Tata Hexa Hatchback First Drive & Gearbox
Tata Hexa Overview
The Tata Aria was built to compete with the Innova back in 2010. The Aria was a good product but Tata priced it way above the Innova back then which ultimately led to its downfall. Tata has taken the Aria apart and built an almost all-new car on the same platform with their HorizonNext design philosophy. The new Hexa is miles ahead in terms of build, quality and equipment and was first showcased to the public at Auto Expo 2016.Amongst premium people movers, the Hexa competes head to head with the Mahindra XUV500. If you do not need a seven-seater, you could also opt for a Hyundai Creta and save a bit or if you want more power, the Toyota Innova is not too far away up the price ladder. View offers on Tata Cars from Tata dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop
Tata Hexa Exterior
The Hexa is based on the Aria platform and that’s no bad thing as it gets the benefit of a ‘hydroformed’ ladder chassis that is rigid and tough. Other than in side profile, where the carryover roof and glasshouse is obvious, there isn’t much of a visual link to the Aria – each body panel is new.
Where the Aria’s part-SUV-part-MPV design seemed lost in translation, the Hexa makes a much bolder impression. Tata won’t go so far as to call the Hexa an SUV, but that’s clearly the look it has gone for. There are lots SUV design cues, like the black cladding that runs around the car and well chiselled angular details on the body.The chunky clamshell bonnet, upright grille (nicely detailed with hexagons) and stretched-back headlamps gel really well. Adding the desired dose of aggression without looking overdone is the stylish front bumper that houses a large central air dam and comes embellished with attractive daytime-running LED lights.
There are no undue cuts and creases on the sides and the resulting look is one of robustness. LED elements for the brake lights, boomerang-shaped reflectors on the bumper, dual exhausts and a large scuff plate also does a lot for the Hexa’s strong-shouldered look. The Hexa’s certainly got the size (it’s 4,788mm long and 1,791mm tall) and the ground clearance (200mm) to pass off as the more rugged of the species.The 19-inch wheels are the largest in class but amidst the vast body, they look a bit sunken which spoils the stance a bit.
Tata Hexa Interior
Hexa interior comes with a premium black theme, with premium Benecke-Kaliko upholstery. The SUV is packed with an array of premium features, such as Harman-developed touchscreen infotainment system with AM/FM, USB, AUX IN, iPOD, Bluetooth connectivity and 10-Speaker JBL system, cruise control, Fully Automatic Temperature Control (FATC) with dual HVAC, Reverse Parking Camera, Automatic Headlamps (Light sensing), Rain-Sensing Wipers, Power Foldable ORVMs, 12 V Power Outlets on all three rows, Smart USB charging at the second row, etc., to mention a few.The hexa is built to look like an SUV and the car’s fascia boasts of newly designed projector headlamps, a honeycomb grille and new bumper with fog lamps. The horizontal chrome slat under the grille extends towards the headlamps and the honeycomb pattern can also be seen on the front chin. The Hexa measures 4,764mm in length, 1,895mm in length and 1,780mm in height. The vehicle has a long wheelbase of 2,850mm.
Coming to the sides, the newly designed 19-inch alloy wheels can be seen. Though the overall design is similar to the Aria, the Hexa gets a sporty design language which is continued at the rear as well. The rear bumper, with dual exhaust tips, gets a dual-tone paint scheme with a new shape for the reflectors. The tail lamps are horizontal and come with LED units. A new spoiler can also be seen at the back.
