Sunday, October 30, 2016

An Hexa Experience at Hyderabad

You may have in all probability read my previous blog post on the upcoming Tata Hexa and its features. This is about the #HexaExperience I indulged in, during the third weekend of October.

I was fortunate enough to be shortlisted as one of the 60 bloggers to cover this event as it happened. From Chennai it was a group of 7-8 bloggers who came for the meet. This included a few of my friends , Shrinidhi Hande and Bhushavali, both established bloggers in their domain.



The venue was at Novotel , Hyderabad Airport, Hyderabad. The expections around the event was set pretty high , right from the venue and the way things were organized. The hotel was set in a sprawling campus full of lush greens, long swimming pools, beautifully decorated rooms and passageways and served some great food. Frankly this is the first five star hotel I've personally visited that's right inside an airport campus (hardly 5 mins drive from the airport, inside the same area)
With free shuttles to & fro from the airport at all times , check in counters inside the reception itself, airport arrival and departure screens, Novotel has really upped the ante here.










The HexaExperience involved the actual launch, a product presentation of the Hexa by the design chief(Mr.Richard Winsor) & Head of Marketing (Mr.Vivek Srivatsa). The session involved them taking the crowd through some exciting visuals of how the Hexa was evolved, challenges faced, an audio visual demo of the Hexa's performance and of course followed by a cocktail party.








We also got to form teams for the drive the next day (3 per car) . I happened to meet 2 wonderful bloggers from Mumbai, Avantika & Sangeeta (both incidentally fashion bloggers) and we instantly clicked and finalized the team.




A brand new Hexa in a dazzling midnight blue colour was placed right across the dinner area that gave the bloggers ample opportunities to make full use of their DSLR's to showcase the car in so many ways.


The following day had a super early start at 5AM. Shortly followed by breakfast, before the sunrise could even set in , we started on a long test drive ( longest test drive I've even been ) for about 85 KMs to a Hill & Adventure Resort, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The drive involved testing every feature of the Hexa which included


  • Different drive modes in Automatic version, 
  • Using Navigation apps
  • Sound testing in the JBL speaker by connecting Bluetooth devices
  • Testing the lumbar support features in the seat
  • Testing the Torque and Acceleration speeds in the Manual , Sports and Race Car Modes
  • and last but not the least, tested to see if the cooling glove box really kept the items chilled
Though we would have loved to spend an hour  at the resort, owing to lack of time for successive activities, we started back pretty soon. One thing I noticed on the way back was that my fellow blogger, Avantika having driven mostly Hatchbacks or other compact cars, could easily master driving the Hexa almost within minutes, that too the manual version.This could make a significant difference in the confidence of new drivers and not really get conscious of the towering structure of the Tata Hexa

The final activity involved a 30 minute offroading experience, probably one of the best parts of the event. This time we were the passengers, while a professional test driver from Tata Motors took over and drove the car to its extremes. Our route involved traversing through deeply dug trench with ice blocks on its path, a steep hill climb with just a gravel track or sand filled roads & farmlands that can slide off any car. But it was quite amazing to see the Hexa 4X4 with almost little effort gliding these obstacles as its engine and booster performance mechanisms kicked in, once the mode was changed to rough road conditions.

Having been experienced dune bashing in a different 4X4 in Dubai desert, I feel this was a totally  different tougher experience, that could truly test the core strength of this car and the Hexa certainly didn't disappoint in any way. As a casual remark, I also suggested to the marketing guys at Hexa that this a great opportunity for them to market it overseas esp in desert areas in Middle East such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi,  Saudi Arabia etc

Dune Bashing at Dubai 

My return journey was through Indian Airlines (surprisingly the first time through this carrier, having flown every other airline in the country) and I should admit the overall flying experience was excellent, service was perfect and completely in contrast with the negative reviews that's been floating around in social media



Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tata Hexa - A Game changing SUV from Tata

Every once in a while , companies have to reinvent themselves completely to stay focused and be ahead of their competitors. They have to try to get out of a preconceived image and a typical mindset from consumer's minds. An hard formed image of a "Hatchback" brand or a "Budget" brand or other classifications are quite tough to come out of .There has been several cases in history where several automobile brands have taken this new road and have had a fair share of success.

This is exactly what Tata Motors seemed to have successfully pulled off with the Hexa 


 

The HexaExperience Review

I was one among 60 bloggers to be invited to witness the launch of the Hexa and also lucky enough to get a chance to do a test drive for 150+ kms across several terrain conditions around Hyderabad. The below review is based on my unbiased personal opinion and also having been up close with the car for two days. One #HexaExperience I should say.





A beautiful 4X4 SUV (some call it a MPV as well) that totally deserves every bit of respect and attention in the road, this is one of the much needed break Tata was always looking for. The Hexa stands faithfully true to its three key characteristics: Power Packed, Feature 
Loaded and Adrenaline Pumped Vehicle.

