If you have been following our blog for some time now, you might know how much we love road trips. Like all journeys, a companion is the most important factor of road trips and who better than your car. We do love our Honda City which has been our constant companion for more than a year now and on so many road trips but at times there are some places where our Honda City struggles like anything. I still remember our trip to Galibore where we had to struggle to cross a stream and a steep uphill climb. However, an SUV comes to the rescue in such adventurous road trips and especially in India and having a great companion like your car is always an icing on the cake on any road trip.
No doubt when we were invited to the Tata Hexa pre-launch event we were more than happy to review and share our experience with you all. If you too love road trips and are planning to buy a car which caters to all your needs — group trips, family trips, adventurous outings or just languorous road trips. I think all your queries have been heard.
Tata Motors proudly presents the new Tata Hexa which has got everything you want and much more. The specifications and features of the car will sound heavily influenced from the Jaguar Land Rover but the latest addition from the house of Tata Motors looks like a beast on the roads and is surely going to give a tough competition to the SUVs around.
We had the pleasure of driving the Tata Hexa last week for more than 170 km in an event organized by Indiblogger and Tata Motors.
Indiblogger Event – #HexaExperience
The event was co-hosted by Indiblogger and Tata Motors at Novotel Airport Hotel at Hyderabad on the 22nd and 23rd October 2016. The two-day event saw 60 bloggers from across the country flying to Hyderabad for the pre-launch, driving both the variants and photographing every inch of the car.
Day 1 of the event had us glued to the presentation by Tata Motors executives about the car – from the key design features of the car to its capabilities both on road and off road. Day 2 of the event saw us drive and experience both the Automatic and Manual variants of the car. The best part of this event was that we were able to drive the car for a good distance (about 180 km ) and on different road conditions which helped in the gauging the capabilities and features of the car.
Ahh before I forget, Day 1 of the event also had a stand-up comedy session by Biswa Kalyan Rath. 🙂
About Tata Hexa
The car has been conceptualized and designed in the design studios of Tata Motors in the UK, Italy, and India. The car follows the same design principles of Impact Design which we first saw in the Tiago.
The diesel powered car comes in both Automatic and Manual variants. The car is powered by 2.2-litre engine 156 PS(XT and XM), 150 (XE). Both the automatic and manual variants sport a six-speed transmission. The car comes loaded with the regular safety features like ABS, EBD(Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), Electronic Brake Pre-Fill, Traction Control System. The Traction Control System comes into play when you drive on wet or slippery roads, the power to each wheel is adjusted by the car to ensure a smooth maneuver. As much as 90% of the power can be transmitted to the rear wheels. All these features of the car, from the fuel injection to the driving are controlled by 18 microprocessors to give you the ultimate driving experience. Electronic Brake Pre-Fill helps in stopping the car at a shorter distance while speeding (absolutely a boon for driving on Indian Highways). The car also comes with six airbags in the top end variant.
The wheelbase of the car is 2850 mm and the ground clearance is at 200 mm. The broad wheelbase makes it easy to steer and navigate and keeps the car stable.
Tata Hexa – Exteriors
As I have already stated that the car is based on the Impact Design concept, what it means is the car looks very masculine and powerful. As the ground clearance is amazing, it feels like you are in a commanding position while driving the car.
The first thing that you notice when you look at the car is the subtle black honeycomb grille on the front of the car. The car has huge 19-inch alloy wheels which are a first in the Indian market and is an absolute beauty to look at. The car sports Daytime Running Lights, Smoked Projector Headlamps, flexible OLED wraparound Tail Lamps (another first in India). The bumpers of the car come in twin colors which are easy on the eyes. The car comes in variants of blue, silver and gray colors. Unfortunately no red. 🙁 I was told by one of the Tata Executives that the car would look bulkier… hmm 😉 never thought that color can be so effective to the visual appeal.
Tata Hexa – Interiors
The interior of the car is quite upmarket and the moment you step in you get a feel of luxury in terms of space and features. The car is spacious, airy and the use of different shades of gray and black for the interiors gives it a minimalistic and a luxurious look. The car can accommodate either 6 or 7 people and the seats have a leather finish.
The driver’s seat is adjustable four ways making it easier for people to adjust the seating to their height and comfort. The entertainment system is made by Harman and there are 10 JBL speakers which have been used in the car.
The dashboard has a LED screen which is a touchscreen. The touchscreen allows you to control the features of the car also use it as a navigation system. There are 4 apps – Juke Connect, Smart Manual, Smart Remote and Navi Maps Apps that can be used in the car.
- Juke Connect – As the name suggests, you can sync your smartphone and stream your playlist
- Navi Maps Apps – The navigation system of the car works even when there is no cellphone connectivity.