Tata Hexa Gearbox
The Hexa is the first model after the latest iteration of the Safari to use Tata’s new Varicor400 engine. This unit’s 2,179cc makes a healthy 156hp and 400Nm (hence the ‘400’ in the engine name), but the figures are not so impressive when you account for the fact that the motor also has to lug 2.2-tonnes plus. The engine can be had mated to a new six-speed manual gearbox offered in 4×2 and 4×4 versions, as well as with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power solely to the rear axle.It was the latter we sampled first and it immediately impressed us. The engine is surprisingly responsive and has a nice, linear spread of power, pulling cleanly from about 1,500rpm. There’s no spiky mid-range surge, just a mild swell of torque across a very broad rpm band. Automatic gearshifts are quick, smooth and very fluid and it makes the most of the Hexa’s performance. In fact, the automatic is substantially quicker than the manual and a 0-100kph time of 12.71 seconds for such a behemoth is pretty respectable.
If there is one niggle, its that auto transmission is overly eager to drop a gear or two with even a gentle flex of your right foot, only to have the system upshift to the original ratio shortly after. The Punch-sourced ’box also offers a Sport mode where the system only upshifts at the redline and you also have the option to shift manually using the gear lever itself, and it must be said the gearbox is quick to respond. Before you think otherwise, the Hexa isn’t a sporty car but it’s nice that the gearbox has provisions to make the driving experience more involving. Where the Hexa auto feels its best is cruising out on the highway, when the sufficient power and good engine refinement come into play.After the automatic, the manual Hexa turned out to be a let down and isn’t half as nice to drive as the auto. The issues, really, are centred around the gearbox and clutch. The six-speed manual has long throws and the gearshifts are rubbery. What makes matters worse is that the clutch action is not progressive making it hard to modulate at slow speeds.
The all-wheel-drive-equipped Hexa offers four drive modes that can be selected via a rotary controller at the base of the centre console. The modes, namely Comfort, Dynamic, Rough and Auto have different settings for the engine, all-wheel- drive system and related electronics.
Tata Hexa Driving
Hexa will impress on an off-road course. The Hexa’s all-wheel-drive system is latently rear-biased but will send power to the front axle when it senses a loss of grip. There’s hill descent control too. The safety suite too is very comprehensive and includes six airbags and ESP with rollover mitigation.The Hexa is a large vehicle and feels its size in tight city confines. The steering calls for much effort at low speeds and U-turns are pretty cumbersome. The wooden-feeling brakes too don’t inspire confidence and there’s always the sense that the Hexa’s weight will overwhelm the all-round disc brakes. However, we repeatedly simulated a panic-stop braking from 80kph to standstill, and each time the Hexa came to a halt without any drama.
The one area where the Hexa outshines the competition is in ride comfort. The Hexa is the first Tata car to use variable rate dampers and, coupled with the 19-inch wheels, the result is really good. The tyres just bulldoze over small potholes while the suspension happily (read quietly) soaks up any road shock to isolate the passengers. There’s no doubt that the Hexa is easily the best riding vehicle in its segment.
Tata Hexa Safety
Hexa features disc brakes on all four wheels as standard with a couple of secondary braking systems in the form of Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) at the helm as well.In addition, there is an array of premium safety features offered with the Hexa in the form of six airbags, Corner Stability Control (CSC), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Roll-over Mitigation, Traction Control System, Hill Hold Control (HHC), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Hydraulic Brake Assist, etc., to name a few.
Tata Hexa Ex-Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 11,73,115/- (Hexa XE) to 17,05,289/- (Hexa XT 4X4). Get best offers for Tata Hexa from Tata Dealers in New Delhi. Check for Hexa Price in New Delhi at Carzprice
Tata Hexa Conclusuion
Has Tata done enough with the Hexa to let it succeed? We think so as this car has everything expected from a vehicle in the segment. It lacks things like keyless start, proper front storage spaces and is quite massive in terms of length- an issue that will pop up for parking space starved city dwellers. But on the positive side the feature list is comprehensive; it is quite spacious, has solid road presence and will let you go to most places without thinking twice. For the Hexa to now completely succeed Tata must price it in such a way that it undercuts its main rival- the Mahindra XUV500 variant-for-variant. Given the price range that we believe it will exist in, the Hexa is also a competitor for the range of D-segment sedans.Tags: Tata