Tata Hexa Facelift Review & First Drive

Tata Hexa Overview

The Hexa is going to take on the rivals Mahindra XUV500 and Toyota Innova Crysta. With most of the right boxes ticked, Hexa has the potential to be the flag bearer in Tata’s clan. Tata Motors has paid attention to every detail by getting the right mix of features and engine set up capable of returning stellar performance. That said it shares mechanicals with Safari Storme and gets the same 2.2 litre VARICOR oil burner putting out 156bhp. Power is transmitted by a six-speed auto or manual unit directing power to rear wheels and the all-wheel drivetrain is available on the XMA and XTA variants.Request a test drive for Hexa in Tryaldrive

Check for Tata Hexa On Road Price in Pune

Tata Hexa Exterior & Style

That’s not entirely wrong — nestled in the thoroughly restyled exterior is a similar headlamp shape and side profile to the erstwhile Tata Aria. A glance at the spec sheet shows that it shares the same wheelbase, which reminds that the Hexa is based on an upgraded Aria chassis. Why? Tata needed to get a fresh product out quickly, and developing a new platform from ground up would simply take too much time. Thus, the Hexa.

Despite the familiar silhouette, the Hexa is a handsome machine. The new upright bonnet line above the grille is a concept taken from the Land/Range Rovers and adds a lot of character as do the flat surfaces on the top of the new projector headlamps. Big air dams in the bumper housing both daytime running lamps and fog lamps add to the butch theme. Tata has tastefully injected some character into the side profile with a couple of kinks in the rear window line, and I really like the new tail lamps with those cool LED accent lights. Going with the new design are a set of giant 19-inch wheels, the biggest ever seen on an India-made car! The wheels are wrapped in MRF Wanderer S/L tyres that have been specifically made for the Hexa. While they look great, bear in mind that such large tyres will probably be quite expensive to replace.

Tata Hexa Interior & Space

Let’s take this from the back. Lift open the tail gate, even with the third row up, you have 129 litres of luggage space in the Hexa. That is good enough for a short weekend trip. However, if you flip the third row down (they won’t fold flat), you probably get enough space to pack for a round-the-world voyage. But the biggest benefit of the size is for the passengers. Tata offers a bench seat version of the Hexa, however it is the six-seater that is the one in focus. Tata Motors, shared that it was the captain seat equipped six-seater version that gave rise to the Hexa name. Sitting on those seats, the sense of space is evident, as you can slide them to liberate enough room for even the tallest passengers. Passengers will be able to spend long hours in these seats without complaint as they are well contoured, although larger passengers would have preferred a bit more width. As before, there are B-pillar-mounted air-con vents aside from a floor-mounted console and there are manually operated sun-blinds, too.

The surprise though has to be the third row, which is genuinely usable even for full-grown adults. Tata Motors say they have made changes to the floor pan to help improve the usability of the third row. While you still sit a little knees up and the roof not too far off, this would be one of the most usable third row seats we have sat in. Jump straight into the front and you are greeted by a whole load of technology and design, but there is a sense of familiarity. The dashboard top design is the same as the Aria and it packs two gloveboxes as well. However, the centre console is completely redesigned. It wears a handsome look and the way the 5-inch infotainment system sits recessed reminds us of the Hexa’s English cousins. The system offers new features that allow passengers to collaborate to create playlists, or to use their mobile phones as remote controls for the infotainment system.