- Smart Remote – Your smartphone can be used to control some of the features of the car like ambient lighting, music player, etc
- Smart Manual – The manual for the car in the form of an interactive app.
There is an illuminated Chiller compartment right above the glove box on the front passenger seat of the car, to keep your drinks cold during those long drives. The rear windows of the car have built-in window blinds. The car has a good boot space and also the rear seats can be folded to create extra space.
The shift for both the Automatic and the Manual variants of the car is relatively small and has short throws making it easier on the driver’s hands. If you want you can also purchase a HUD (Heads Up Display) which has been specially built for this car. The HUD projects speed, rpm, tyre pressure onto a small piece of glass above the steering. You do not have to look down to the speedometer to check the speed.
The car comes with climate control and twin air conditioners. The twin air conditioners provide an effective, efficient and uniform cooling throughout the car. Overall the interiors of the car are very comfortable with the state of the art entertainment and navigation system.
Tata Hexa — The Drive ( Automatic & Manual Variant )
We started at 6:30 AM in the morning from the hotel in the automatic variant of the car. I had never driven an automatic car before but it took hardly a minute to get used to one. There are four driving modes in both the variants car :-
- Comfort – The most fuel efficient mode, mostly for driving on highways
- Auto – The car decides what’s the best combination for the drive. A good balance is maintained between economy and power.
- Dynamic – This mode lets you take a greater control of the car and is for experienced drivers only.
- Rough Road – This is the mode in which the 4X4 mode kicks in to give you that extra power for navigating difficult terrain.
In no time we touched speeds of 160 kph on the highway using the dynamic mode. It was easy to navigate the car and the steering was easy to maneuver. There is a nifty little addictive feature called the RaceAway mode in the automatic variant, it kicks in when you leave the accelerator and press it again immediately. This is when the engine opens up completely and a lot more power is delivered to the car, the car thinks that you are trying to run away from something or someone and adds more power. The sound of the engine changes completely and it revs vigorously. Surprisingly for a diesel engine, the car was not noisy and there was no lag in power transmission during the gear change in the automatic. We deliberately drove the car on potholes and ditches and the suspension proved its worth, even in the rear seat jerks were not noticeable.
After driving for about 80 km we switched over to the manual variant. There are some subtle differences in the car and the driving experience when driving the manual. The manual variant is a bit noisy as compared to the Automatic but not so much as to disturb you. The four driving modes are engaged by turning a rotary knob placed on the car dashboard (It’s engaged by flicking the shift in the automatic). The only difference that I felt was the feedback from the clutch, the power first peaks and then falls, unlike other clutches. This change in the feedback from the clutch is because the car handles 4000 Nm of torque and to keep the pressure on the leg at a constant 8 – 10 kgs. Even after driving for about 70 km in the manual it felt as if I had driven for only 15 – 20 km.
The four driving modes are engaged by turning a rotary knob placed on the car dashboard (It is engaged by flicking the shift in the automatic). The only difference that I felt was the feedback from the clutch, the power first peaks and then falls, unlike other clutches. This change in the feedback from the clutch is because the car handles 4000 Nm of torque and to keep the pressure on the leg at a constant 8 – 10 kgs. Even after driving for about 70 km in the manual it didn’t feel tiring.
Tata Hexa — Off Roading Experience
There was an off-roading track created behind the hotel to show us the features of the car. We were not allowed to drive the car here, considering it was a dangerous track, so they had professionals driving the car.
Some of the features that we saw were :-
- Hill Climb Mode – A very useful feature while driving uphill, if the engine stops, the car would stop for 3 seconds and would not move back.
- Hill Descent Mode – In this mode while going downhill, you just need to control the steering, rest everything is done by the car from stopping to moving.
- Traction Control – The car was driven on a slab of ice in a slant and was able to navigate the terrain easily. So no more skidding on ice for those Leh – Ladakh enthusiasts.
- Electronic Brake Pre-Fill – The car was sped to 100 kph and then stopped suddenly, because of the EBPF, the jerk was less and the car stopped withing 10 yards.
Tata Hexa — Final Verdict
The car definitely ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to high-end SUV and going by the buzz it is generating, it surely seems to be the crown jewel for Tata Motors. We all have to wait till Jan 2017 to know the exact pricing.
I personally had an amazing experience driving this beast. The designers have given equal importance to power and safety of the vehicle. The car does very well on both — highways and potholed city roads. You have a feel of being in a commanding position while driving this vehicle and the only words that comes to my mind for Tata Hexa are – Exquisite and Powerful.
I was a little disappointed to learn that none of the variants sported a sunroof. Given the top end features that this car has I would definitely want to have it during the road trips that we undertake.
You can read more about the car : HERE
PS : I was invited by the Tata Motors and Indiblogger for the pre-launch media event at Hyderabad.
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