Tata Motors has recently unveiled their all new Tata HEXA SUV. I was fortunate to attend the prelaunch of Tata HEXA and take the beast for a spin around Hyderabad. I reached the venue (Novotel Hyderabad) well before the pre-launch and hence got some time to hang around Tata HEXA. The first thought that will cross your mind is its uncanny resemblance to Tata Aria. But as you look around more you will realize that’s not the case. At times it even looked like a good blend of Aria and Endeavour but as I explored and looked around more, it wasn’t the case at all. The exteriors are striking and head turning.
The front of the car is graced by a large gloss black grille which has a chrome bottom border and black top border. The large central grille at the lower bumper makes the front look balanced. The plastic cladding along with the wider wheel arches make the car look more polished and defined. The sloping roof line which goes right till the end of the end makes the side profile striking. There are two large horizontally placed LED tail lamps at the rear end of the car. Just like the front the rear also flaunts matte grey scuff plate along with trapezoidal tips. I tried to click as many pictures as I can so that I can do justice to the distinctive exteriors of the car.
Before I came for the pre-launch a lot of my friends also added some queries to my kitty. One of them was the wheel size and to my surprise Tata HEXA has 19-inch wheels, which is pretty impressive. Choosing five spoke wheels with two tone (black and polished shade) finish is a good move as the wheel looks great when in motion as well as when stationary. After being content with the metallic beauty of the beast it was time to attend the pre-launch presentation by the Tata Team.
The presentation from the Tata Team started with a bang. Eminent members from the Tata team explained the design journey of Tata Hexa. They spoke about how the design and configuration is different from all other Tata cars. Few of the pointers that stuck me were Tata Hexa is smart car, it decides the conduct as per the terrain. The presentation was ensued by cocktails and dinner.
The day started really early. As I made our way out of the hotel I could see shiny Tata Hexa lined up for the test drives. We were divided in teams of three and we had to cover a total of 180 kms (90 kms to and fro). I had two more girls in my group and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We started the journey with manual transmission Tata Hexa and then we switched to automatic transmission after 90 kms.
The good part about the track was that we covered all kinds of terrain, right from the expressway to state highway to city roads to muddy roads we tried our hands on every possible road condition. As soon as you get into the car you cannot miss the design craftsmanship and quality.
Few of the highlights of the interiors are as under:
- The leather on the dashboards, the door panels and the seat covers, all showcase high quality materials and designs. The simple gloss black console with a chrome wraparound screamed simple yet stylish.
- A special mention to their infotainment system. The touchscreen infotainment unit comes with navigation facility which can be synced with your smartphone.
- Tata HEXA also offers an app based support which helps you access your phone and play the music. The app also features service and diagnostic tools, navigation support and options to choose the ambient lighting. We couldn’t test the lighting as it was broad day light.
- I have to mention the speakers of Tata Hexa. It comes with 10 strong JBL speakers and has very visible branding of JBL in the front as well as the back seats. We played “Closer” from “Chainsmokers” and were more than satisfied with the sound quality and performance of the music console.
- The steering wheel has the audio and telephone controls just like all the other cars these days.
- Another interesting part is the charging point options. Unlike other cars Tata HEXA has charging port for the front as well for the back seats.
- The leg space is good for the first two rows, the third row is a little tight in terms of legroom space.
After having a good look at the interiors of the car, it was time to turn on the ignition. I knew what to expect in terms of engine configurations. The presentation by the Tata team has given details about it.
Few pointers about the engine configuration and manual transmission driving experience are as under:
- Tata HEXA comes with a 2.2 liter, four cylinder, turbo charged diesel Varicor engine. This engine is capable of producing 156 bhp of max power and 400 Nm of torque.
- The manual transmission version comes with option of both rear-wheel-drive and an all-wheel-drive drive line.
- While driving there was a continuous sound from the engine, I was told that it was normal as it was a diesel car. I didn’t know as I had never driven a diesel car.
- The gear shift was hard and I had to pay special attention to it. Later when I mentioned this I was told that it’s normal with the SUV. Again my first time with an SUV so cannot conclude anything here.
- Tata HEXA manual transmission comes with four (Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Rough Road) driving modes which intelligently assists you as per your driving conditions. We tested the Rough Road driving mode and yes it did fulfill its purpose.
We took a break after driving for 90 kilometers and then we switched to automatic transmission version of Tata HEXA. I was a little apprehensive as I have never driven an automatic transmission car. With a little assistance from the Tata team we started our drive back to the hotel.
Few pointers about the automatic transmission driving experience are as under:
- The engine sound was drastically reduced in the automatic version. Though a lot of people had just the opposite experience. They reported higher engine noise in automatic and less in manual.
- The gear shift was smoother as compared to the manual transmission (there was hardly any gear shift though).
- Less driving mode options as compared to the manual transmission version.
We returned the venue well within the time and another interesting experience awaited us. Tata team has arranged an Off-Roading Experience for all the test drivers. The concept was to showcase some of the most intricate features of the car which couldn’t have tested on normal roads. A terrain was specially made for this activity. “Fasten your seat belt” was the first thing that our driver said to us.
The first thing that was waiting for the Tata HEXA were huge and deep pits. Tata HEXA crossed all the lined up pits very easily. Next the driver took the car over an inclined path and the car comfortably tilted to a scary angle. The driver next demonstrated the Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Hill Hold Control (HHC) feature of the car. He also made us experience the performance of the efficient brakes of the car.
Tata Hexa is a good mix of conventional and well as advanced features. Though the car is loaded with unique features.
Below is the list of features that made me weak in knees.
- The Impact Design and powerful Varicor400 Engine which delivers 400 Nm torque and 156 PS power.
- Multiple drive mode options. Tata HEXA comes with Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Rough Road driving modes which ensures comfort ride experience over different terrains.
- Another stirking feature of Tata HEXA is its comprehensive safety suite. The suite includes 6 airbags, ESP (Electronic Stability Program) which helps the vehicle tackle every kind of terrain, ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution) which optimizes breaking distance and ensures vehicle stability and last but not the least its Hill Hold Control (HHC) and Hill Descent Control (HDC). HHC automatically prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards on up-hill drives and HDC helps in controlled descent on inclined surfaces. We had the demo of HDC and HHC during the Off-Roading session.
- 10 Speaker JBL System, I don’t need to say anything here, the brand speaks for itself.
- Sunblinds, with Tata HEXA you will not have to buy those blinds and stick to the windows of your car. It comes with inbuilt blinds which protects you from bustling traffic and from sun’s rays.
- Ambient Mood Lighting. Tata Hexa comes with a choice of eight colors for in-cabin mood lighting. We got to know about this feature during the pre-launch party. Just imagine your favorite mood lighting and your favorite song on JBL speakers. Exactly that’s what I am talking about here.
Tata HEXA is expected to see the market by January 2017. The prices will be revealed at the launch. With such power pact features, price is going to play a big role on how the market receives the all new Tata HEXA.