The Design – Bold and Aggressive

Exterior

Though partially based on the Tata Aria, Hexa has undergone some major redesigning and added elements. What we have here, is a high Impact design that exudes power, aggression and confidence. The large 19’ alloy wheels and an expanded frontal design in terms of length, width and height certainly gives the aggressive look that it warrants. 

 

Tata’s signature honeycomb grille in the front, a redesigned “floating” roof and a classy finish gives it the perfect bold & aggressive look. The alloy wheels, in particular gives that rugged and “beast” look which makes it even more bad-ass










The 4X4, clearly having off-roading capability in mind has kept ground clearance to 200mm which is really impressive and most ideal for the treacherous Indian roads.I happened to catch the silver and the midnight blue colour variants during the launch. The midnight blue colour was the favourite among the crowd and very photogenic as well. 

Interior

The interior design compliments the exterior with some classy upholstery, improved steering wheel design, mood lighting system based on driving modes, lumbar support for long drives on the driver seat and a large boot space that can also be converted with a passenger seat.
It’s certainly evident that a lot of detailing has gone inside. A glove box inbuilt with a cooling system, a beautiful tachometry, navigation system equipment, vanity mirrors and the overall dashboard layout adds fine texture to the overall feel while driving.





Tech Specs

More than design, features and other things, the engine & performance seems to have taken the icing on the cake for Hexa and truly delivers to its promised potential.

Engine

Hexa comes with a 2.2L VARICOR 400, the same powerful engine that you earlier saw in the Safari Storm 2016. With an engine capacity of 2179 cc(156PS @4000 RPM), it intends to give direct competition to the likes of Scorpio, Mahindra Xylo, Innova Crysta and the XUV 500 (that also has the exact capacity).

With the above specs, I could sense the traces of a Jaguar engine that also came with a 2.2L 2179 cc (probably from the Tata-Jaguar collaboration) and that gives a good indication of how the performance will fare. Though unannounced yet, we could definitely expect the mileage to hit the 15+ mark or even more.

Torque

The Torque at 400Nm @1700-2700 rpm is pretty good .During my test drive, I could clearly touch the 100Km/Hr mark in roughly 9-10 seconds and the 160 KM/hr in another  6-7 seconds . Apart from me, the Tata engineer who accompanied us attained a top speed of 180KM/hr quite effortlessly. The vehicle’s ability to handle higher speeds was clearly visible with zero discomfort and a completely smooth ride all along.


Transmission


The Hexa comes in two variants : Automatic and Manual, both with 6 speeds . Having test driven both variants for 85 KMs, though both offers similar performance, my personal choice would be the automatic than the manual variant. This is mainly due to the ease of driving, a complete bliss especially in long drives.

In particular, the 6 speed automatic transmission vehicle comes with 5 modes : 
Economy, Sports, Auto Sensing , Manual shift and last but not the least, Race Car Performance. The last mode got me all excited, as this provides superior acceleration, quick torque times and of course slower gear shifts (an absolute delight for thrill & adventure seekers like me). Sports mode in comparison also allows  similar faster speeds in quicker times as you get to hear the engines roar (but of course you may have to trade that for lesser mileage in both modes).



Driving Modes

In addition to the gear shifting modes, Tata Hexa has added 4 super drive modes based on terrain condition : automatic, comfort, dynamic and rough road . The dynamic and rough road modes (as demonstrated during the off-roading experience) are backed by three critical features : Torque on Demand , Electronic stability Program and of course boosted engine performance.  


Image courtesy : Tata Press Kit


With this 4x4, getting stuck in deep pits or traversing through extremely bad conditions, driving through slopes or uphill will no longer be an arduous task. A simple turn of the knob to Rough road mode will kick in the above mentioned systems and gets you out of any tough condition almost immediately. ( I really wish life had a similar mode change option that can get us out of difficult situations immediately :) )


Off-Roading Experience 
(with Hill-Hold and Hill-Descent Control)

My off-roading experience involved the Test Engineer driving the car in a deep pit that had ice blocks as the sledge which made the process even difficult. The Hexa, having tuned to the rough road mode effortlessly glided on to the path with almost no discomfort to any of the passengers.

 

The off-roading experience continued on a downward slope with rough tracks with no brakes being applied. The vehicle automatically sensed the condition and got the stability and braking system automatically to considerably slow down. This is a feature I have seen only in luxury cars (in the 40-50 Lakhs segment) and pretty glad such a safety feature is being included in this as well

My personal favourite features of The Hexa
  • A Powerful 2.2 L Varicor Engine
  • 6 speed Automatic/Manual variants with various modes
  • 6 Airbags (front,side and curtain) for maximum safety
  • Rough Road assistance
  • JBL speaker system that delivers outstanding sound clarity
  • Mood lightings inside the car based on driving modes
  • Smartphone integration with the ConnectNext App : At the press of a button you can even get immediate assistance / pick up service wherever you are or assist with route navigations.
  • Comfort, safety and design being given top priority.


