Tata Hexa Review & Pictures: Herculean Hexa


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Tata Hexa Review Synopsis:
  • Tata Hexa price tag starts at Rs.10.95 Lakhs. It officially launched in India on January 18, 2017.
  • Hexa is equipped with a 2.2L diesel motor with a choice of manual (also 4x4) and automatic gearbox.
  • This engine is available in two states of tune: 150 PS / 320 Nm torque or 156 PS / 400 Nm (14.4 Kmpl).
  • The AT receives only VARICOR 400 trim with power figures similar to that of MT. Its ARAI mileage: 11 Kmpl.
  • Mouth watering price (particularly post GST), sublime ride quality, decent interiors are amongst the top USPs of Hexa.
Jump To:
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548231"]Tata Hexa: Introduction[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548232"]Tata Hexa: Exteriors Design[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548233"]Tata Hexa: Front Interior Design[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548234"]Tata Hexa: Mid Row Interior Design[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548236"]Tata Hexa: Third Row Interior Design[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548247"]Tata Hexa: Manual Engine Performance[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548251"]Tata Hexa: Super Drive Modes Explained[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548237"]Tata Hexa: Automatic Engine Performance[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548248"]Tata Hexa: NVH, Ride, Handling and Braking[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548252"]Tata Hexa: Miscellaneous Points & Observations[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548253"]Tata Hexa: You'll Love, You'll Loathe & Star Ratings[/iurl]
  • [iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548276"]Tata Hexa: Price, Specifications, Comparison & Brochure[/iurl]
 
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Tata Hexa: Introduction


Back in 2010, Tata Motors made a genuine attempt to make its mark in the premium utility segment with an entirely new “crossover” concept called the Aria. Priced steeply at over Rs.14 Lakh (on-road, Delhi), it ended up as a sales dud, despite being a worthy product. But as they say, first impression is the last impression. The brand later offered price cuts, facelifts and what not with hope of revival but Aria struggled to pick itself up. However, at the same time, the evergreen Toyota Innova continued to enjoy tremendous success and so did the Mahindra XUV500. That said, we still love Tata Motors for persistence and continuous strive for improvement.

Under the expert guidance of design chief, Mr.Pratap Bose, the team headed back to drawing board with an Aria, applied "IMPACT" design philosophy on it, made several changes in and out, and finally returned back with a new product named Hexa. Mind you, we believe that it’s the next generation Aria and so does the majority. But Tata Motors; they aren’t just ready to even think of the Aria when it comes to Hexa. After a wait of seven long years, Tata has finally got a true flagship model which can proudly sit above the Safari and is well-received by the market too. The amusing fact though is that Hexa, inspite of being a better version of Aria and going by all the inflation in market, is still priced lesser than where Aria started 7 years ago, and the new GST implementation has further sweetened the already sweet deal. Going by our policy of reviewing medium to high mileage media cars to provide the readers closest to real ownership reviews, we spent over 1,000 kilometers with Hexa media test car which had been through some serious beating previously. Here’s presenting our take on it. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
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Tata Hexa: Exteriors Design



Front Profile
Sophisticated, stylish and premium are some of the adjectives that strike you the moment you see Hexa approaching from onward. Call it anything but it’s certainly not “butch” and not as intimidating as a Mahindra Scorpio or XUV500. You should be considering Hexa if an understated and timeless design is what you seek. When parked next to an Toyota Innova Crysta, the Hexa simply makes it look like a Chinese design. Anyways, Tata Hexa is an Aria that has undergone a major makeover in and out. The Aria was a good car whose price bombed; Hexa is a better car which is gradually gaining the momentum (look at July figures, after GST made it super VFM). Tata Motors insists that it’s an all-new car and thankfully it comes at an all-new price as well. Just think, can you name a single car model whose facelift is far superior to its predecessor yet it’s still priced lesser than what it was almost a decade ago?

Back to the design, so you look at the front and that’s when you make out that it’s actually a more MPV’ish design with some tinge of muscle. While the Aria felt more of a mutated Vista (more so with those Christmas tree taillamps), Hexa, on the other hand, actually feels way more SUVish. The new ‘IMPACT’ design language prominently shows its effect. Round sections have given way to a more upright front with edgy sections. The bonnet is now more sculpted, the grille is more upright and the headlamps just look way meaner. Large air dam and tastefully designed fog lamps with integrated DRLs add more to the party trick. BTW those DRLs are worth the buck since they provide a sense of premiumness compared to E and M trims which don’t get the DRLs (headlamp integrated DRLs are too mainstream after all). I personally love the strong creases on the bumper and the smoke effect on headlamps coupled with piano black finish front grille. On a side note, I spotted a white Tata Hexa with all chrome bits concealed in matte black (including black alloys) and it was a sure shot looker. You bet.

