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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 :) )
(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.
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.
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