panel on the Hexa has been redesigned, so nothing is shared with the Aria. It clearly feels that way. Up close you can see that the aggression is crafted with class. There is a bull-horn like chrome strip sitting along the bottom of the grille. Gently rounded hexagonal forms texture the grille, giving a sense of keen attention. The clamshell bonnet with its masculine lines and the gaping air vents below give the Hexa’s claim to being an SUV quite a boost. The double-barrel headlamps are the only familiar bits here.
Switch around to the other end and you will see that there is a distinct squareness to the design. The small spoiler also accentuates a more upright stance. The slim D-pillar-mounted tail lamps have been done away with; instead there are chunky angular lamps that wrap around onto the tail gate. There’s enough chrome on the tailgate to please most Indians. The only awkward bit at the rear are the hockey-stick shaped lights that sit on the bumper.
Viewed from the side, the connection to the Aria is all too obvious. But, the rugged cladding and the 19-inch wheels help the Hexa strike a strong pose. The drop down elements from the roof towards the D-pillar and the fin on the shoulder give it a distinctive look. This is where you realise the Hexa is massive – it is longer and wider than the Mahindra XUV500, and the Innova Crysta. Its 2850mm wheelbase is also the longest, albeit identical to the Aria. There are clear benefits of these dimensions as we can see on the inside.For more info on Tata Hexa check Cmap
Tata Hexa Interiors
The Hexa sees an even bigger upgrade inside, with a new and premium-looking dashboard that makes generous use of piano black and chrome. Another JLR-inspired theme comes in the faux stitching in the soft touch material that runs across the centre of the dash. Mimicking the stitching in a leather-wrapped dash, the moulding is neatly executed and it doesn’t look tacky or out of place. At the centre is a touchscreen system that isn’t very high-res but the sound system makes up for it in spades. The JBL system has 10 speakers, and over 1,000 hours were spent in development to perfect the acoustics in this application. The result is a system that isn’t simply heavy on the bass, but produces pleasingly clean and crisp sound with balanced sound levels around the cabin. To my ears, this is the best sound system on any sub-Rs 20 lakh vehicle.
There are comprehensive smartphone connectivity options and a number of purpose-built apps that can be used with the system. These include navigation, a digital vehicle manual and even a dedicated service app that allows you to view service costs, vehicle status at the workshop and more. The new instrument cluster has a smart-looking colour multi-information display, and the top model features auto headlamps and wipers. Occupants can choose from eight ambient light colours with customisable intensity, also customisable through an app. There’s a cooled glovebox and the rear doors have retractable window blinds.
The seats in the Hexa are new and covered in a faux leather upholstery. They’re now firmer but far more supportive than the Aria’s. The new Tata Hexa offers buyers a choice of two captain seats in the middle row or a 60:40 split folding bench in the middle row. Both options have a sliding adjustment to liberate room for third-row passengers. The third row is also quite comfortable, and even six-foot-tall passengers won’t be uncomfortably cramped for knee room. Despite headroom being an issue for said tall passengers, this is still one of the better third rows at the price point. With the third row up, boot space is minimal but the seats fold nearly flat in a 50:50 split to offer ample loading space. If you opt for models with the middle-row bench, a tumble feature allows further expanded boot space. Strangely, the middle row can’t tumble fully forward as it fouls with the newly designed rear console that houses air vents, two flip down cupholders and charging outlets.
Tata has paid special attention to connectivity. There are three 12V power sockets and two USB charging ports, with the middle-row port offering a smart charge function that offers optimal charging based on the device connected. The middle row has been designed with separate focus on both passengers. Each gets a reading lamp and has two dedicated air vents. With the Hexa, Tata worked on offering a premium feel through subtle and classy touches instead of gimmicks (the roof-mounted row of stowage spaces is gone).
The result is very good but still not perfect. Our concern, once more, lies with longevity. We were given two cars. I spent most of the day with the automatic, and Rohit shot for TV with the manual. My car had done 1,700km while his had clocked just over 4,000km. Fit and finish is vastly improved across the board and while up to the mark in most areas, it is still lacking in a few. The cooled glove box, for example, uses a flimsy feeling clasp and both cars were already showing micro-scratches in the piano black trim. The black cladding on the rear bumper of Rohit’s Hexa was already unevenly fading into into an unsightly grey. Then, in the middle of the shoot, the tweeter in the rear left door of the manual Hexa fell out of its socket. I’ll give Tata the benefit of the doubt on the tweeter; there’s still time to figure out more secure mounting before the January 2017 launch. The early signs of wear in some surfaces though may not be such an easy fix.
Tata Hexa Transmission
No big surprise when it comes to the engine. It’s the latest version of Tata’s 2.2-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel called the Varicor 400 (owing to its new Honeywell-sourced variable-geometry turbo and 400Nm of torque), which we’ve already seen on the top variant of the Safari Storme.Fire it up and the Hexa’s relative refinement is literally music to your ears. There is a bit of murmur at idle for sure, but it’s not the boom you’d expect. Vibrations too are impressively contained, save for a little bit through the gear lever. The noise does swell up as the revs climb, but it’s only beyond 3,500rpm that it really sounds harsh, by which time you’ll have likely shifted up already.