So is it a pakka SUV? Absolutely not. The bonnet as well as front windshield angles, both when brought together, very loudly shout the word MPV. Flared wheel arches, meaner headlamps etc. all just add to the muscle, else there is no running from the fact that the design is that of a typical MPV, albeit a very decent looking one. The butterfly wipers look pleasing but Tata could have concealed them. Presently they stick out like a sore thumb. Same goes for the windscreen washer nozzles. Paying attention to minor details like these helps the car look more premium. An engineer from the company told us that they had to keep wipers high so that butterfly function could work well. There you are caught darling, check the ones on Honda Civic. Pivoting point and the selection of el-cheapo looking blades makes it look that bad. The ORVMs are a direct lift from Aria. They’re wide and offer a good rear view but look bit out of place.



Side Profile
A quick glance at the side profile immediately reveals Hexa’s connection with Aria. Save for some drama that the designers have incorporated to differentiate it from the latter (in which they’ve miserably failed), the silhouette is left unchanged. Personally I know some people who were impressed with Hexa’s front and rear but upon looking at its side profile, they immediately exclaimed it to be an Aria. Let’s get one thing straight. The Hexa is a full-sized MPV and the side view gives it a feeling of being larger and tougher to drive than it actually is. It appears proportionate with a short hood and huge cabin with a large glass area. Any longer hood would have made it look worse. All in all, the dimensions and proportions of this car won’t offend many and the design is on a subtler side.

There are several design cues borrowed from its predecessor. But it’s primarily the beefy plastic cladding at the lower-end of car along with black D-Pillars, which help to distinguish the identities of both the generation models. Apart from it, some bits like stunning 19” alloys, more upright hood and front grille, wrap around taillamps etc add a lot to the feel good factor. The XL dimensions of Hexa make even the 19” alloys look just right and not oversized at all. I’m against 19” tyres though. Driving them under-inflated can be a risky affair if you end up hitting a bad patch (refer to ride & handling section of this review for my story). Short overhangs add to masculine factor and obviously translate into better approach and departure angles.



Rear Profile
If the front managed to impress us, it’s rear that blew us off our feet. Even though it’s a matter of personal choice and taste, but I believe that Hexa has one of the best looking rear designs out in the market. I’ve seen people comparing it to anything from a Hyundai to an Audi. The well-sized rear glass, which offers a decent IRVM visibility unlike Toyota Innova and Mahindra XUV500, the wrap-around taillamps with LEDs, meaty rear bumper coupled with twin exhausts and oodles of chrome. Just get a Hexa and swap the chrome with matte black and you’ve a very mean yet stunning looking MPV ready for you. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
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Tata Hexa: Front Interior Design


I don’t lie when I say that the moment I decided to get in, I was in search of a request sensor on the door handle. There comes the first glaring omission: no smart key. You get a key which looks, feels and even weighs exactly as much as of a Tiago. Let me cut your five points for this, Tata. In times when the competition offers this new age “must-have-for-top-end” feature, you’ve made a mistake by omitting it in a car on this side of million rupees. Anyways I pressed the unlock button and I was again somewhat letdown. I like to hear a precise click of door locks opening, it’s not so in Hexa. Just a minor sound and it’s open. The door handles don’t feel solid although they’re pretty durable. BTW the ones on our test car had rust on them. I expected the doors to be heavy. So I applied the force like in a Ford EcoSport and the door was wide open. I shut it and open again, just to discover it isn’t built like that of a vault. It just weighs a bit heavy (maybe because it is big and it is a Tata) and build felt reasonable. How it is reasonable? Well, the car was very very badly beaten up at over 17,000 journalist-driven harsh kilometers, but there were very few rattles, that also far apart (I remember that my Toyota Fortuner media car had rattles and so did Innova Crysta, both had done under 5,000 Kms). Getting back to the point, the front doors open in a triple stage action and if you are on a ramp, then they barely manage to hold themselves and end up closing mostly. I close the door and there is a reasonable thud but nowhere close to Europeans, and that’s when I experience the interior ambience.