Tata Hexa Engine & Gearbox

Tata offers one engine, the Varicor400. This is the same diesel that debuted in the Tata Safari Storme, and it produces the same 156PS and 400Nm. Tata says it has worked on refinement, and the engine is noticeably smoother than the Aria’s. The slow-revving diesel still hasn’t reached Hyundai levels of refinement, but it’s a clear step ahead. Despite the big numbers, this car will not set any acceleration records thanks to the hefty near 2.3-tonne kerb weight on the top-end automatic variant. That said, it is an effortless highway cruiser, reaching 140kmph easily and with enough poke to go even further.However, what really impresses is the new 6-speed automatic gearbox. Being Tata’s first automatic, not counting the Zest AMT, the company wisely reached out to a specialist. The 6-speed torque converter from Belgian-brand Punch Powertrain impresses with smooth responses and feels perfectly tuned to the nature of the vehicle. If you want quicker responses, there’s a Sport mode that keeps the engine in the right gear and offers as quick responses as anyone could ever need in a vehicle like this. A manual mode is also available for more control off-road. At no point does the gearbox feel cut-price or frustrating and is by far the better driving experience.

The 6-speed manual is a familiar unit with its long throws, mildly rubbery feel and tendency to miss shifts if used in a hurry. Clutch action is reasonably light, but the whole driving experience is average compared to the auto. However, the manual offers two big advantages. First, we have been given to believe that the all-wheel drive system will initially be offered only with the manual gearbox. Second, the Super Drive Modes that Tata has been pushing hard in its promotions will also be solely available in the manual. We’ll talk more about that in the next section.

Tata Hexa Ride & Handling

The Hexa’s sheer weight does come into play when you drive the car and it does seem to take a lot more effort as compared to most of its peers. At standstill, the power assisted steering does feel a little heavy and this could be a problem when it comes to parking it in tight spots. Get it going though and the steering effort becomes much better and the steering weighs up just enough at higher speeds to make it easier to drive. The 19-inch wheels seem to have dramatically altered the way the car drives in terms of overall handling and the Hexa feels a lot less vague as compared to the Aria or even the Safari Storme. And now we come to what is possibly the cherry on the cake – ride quality.

The Hexa’s sheer ride comfort is very impressive and although there is a hint of bumpiness at low speeds, get the SUV above 50-60kmph and it glides over bumps and potholes like it doesn’t exist. The Hexa is stiff enough to handle the several roads obstacles that all our Indian streets have and yet pliant enough to feel very planted at high speeds. That said, there is some noticeable body roll when you take a corner at higher speeds. We do have a bit of concern with the pedal feel that the brakes offer. Yes, the Hexa does get disc brakes on all four corners and the SUV will brake efficiently when you slam on the brakes, but at slower speeds, pedal feedback is lacking and could do with a bit faster response.

Tata Hexa Braking & Safety

The Hexa is loaded with equipment, and the 10-speaker JBL system is a highlight. It has been fine-tuned to suit the Aria’s cabin over 1000 hours! Another nice touch is the colour screen that sits nestled between the driver’s instruments. While we didn’t get a chance to try it, the Hexa has 8-colour mood lighting. More importantly, the Hexa packs six airbags, ABS, ESP and traction control. In terms of quality, the Hexa still uses many hard and tough plastics, but the real grouse is that there are still a few niggles, like ill-fitting plastics that detract from the in-cabin experience.

Tata Hexa Price in Bangalore

Tata Hexa Ex-Showroom Price in Bangalore ranges from 11,85,984/- (Hexa XE) to 17,31,985/- (Hexa XT 4X4). Get best offers for Tata Hexa from Tata Dealers in Bangalore. Check for Hexa price in Bangalore at Carzprice

Tata Hexa Bottomline

The Hexa is a big improvement over the Aria, big enough to justify Tata’s claims of it being a brand-new car. Despite some grey areas (sorry, couldn’t help myself there!), build quality is at a new height for the brand, and the maturing design direction shows great promise for how Tata’s next-generation vehicles will appear. The features list is comprehensive and the driving experience is quite nice as well. In that sense, while not a revolutionary new product, it is now better equipped to take on competition like the Mahindra XUV500. The big question, of course, is whether it can stand up to the Innova Crysta, which is an absolute beast of a rival. The highly priced Crysta is already a big success, partly as it’s an impressive vehicle, but mainly because it was birthed on its predecessor’s incredibly strong image for quality, durability and resale value.

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