With only 2 more months for launch, here is a insight and my hands on experience with Tata Hexa. When it comes to SUV segment, buying one is a big decision to make because you have to look at lot of aspects before you arrive on the conclusion.
a. How does it look? Does it have a good design and build quality?
b. How much entertainment and excitement do I get while driving it?
c. Is it spacious? What about the leg room and storage?
d. How safe am I when I drive it?
e. How does it perform in different roads and conditions ?
I believe Tata Motors has proved itself quite good in all these aspects with Hexa.
On the very first sight, it gave me a very good impression on the design by its sturdy and masculine look. The vehicle looked huge and hunky with the right amount of proportion that is needed for a SUV. It has a pretty tall roof and a wide body which gives it a gigantic look. With Tiago already making good impression in the market, I guess Tata Motors learnt the magic spell that having a good design in the primary challenge to make an impact on the customer’s mind. Oh wait ! Hexa’s design was build with the same intention and in fact it is called as “Impact design model” by TML. If you have a thought that it may look similar to its predecessor “Aria” then it is surely going to prove you wrong. The only thing that Hexa and Aria shares is the platform in which it is built which Tata calls it as “Eagle Platform”.
With a lot of SUV’s in the market that has a boxy design, I felt that Hexa looked better with nicely built curves on the outside. Projector headlamps, super attractive grille, dual tone bumper adds a bit more to the design. It also gets a body colored ORVMs with turn lamps on it which looks nice. For a SUV, Tyre size plays a vital element and I must say that it is well built on this vehicle. It has got a ground clearance of 200mm which is decent for different road conditions. The suspension of this vehicle also feels really great which was evident from our ride and during the off road experience.
Step into the vehicle, and you will start feeling a lot of exciting things to explore. While the exterior looks all goes to the onlookers, as a driver or as passenger the features inside is what that really impressed me a lot. The dashboard at the center is big, packed with a touch screen infotainment and climate control units. As you can see in the second image below, the climate control knob goes below the infotainment system. Right below the climate knobs, you get the 12V output socket, USB port, AUX port and drive mode adjustment knob. What are these drive modes ? Yes. I pretty much had the same question in my mind which was answered when we were taken to the Off road experience which was exclusively arranged for us by Tata Motors. Note that you also get a 12V output socket at the rear seat as well. Mood lighting is one another feature which is unique in Tata Hexa.
Take a closer look into the infotainment system and you will feel that your work to meddle with it becomes much simplified as it is touch controlled and comes with lot of handy apps installed. Delivered from Harman, the infotainment system is really great to experience. It is accompanied by 10 JBL speakers fitted into the vehicle with woofers and by the quality of music that it plays I can surely say that it clearly beats all its rivals. The apps include NaviMap(navigation), Juke car (music), Service Connect. No more of carrying the vehicle manual with you because you get it on the Tata smart Manual app now. The NaviMap was user friendly during our drive. It mirrors your route-map on the infotainment system with the music still playing on the background and simultaneously getting voice alert of the navigation whenever needed. The Navimap also has the offline support and it can show your navigation even without any network data. Thanks to that! Now you don’t have to worry when you travel to locations where network coverage is bad 🙂 One thing which I noticed is that the NaviMap got disconnected a few times during our drive and was prompting to re-launch the app and reconnect it to the infotainment system. Well, that being a very small observation, it can be fixed by a software update.
Sit on the driver’s seat and you will feel like you are sitting on the top of the world. The views that you get on the front and the sides are amazing. And for a guy like me who is more than 6ft tall, the head room was also pretty much decent. On the right door, you get the window control and mirror adjustment switches. The steering wheel comes with call controls, music controls, Trip selection knob and cruise control switches which comes handy when you are driving the vehicle.
Refocus your eyes to look behind the steering wheel, you can find a colorful and attractive Instrument cluster that displays information to the driver. For a MT variant vehicle, the drive modes information are also displayed with different colors on the TFT display along with the odometer, trip meter, time and temperature details. It also has a fuel gauge running along the top center that has a cool 3D effect.
From the point of safety and dynamic performance, Hexa assures it by many features. The dual airbags and Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) is a standard configuration whereas the 6 airbags configuration can be expected in the top variant. In addition Hexa is loaded with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), hydraulic brake assist, hill hold control (HHC)/hill descent control (HDC) and traction control system. The off road track helped us to experience these features live which proved that the vehicle is very much stable and well built considering all the different terrains. With enabling the Hill descend control, you don’t have to worry about applying brakes when driving down on a steep slope. It is controlled by the vehicle and the brakes are applied automatically to each wheel individually whichever spins more. ESP is another prime feature to be noted. This means that each of your Hexa’s wheel can be individually controlled which provides dynamic stability to the vehicle when you lose traction on one or two wheels. Now no more skidding on rough terrains. The different drive modes (Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Rough Road) very really impressive in the off road track. While the Auto and comfort mode are suitable for driving in the city and highways, setting Dynamic or Rough road modes can sense the need for more power and control in muddy, ice or rocky terrains. Note that the Automatic variant comes only with 2WD whereas the Manual variant can support 4WD as well. The seats are really comfortable and the 2nd seat row comes with a 2 seater/3 seater configuration. AC vents for the passenger seats are available on the rear center and sides as well.
We started our drive with the AT variant early morning around 6.30am. At one point on the highway, we rolled down the windows and I asked my team mate, “Can you hear that sound?”. He replied “What sound? I couldn’t hear anything”. And I was like “Exactly!! That’s my point”. We were driving a diesel powered SUV but we could hardly hear the engine roaring which was really impressive. Personally I felt that Automatic variant was more smoother when compared to the Manual variant. As a driver, in MT variant I couldn’t find extra space next to the clutch to rest my left foot when I’m not using the clutch which means you have to keep your foot pulled back towards the seat which I felt was a little uncomfortable. In addition, the Gear lever in the MT was also a bit more harder than usual. But the 6 speed transmission has no problem in cruising on the highway. I got a chance to hit 150kph mark on the Nehru Outer Ring Road, Hyderabad and the vehicle did it with ease without any effort. No wonder the 2179cc engine can deliver a massive power of 154bhp and a torque of 400Nm.
We did a total of around 180 kms including city outskirts and highways. We encountered some bumpy roads as well in the middle. But having said about the terrain this vehicle can handle it was a piece of cake for Hexa. The vehicle suspension was really great. Now you can take selfies inside the vehicle without getting blurred images 😀
No doubt that this vehicle has a power packed feature set in it with great build quality and performance which makes it outstanding in the SUV segment. The fuel economy details and the price details were not revealed to us as it would be announced only during the time of launch which is around January 2017. Having discussed about all that the vehicle has and the things that it can do, on my personal opinion, if this vehicle is priced in a competitive range of its rivals, Hexa could be the boss of SUV segment. So lets wait with our fingers crossed for Hexa to hit the roads soon. Thanks to Tata Motors and Indiblogger for giving me this #HexaExperience opportunity.