Front Cabin
My first points of contact with Hexa were steering wheel, driver’s seat, instruments and door pad. So let me start with them. One look at the steering wheel and you know that you have seen something similar in Tiago, bad thing? Nope. Except the horn and LHS buttons, everything else is different and feels premium. The leather coated steering wheel is chunky and good to hold and tight to operate. You don’t get a reach adjustment so it’s all on your seat arrangement to get to a comfortable position. Better part is that, finding the comfortable driving position is quite easy and worse part is that everything feels to be set a bit too low for my liking, steering, dash, ORVMs everything. Alas, but then I was enjoying a brilliant all round visibility at the same time. The steering wheel is nice to hold and the front seats are just brilliant, no two ways about it.


Tata Motors claims to have used innovative foam in these seats. The seats are sourced from premium manufacturers, well, that is easily noticeable. The seats are really very accommodating and comfortable; they get adjustable lumbar support too, but the near perfect positioning of hip point made them super comfortable for my medium build frame, which I never had to adjust the lumbar support. Making the things even better is that they are set a bit high and dash is set a bit low, so you get a brilliant all round visibility, but you have steering wheel at time bruise against your thighs until the seat is set all the way down and pushed a bit back (that you barely are able to press the clutch fully). Door pad is nice and so is door armrest, it is placed right and offers decent level of cushion for the arm (I love door armrest of S-Cross BTW) but I can’t say the same for the front middle armrest. Until you are a super laid back driver with really long arms, this armrest is nearly useless for you. I would have happily lived with a handbrake like that of Qualis or old Ford Endeavour, but this compromise on armrest design for the handbrake adjustment is just not pardonable. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
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Tata Hexa: Mid-Row Interior Design



Dashboard Design
The dashboard design, I must admit, is the best ever seen in a Tata car yet (even though it has a few panel gaps). The day I sat in a Hexa for the first time, it was me, a friend who owns Toyota Innova Crysta and a couple of more folks. We hopped out of Crysta and right inside Hexa, the first feeling we all got inside the Hexa was of ‘heaviness’. Before going into deeper details, I can say that the Hexa feels heavy and SUVish when seen from inside, it has that typical old school air about it, it just feels like a true blue old school functional and heavy interior. The upper dashboard is made of soft touch material and lower is hard plastic. It’s all black and after having seen the beige interiors of Aria, I am happy that Tata didn’t offer beige here. The quality of plastics is decent and so is the fit and finish, except the glovebox shut lines. I’m yet to find a single Hexa which has its lower glovebox shut line perfectly tight and even. That said, overall dashboard layout, design and material quality is acceptable.

What I particularly liked is the design of center console, and the mode selector switch in the manual variants, it just looks too mean to ignore. The instruments are clear and legit. The white illumination makes everything bliss at night. The air conditioner vents surrounding finish, in their darkened brushed aluminum finish do look and feel very good. Only grouse is the small touch screen ICE which simply looks out of place on the XL sized center console. Driver footwell, like any Tata car is smaller than the competition, while the automatic versions get the dead pedal, the manual one doesn’t get even that too, not even any contraption stuck to the floor. Oh yes, if you put your foot on the dead pedal, then you can feel the heat on your foot at the top end near the fingers, seeping in from engine. I observed this thoroughly in every single Hexa I drove, wear floaters and you too can feel it easily and there is a good amount of heat to make your foot uncomfortable. Pedals are overall placed quite well, though a bit high and they aren’t as much offset as in previous Tata cars.



Middle Row
The rear door opens in two stage action and is of acceptable build and heft. What you first notice is an easy ingress and egress, unlike the SUVs, you get the seats placed at a bit more convenient height, having a footboard just makes the life easier. The wide opening rear door and the decent amount of space between the B-Pillar and the seat make sure that you remain comfortable while getting in our out. Now the seats, I can bet that the bench seat is simply the best in business in this segment (though captain seats of Crysta felt better to me). I have read at many places that the middle row of the XUV500 feels better. Hence I went to drive an XUV and then Hexa and repeated this thrice. Finally I can say that XUV has got a contoured rear seat and lighter interior, but if you want a bench in which you can recline and sleep (I’m a bench guy because I believe in sleeping like an animal, therefore no captain seats for me) with a thick armrest open, then it’s the bench of Hexa which is best one to be in, on this side of Rs.50 Lakh.