The engine is surprisingly responsive off the line and does its best work before 3,000rpm. In fact, this takes some getting used to in both the manual and the automatic versions. In the manual, you have to account for the rather snappy clutch, whose pedal is not very progressive, so it often jerks and leaps off the line. Couple this with the heavy gearshift action and long, wide throws for the lever, and changing gear becomes a tiring task you’d rather avoid. There’s also no safety lock on the reverse gear, something that’s almost mandatory on six-speed manual gearboxes, so you have to be careful when you’re trying to engage sixth.
Thankfully, owing to the strong torque reserves of this motor, you can easily leave the Hexa in second, third or fourth and get through most everyday driving situations. Overtaking too is a breeze and very rarely needs a downshift.In fact, for its size and weight, roll-on acceleration is not too bad, taking 12.72sec to do 40-100kph in fourth gear, and 10.83sec for 20-80kph in third, and that’s likely to do with the Hexa’s really strong mid-range. However, because of how tricky it is to launch smoothly and its jerkiness off the line, the 0-100kph time is a less-than-impressive 14.21sec – quite a bit slower than the competition.
Driving the automatic is an altogether nicer experience. The gearbox is really impressive with how smoothly and seamlessly it gets its job done in most circumstances, whisking you from gear to gear at no more than 2,000rpm if you tread lightly on the throttle. Like the manual, however, it’s when setting off and at really slow speeds that it falters. The tremendous pep from the motor means it overreacts and often shifts down unnecessarily with the lightest tap of your toe, only to return to the same gear moments later. There are no paddles but it’s sufficiently accommodating to taps on the lever for a car like this. It’s also significantly quicker than the manual version, with 0-100kph being despatched in 12.28sec and kick down times of 7.44sec and 9.73sec for 20-80kph and 40-100kph, respectively.
Since the launch of the Zest, Tata has been big on offering its new cars with driving modes that alter the engine’s performance and even the air conditioner to suit your needs. With the Hexa, that has reached a new level. Controlled by an upmarket-looking rotary knob, the ‘Super Drive Modes’ offered on the 4×4 manual let you choose between Comfort, Dynamic, Auto and Rough Road – the former two power just the rear wheels, while the latter two are AWD, sending torque to the front wheels when required. In practice, the differences between the modes are hard to discern, except Dynamic, where you can feel a distinct improvement in responsiveness. The automatic Hexa doesn’t have drive modes or the rotary knob, but you can tap the gear selector to the left for Sport mode. This too improves responses dramatically and will hold on to gears much longer when you kick down hard.
Tata Hexa Driving
There’s no getting away from it, the way the Aria tackles bad roads is very impressive. The 19-inch wheels make short work of lightly broken roads. The way the recalibrated suspension shrugs off bigger potholes and ditches is shocking at first. Tata say that the use of multivalve dampers has helped the suspension tackle off-road better while improving ride quality, too. No doubt, you can feel that at work on our roads, too. The chassis has also been made more rigid and this has helped tune the suspension better, too. The stiffer setup of the suspension at the rear has been done to make the Hexa more sporty to drive. What is apparent is that at highway speeds, it feels absolutely composed and does well to mask its size when being steered through traffic. However, if hustled hard you will feel the body roll, albeit in a controlled manner.
Disappointingly, the hydraulic steering feels light and vague at highways speeds. There is too much slack at centre and when turning into a corner, it ends up feeling disconnected and vague. Also, despite the disc brake setup all round, prodding the brake pedal inspires little confidence. It’s only when you push hard that pace drops as required. The Hexa could certainly do with more powerful brakes.
Tata Hexa Safety
Absolutely. We can’t speak for how well the entry models will be specced just yet, but the top models have a comprehensive safety net. ABS with EBD is standard and the brakes also have a prefill feature – lift off the accelerator suddenly and the hydraulic pressure in the brake lines will be increased to provide stronger braking performance if the driver depresses the brake. This provides harder braking in emergency situations with less pedal effort. Six airbags, ESP with traction control, hill hold and height adjustable seat belts round off the safety package.
Tata Hexa Cost in Ahmedabad
Tata Hexa On Road Price is 14,57,887/- and Ex-showroom Price is 12,99,000/- in Ahmedabad. Tata Hexa comes in 5 colours, namely Arizone Blue,Platinum Silver,Pearl White,Tungsten Silver,Sky Grey. Tata Hexa comes with RWD with 2179 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 148 bhp@4000 rpm and Peak Torque 320 Nm@1700-2700 rpm DRIVE TRAIN RWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Tata Hexa comes with Manual Transmission with RWD .
Tata Hexa Final Thought
What’s clear is that Tata’s endeavour to reinvent itself wasn’t just a flash in the pan. While the Tiago was almost an entirely new car, the Hexa is derived from an older model. But that doesn’t make the result any less impressive. It’s true, its biggest flaws are the ones inherited from the Aria – a heavy, cumbersome drive and ponderous handling, but then, it’s also gifted with its strengths – generous space, superb ride quality (that’s only gotten better) and proper go-anywhere ability; although if go-anywhere ability is not your priority, we’d recommend sticking to the 2WD automatic, as it’s far superior to drive.
What it successfully adds to the formula is impressive refinement and an upmarket look and feel, inside and out, which is on a level that’s unprecedented at Tata Motors. Unlike the Aria, this one is definitely worth the money. And hopefully, the quality and reliability issues that have lingered on in Tata cars are now a thing of the past. Tata is a brand that was always tethered to its ‘cheap car’ past and could never crack the premium segments. Now it finally has a product that can.