Image courtesy : Tata Press Kit



My two cents on Hexa and Tata Motors :

A superb “fully loaded” vehicle that can be a game changer in the MPV/SUV segment. Thanks to a superior design, engine performance and next-gen technology, this can be the one big success, Tata is always looking for. 

With all other things being done just right, the two things that can make or break the car is the price point and the after-sales service. If Tata Motors can just handle these two in the right way, there’s nothing to stop them from bagging the limelight. Purely based on my personal understanding of the SUV market, I’d predict that a price point  of less than 16 Lakh can result in a definite winner.

Note : All pictures taken from my Digicam, except for the couple of pics which I had mentioned explicitly as from Tata Press Kit

Thursday, October 20, 2016

World TV Premiere of A Flying Jatt - 10 Reasons why you should watch it


Our very own version of the Desi Superhero, "A Flying Jatt" is premiering on Zee TV on 22nd Oct at 8PM.  This super-hit film opened to some great box office collections and received some excellent critic reviews.

In case if you're still wondering if you should watch this, here are 10 reasons why should definitely see it :

1.India’s first flying "Martial Art" Superhero


A Flying Jatt saves the day in the coolest way. Bestowed not only with this incredible superpower, our man can also display some jaw-dropping martial art moves.




2. A Superhero with a Supermom

Most superhero movies have a tragic past where their parents may have met with an accident. Our

Super hero however has a supermom who constantly reminds him of his duties. A typical Indian mother, she scolds him every time his reluctant to use his superpowers. She definitely is a supermom.


3. Killer Dance Moves  

No other superhero can beat the Flying Jatt in one thing : His electric, killer dance moves. Saving the world and burning the dance floor, all at the same time. Now can you expect that from other superheroes?




4. Youngest Superhero

Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan also had special powers in movies like Krrish and Ra.One respectively. But Tiger Shroff , at just 26, has bagged a superhero movie as his third film while the others have had a longer run in films before had a long career preceding their superhero ventures.




5.  Jatt Fly Karda- Saving Mankind

As the name suggests, Flying Jatt is all about a superhero who not only goes all out to save his city, but also believes in his prime religious duty of helping mankind. He is the first superhero who has incorporated his human and religious sensibilities in saving his city.


6.   Accidental superhero

The Flying Jatt was not born with these powers but became a superhero by accident. A superhero at heart and courageous enough to fight despite being scared is what makes a ordinary man a true superhero.


7. Chores before Chors

Despite being a superhero, the Jatt still manages to do all kinds of chores at home. From lending a helping hand in cleaning the house or buying vegetables, this superhero has to do it all. Superhero for the world. but still does what the mother says


8.  A hero with a consciousness:

We all have to give back to our society and the Flying Jatt definitely believes in this.  A protector of mother nature and a condemner of pollution, this superhero does all to protect the environment. 


9.  A child at heart:

He might have a serious job at hand but he is a child at heart. This is what sets him apart making him a fun, relatable superhero. He has the superpowers but he also has a child in him who will touch your hearts.


10.    He is coming to meet you soon
This down to earth superher, he has decided to meet his fans in the beloved city of Amritsar with the World Television Premiere of his film, A Flying Jatt on 22nd October, 2016 at 8PM in Zee TV


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A wonderful collection of Top WhatsApp Status Messages

Being quite active in WhatsApp, I have always been in search of a good status message. A message, that'll define me, be quirky, innovative and most of all funny. A good status message should make people wonder what it's about, or probably make them laugh and bring out your humorous side. However, the default options in WhatsApp are pretty boring and these include:
  • Available
  • At the movies
  • Busy
  • At school
  • Battery about to Die
  • Can't talk, WhatsApp only
  • In a meeting 
I'm not sure who came up with such lame WhatsApp status messages, but if you want to be Captain Cool, you definitely don't want to put one of those messages on your phone.  On the other hand, not everyone can be really creative to come up with some amazing WhatsApp messages every time.



So my search for the ultimate WhatsApp status message collection finally came to an end. Yes, such a thing exists! It’s called  whatsstatus.com.

This site has more than 60 categories of WhatsApp statuses, such as Funny, Romantic, Love, Attitude, Spiritual or even some clever status messages. These are updated on a daily basis and these are user contributed unique and fresh content, which you may not find elsewhere. Working on a crowd sourcing model, Whatsstatus.com has several hundred writers constantly contributing to the growing community and adding quality content to the site. As far as I know , this is probably the only site that actually pays you to write funny one-liners as WhatsApp status messages.

Some of my recently bookmarked WhatsApp status messages under the 
Creative , Funny and Inspirational Category include:
·         
  • Behind every small leap of faith in the dark, is a cascade of light and success awaiting us.
  • Checking my last seen? Wow! I am doing the same for U!
  • The horse is a perfect example for running in the race towards his own beauty of grace.
  • Your call is important; please wait till you land up in ‘Voicemail’.
  •  I am not afraid of my extra pounds; I am safeguarding myself against kidnapping.
So start checking out the Latest Whatsapp Status messages and probably even contribute a few if you have some interesting status messages up your sleeves.