Tata Hexa (Experience Drive)- First impressions - GaadiKey

Tata Hexa (Experience Drive)- First impressions

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Tata is all set to launch the much awaited Hexa. Based on the Tata Aria’s platform, Hexa falls under the premium SUV segment, which is the first from Tata. Tata Hexa will rival the mighty Mahindra XUV 500 and also the Toyota Innova Crysta upto an extent. Expected to be launched in January 2017, Tata is going around the country conducting ‘Tata Hexa Experience Drive‘ events where interested people can come and test the Hexa in every way.

Tata had set up an off-road track which included a 40 degree incline, logs to drive on, 30 degree uphill and downhill setup and a whole lot more to push the Hexa to the maximum. The indoor included a pet-friendly zone, a Christmas theme play area for kids, and food courts. But our attention was entirely outdoor and I couldn’t wait to drive the Tata Hexa on the off-road track Tata had set up for us.

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Exteriors and Interiors

Tata Hexa looks big from the outside. DRL’s above the fog lamp setup shows Tata is keeping up with the trend of day time lights. Thick chrome underlined grille with the Tata logo in the middle looks fantastic. The mean looking projector lamps are swept back giving it a premium look. Front bumper is neatly designed with honeycomb air dams and dull silver scuff plates. Tata has put in right amount of chrome and with its contoured bonnet, the design surely stands out from the rest.

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Come to the side and you see a neatly designed roof-line with large windows which gives you a feeling of a big, spacious SUV.  Plastic cladding on the lower part of the Hexa continues along the wheel arches to the rear. It also gets a thick chrome outline along the wheel arches. Come to the rear and the Hexa feels dull. I’m not a great fan of how the Hexa looks from the rear. Although, it gets chrome plated twin exhausts, dull silver scuff plates and a thick chrome lining in the middle which houses the Tata logo. Hexa also gets LED tail-lamps and an integrated roof spoiler.

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The Hexa gets an all leather dashboard with leather seats and leather covered steering wheel. Chrome outline on the gear lever knob, around the drive mode selection knob and around the touchscreen infotainment system adds up to the chrome seen on the interior. Steering wheel gets dull silver spokes with controls mounted on them.

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The seats feel comfortable and nice with good thigh support and enough leg room for a fully grown adult. Third row comfort is good for a short person while tall people will feel uncomfortable after a 20 minute drive. I could find three 12V charging sockets in the Hexa, and AC vents for the second and third row passengers as well.

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Engine and Features

Tata Hexa comes with two engines, 2.2 litre Varicor 320 and the 2.2 litre Varicor 400. We got to drive the Varicor 400 engine which is the most powerful engine from Tata yet. XT model comes with a six-speed manual transmission with 4×4 drive system. A six speed automatic is also on offer. The varicor 400 produces 154 bhp and 400 Nm of torque.

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Features are a lot in the Tata Hexa. It gets a lot of features like the ABS with EBD, hill hold and hill descent control, traction control, front dual airbags as standard and drive selection modes. You can select between automatic, comfort, dynamic and rough road mode. We didn’t get to test the infotainment system and all that will be detailed in our road test review.

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Drive Experience

We were first made to sit in the Hexa and an expert nicely explained to us about the Hexa and what it can do. Impressed what we heard, it was time to experience the Hexa as passengers first. There were a set of obstacles the Hexa had to go through to pass this test using all the features and drive modes this comes equipped with. First were a set of ramps set up to test the traction control and the Hexa passed it without breaking a sweat. We then moved on to driving the Hexa over small bumps followed by a ramp with rollers on the left side and a plain ramp on the right. Moving on, we gad a set of uneven logs the Hexa had to drive on to prove to us its reliability.

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Then came the hill climb and a hill descent ramp which was set up to showcase to us what the hill climb and the hill descent control could do on the Hexa. Quite impressed with how the Hexa handled all of these, the expert took us through the 40 degree incline to show how good the Hexa holds up. Clearing all these tests on a high, the Hexa had to go through the easiest test of them all and drive through a lake of slushy water which it did effortlessly. It was then my turn to put the Hexa through all of this once again and unlike the expert driving perfectly using all the features to get the best out of the Hexa, i tried to do a few things differently to see what the Hexa could do. Like switching from rough road mode to automatic mode to climb the ramps and drive over the rollers. Of course the rough road mode does it the best way, automatic wasn’t bad either.

 

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Price expectations

Impressed with how good the Hexa performed on the track setup by Tata, it was time to start estimating the price Tata would put on this big SUV. Pricing the Hexa is the most important test Tata has to pass. Rivaling the Mahindra XUV 500, Tata Hexa is expected to be priced between 13-19 lakh rupees range and if and only if Tata prices this below 13 lakh rupees, its gonna be a bet no manufacturer can match.

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Author: Nikhil Thorvat

Queries? Hit me at, nikhilthorvat@gaadikey.com

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