Tata Hexa Performance & First Drive

Tata Hexa Overview

After sincere, but ineffective attempts at changing its image with the Zest and the Bolt, Tata Motors has seen some success after the surge in interest for the Tiago, which was unveiled last year. The small car seemed jinxed initially with its first name Zica unfortunately sounding like the Zika virus and coinciding with its outbreak. But with the new moniker and a refreshed launch strategy, the Tiago still managed to bring Tata back into the reckoning in the car market.

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Whether its brand ambassador – footballer Lionel Messi – helped in the revival or not, the Tiago has managed to score the key goal of winning back the trust of car buyers. Tata Motors believes that a big reason for the success of the Tiago was the new Impact design language and the engineering changes that were effected as part of the new strategy. The next vehicle from the Tata stable that will benefit from Impact design is the new Hexa. And going by our experience with the new Hexa, it is clear that this will also be another vehicle from Tata Motors that has the potential to boost the brand’s image.  View offers on Tata Cars from Tata dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

Tata Hexa Look

Tata Hexa production ready model that was showcased at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo hugely resembles the concept which was showcased earlier in Geneva. The looks have been given a muscular appeal, but the butch appearance didn’t affect its stylish character that has been designed keeping in mind the tastes of urban customers.

The front profile of the Tata Hexa gets automatic projector headlamps with LED daytime running lamps, while the muscular looking front grille and trapezoidal shaped lower bumper adds a striking presence to the Hexa. Two air dams at both sides of the large front bumper makes the appearance beefy, while the fog lamps have been unusually shaped. The car gets a higher bonnet, which automatically enhances the bolder appearance of the Hexa. The hood sports a few crisp character lines running towards the nose, which manage to give the Hexa a bold and dynamic face.

Walk towards the side, and the Hexa’s inspiration from the Aria MPV becomes a lot more apparent. The entire silhouette of the Tata Hexa is nearly identical to that of its MPV twin. The ORVMs get LED side turning lamps, the wheel arches look big enough to give the car a bold look and are highlighted with a cladding. The 19 inch five twin-spoke alloy wheels ensure that the Tata Hexa does not get a bland angle to look at. The car gets a thick cladding at the bottom all around, while the greenhouse area comes with resemblances from the predecessor Tata Aria. It gets a chrome bar at the bottom of the greenhouse area, while the roofline gets roof rails on both sides.

The rear profile gets redesigned with horizontally stacked tail lamps, which actually look nice. The faux skid plates can be seen at the rear bottom with dual exhausts integrated to it. This makes the Hexa look like an SUV, while retaining the simplicity of its MPV sibling.

Tata Hexa Comfort

The dashboard layout of the Hexa looks premium thanks to the new design additions and controls made of fresh-looking materials like chrome trim used with glossy black and soft grain plastic. The instrument cluster is easy to read and except for the low-set air-con controls, all functions are easily accessible on the dash. We however noticed that the centre console was devoid of storage spaces barring the cup holder behind the gear shifter and the centre armrest. The seats are draped in a leather look-alike upholstery with contrast stitching that feels rich. In fact the front seats offer a comfortable drive thanks to the ample contours with lumbar, good back and appropriate thigh support.

Similarly, the middle row seats have identical contours and offer good support, headroom and lots of legroom for the occupants. Entry to the third row of seats is by tumbling the second row, and while the seats offer hardly any support, headroom and space for adults is also confined. With the last row up, the boot can only take a few soft bags and a thin suitcase at the most. To stuff anything more, the last row needs to be folded but it doesn’t fold flat either. The Hexa equipment list consists of six airbags, ESP, traction control, ABS with EBD, climate control with vents on all three rows, auto headlamps, rain sensing wipers, and reverse parking sensors with a camera. There’s also power mirrors with demister, cruise control, rear sun blinds, an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat (non-electric), a multi-function steering wheel, and a 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with JBL speakers, to name a few.

It does miss out on features like powered seats and keyless go, which is a norm in the segment. There’s no sunroof either, which the rivals offer. In short, manual gearbox variants include XM and XT in six and seven seater options along with the choice of automatic transmissions called XMA and XTA. A 4×4 manual model is also available on the XT variant.