Speaking about captain seats, they are same units as on the front and are equipped with lumbar support adjustment too. Now that makes them better than those of Toyota Crysta by half a point. Hip point and thigh support is just spot on and the shape of the backrest is simply brilliant, good enough that coupled to the brilliant ride of Hexa, this seat will never get you tired, even if you travel for entire day. The bench on the other hand is for chauffeur driven lazy bums like me, who just want to sleep in the middle row and want entire middle row for them. An aspect I thank Tata for is not giving AC vents on the roof; they are the reason for headache for me in nearly every journey. The AC vents in center and B-Pillars do blow enough cold air to chill totally and since there is no roof mounted blower, that means nobody can blow cold air directly at your head, hence more comfort and no headache. Hexa gets 5 points over the Crysta in this department. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
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Tata Hexa: 3rd-Row Interior Design



Third Row
The third row is favorite of all reviewers. Why it shouldn’t be? After all, no matter how well the first two rows are designed, this part is easiest to find fault. I tumble captain seats with high hopes and aha, what a sense of happiness. The engineers at Tata truly needed to work on this area. I ain’t kidding. If you’ve seven adult occupants, including three women and four men, and women suffer from motion sickness while men are well-built, then you’ll understand what’s wrong with these seats. Tata engineers, no matter what way you suggest, minus five points for this glaring omission, if this can happen in Crysta, then it can happen in Hexa too. It’s just a design fault at your end, nothing else. In the captain seat version, still if you have to tumble the seat then first of all push the front seat ahead, push it’s backrest ahead, then remove the headrest from the middle row captain seat, then tumble the captain seat and you get this, and now you can fit anyone in third row.

The third row is, like any other MPV. i.e. Low set, low on thigh support, less wide and more suited for only short adults or kids. Overall, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s better than that in Crysta or XUV500 and the brilliant rear suspension makes it most comfortable third row to be in. Here you can bring anything under Rs.50 Lakh in question; the suspension of Hexa takes a lot of stress out of the third row travel. Overall you sit knees up, thigh support is a bit compromised and so is headroom and legroom. In the bench seat version, the matter worsens as the bench seats have a hard back, while the captain seats version has a comfier third row in which you can extend your one leg between captain seats and the scooped back of captain seats offer a better legroom too. Overall, the third row is nowhere comparable to any of the front rows but still if I am being offered the third row of any car under Rs.50 Lakh, then Hexa is the one I’d prefer, not for the seats, but seats + ride combination is what makes it the best. The third row occupants also receive C-Pillar mounted AC vents as well as dedicated cup holders. Again, I appreciate Tata for not giving roof mounted vents; third row occupants are most helpless in front of those direct-to-head air blowing vents.



Storage Spaces
As far as storage spaces are concerned, Hexa isn’t the best at it. I was truly pissed off just to find out that there is no dedicated space where I can keep my 5.5” Smartphone while I’m driving, except for the space provided above the upper glovebox. Other than this, the oddly shaped armrest gets stowage underneath, which is definitely smaller than what competition offers. There are twin useful glovebox but neither is deep enough. Other than that, there is a single glass holder behind the gear lever, front seatback pockets, a shallow glass holder at the base of front armrest for middle row passengers (it was broken in both cars I drove, thanks to careless passengers and bad placement of glass holder). There are also twin glassholders in middle armrest of seven seat version, in addition to the regular door pad bottle holders (which will properly fit only 500-600 ml bottles or the taller 1 liter bottles). Third row occupants get dedicated glassholders on both sides, again shallow for any proper usage; still can be used to hold some stuff. Oh yes, there are no interior roof racks unlike in Aria. Sunglass holder is placed at the position of grab handle and features felt lining to keep the sunglasses safe. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
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Tata Hexa: MT Engine Performance



2.2L Manual Transmission
We haven’t got to test the 4x4 version of the Tata Hexa yet. Hence, this review will primarily focus on the 4x2 XT. So, the engine is same old 2179 cc in-line 4-cylinder block that we have been seeing since around a decade in Tata Safari 2.2 DiCOR. What’s changed? The turbocharger, pistons, block etc. are all upgraded to deliver higher power and torque output along with a 1.5 Lakh Kms timing chain life, of VARICOR 400 unit, which now churns out a peak power of 154 BHP @ 4,000 RPM along with an impressive peak torque of 400 Nm that is well spread right from 1,700 to 2,700 RPM. Impressive figures? Well, let me bring the weight of 2280 Kilos into the equation and that’s when we discover that the power to weight ratio (check specifications table for reference) is worse than even the Aria. Yup, this is the only car whose facelift actually gained weight. Many people gave me an argument that it’s a new engine and it can manage everything. Well, even underpowered trucks also do manage, what about the overall efficiency factor, Tata Hexa needs to go on a diet and requires to shed at least 300 Kgs to actually make the enthusiasts sit and listen and even queue up for getting one for them. A six-speed gearbox is provided in both manual and automatic trims, but the auto transmission isn’t yet coupled to an AWD, that only the manual XT trim gets (Yes, no option of AWD for base or mid trims – Tata loses 5 points here too).