Tata Hexa Performance

The Hexa’s engine is the same 2.2-litre Varicor 400 diesel engine that is currently available in the top trim Safari Storme. The refined 2,179cc diesel engine is already popular and makes its way into the Hexa in the same state of tune as it is in the Safari Storme. So, the engine generates a peak power of 156PS and a peak torque of 400Nm. Of course, left alone these numbers don’t exactly paint the right picture. The Hexa is almost the same weight as its predecessor (about 2,300kgs) because of the number of new features, even though some weight savings were achieved. But the tuning enables the powertrain to deliver a very peppy performance.

The Hexa is quick off the block and offers enough pulling power all the way till about 4,000 rpm. There is only a hint of turbolag and there is no sense of hesitation or perceived vulnerability even in the way the vehicle behaves on the road. Straight-line stability is excellent and there are electronic aids like ESP and traction control helping correct errors if any wheel slippage is detected. Body roll is still there, inevitable with the suspension also set up for a fairly pliant ride.

The engine is offered with two gearbox options — a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Working your way up the gears is easy in the manual too with most of the torque already available from about 1,500rpm (idling is set at 800rpm). The only crib we’ll have is the slightly rubbery shift feel in the manual gearbox. Surprisingly, the automatic is an excellent gearbox, with perfectly space gears. The auto comes with a sports mode and what Tata calls an auto detect race car mode. The manual gearbox on the other hand has four super drive modes for altering the car’s performance based on the driving surface. The modes are Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Rough Road. The Hexa will also be available in 4X2 and 4X4 variants. The all-wheel drive system in the 4X4 is an electronically unit via an adaptive system developed by Borg Wagner.

Tata Hexa Driving

There are four driving modes in the manual version – Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Rough Road. In Comfort and Dynamic modes, even though power is primarily sent to the rear wheels, it can power the front wheels if the need arises. Responses from the motor are more sedate in Comfort mode, and slants towards performance in Dynamic mode. Auto and Rough Road modes use full-time four-wheel drive, and while the former is used for road applications, the Rough Road mode is meant for off-road situations.

Let’s switch to the automatic version now. Surprisingly, none of the lag experienced in the lower rpms of manual version is felt here. The six-speed auto shifts smoothly at the appropriate rpms and covers up remarkably for the turbo lag too. It’s definitely the easier of the two to drive since the gearing is slightly shorter than on the manual which allows it to shift at an earlier rpm and stay in the meaty portion of the power band. Our VBox confirmed the 0-100kmph sprint is a second quicker than the manual at 12.67sec, and the 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph runs were swifter by 4.97sec and 3.17sec! It needs a mention too that the 90kg weight difference between the 4×4 manual and the 4×2 automatic works in favour of the latter.

Tata Hexa Safety

The Tata Hexa gets plenty of safety features to begin with it gets 6 airbags, in total which includes duel front as well as side and curtain airbags. It further also gets Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Roll-over Mitigation, traction control system, Hill Hold Control (HHC), Hill Descent Control (HDC), ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Corner Stability Control etc.

Tata Hexa Cost in Hyderabad

Tata Hexa Ex-Showroom Price in Hyderabad ranges from 11,76,055/- (Hexa XE) to 17,11,055/- (Hexa XT 4X4). Get best offers for Tata Hexa from Tata Dealers in Hyderabad. Check for Hexa price in Hyderabad at Carzprice

Tata Hexa Bottomline

Depending on the trim level, the Hexa is loaded with a big list of safety tech including 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, Hill Hold and Hill descent control etc. But, the big, most impressive change in the Hexa is of course, the level of refinement that has been achieved. NVH performance is at a new high for a Tata vehicle and in fact rivals many competitors’ vehicles. Ergonomics and choice of materials is similarly at a new high. Braking performance could have been better. During our test drive the brakes seemed to bite late after a bit of pedal travel. But, overall the perceived reliability levels, including the feedback one gets about the electronics in the vehicle is excellent. We expect the Hexa to be priced in the ₹10 lakh to ₹16 lakh range. And we expect this vehicle to contribute to the revival in interest for Tata cars. Whether it can take on the giant in the segment — Toyota Innova — only time will tell.

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