Starting Up
Already disappointed by the key, I get into the Hexa, press the clutch and fire the engine. Boy, I was dead! This car was vibrating like hell. A quick call to PR, a quick inspection and it was discovered that there is mud stuck everywhere (thanks to the media house which drove before us). A quick diagnose was done and I’m back into the driver’s seat. Press the clutch, fire the engine and like any ladder frame SUV, everything vibrates, gear box moves on its mountings and rocks the lever – then all calm. NVH is good, I saw the tightly packaged bonnet and was vary that NVH can be a bit bad since the engine is a bit too close to the firewall (everything is too close to each other), but nothing like that. I was in for a surprise then. I quickly recalled the numbers, made a count that this car weighs 2,280 Kilos and hence it will be slower than a Mahindra XUV500, then I hit the road. Clutch is light and the gearbox is still typical Tata, short gates, long throws and a bit notchy. Oh yes, this is when I discovered that engaging first gear means a lot of stretch and the people with laid back driving position are going to hate that thing in tight city drives and steep hilly ones. That said, overall driving experience has been good. I started straight with the worst mode, the ‘comfort’ mode; it was still a well acceptable performance, more discussion about modes at a later stage.



Driving Experience
I released the light clutch (It’s hydraulic and it will tighten with time, but Tata A.S.S. is brilliant at honoring warranties, and they love changing clutch – ask any Storme owner), keeping in mind the engine response of XUV500 and weight of Hexa, I was surprised. It didn’t bog down at all or struggled to move, it simply started moving forward. I engaged the second gear and started releasing the clutch, again it was same, third gear and some vibration crept in – yeah, revs went down. But it didn’t bog down at all, I’m in third gear and the anti-stall is holding the engine slightly above the idle. Then I press the accelerator pedal, all the way to 4750 RPM, where the rev needle stops moving down south. It took me over 15 minutes to exactly understand the power delivery (BTW third gear felt best for the job), but was I impressed? Well, partially. First of all, this is not a slouch at all. As per the specification sheet, the 2.2L block is churning out 400 Nm of turbocharged twist at 1700 RPM. What does that mean? A lot of turbo lag under that number? Wrong. When you press hard at the idle, the progress will be slow (it’s a 2350+ kilos 2.2 diesel – with your weight included), it’s around 1350 RPM (Tata, your RPM marking is bad, 5 partition one was best) that you start feeling that yes, there is some punch (you can very easily manage 4th at 50 kph under sedate driving, even 6th at 70 kph). Progress further and around 1500 RPM mark, the engine starts giving you slight response, move further and then you are like; where is the kick? This isn’t a violent turbo, everything comes up in a very linear manner and the progress is strong. So, anything above 1500 and below 4000 is where you would like to always keep your Hexa into. That said, if you guessed that drivability is good, then you are absolutely right. Frequent gearshifts are seldom required and if you are a sedate driver, then you will seldom get a chance to complaint.

Sixth cog is tall, 100 Kph comes under 2000 RPM, maybe 1900 and 120 Kph comes around 2250 RPM, or maybe 2300 (needle was below 2330 or 1/3rd mark). This is where you will actually appreciate Hexa more than anything money can buy under Rs.50 Lakh. Doing 120 Kph on Yamuna Expressway was a breeze. Brilliant NVH, engine at the peak of its torque and a suspension which simply dismisses every single undulation or expansion joint section (Yamuna expressway, every bridge makes other cars tell you that it was an expansion joint). That said, Hexa engine isn’t an urgent performer like the 2.2 mHawk in even Scorpio (XUV500 is altogether different) but the performance is adequate, the revs don’t do rise as urgently as they do in the Mahindra, but it’s still free revving for a diesel, especially if we look at the engine response and the weight it has to pull. Someone told me that XUV500 leaves the Hexa in dust. Let me be very, very clear that it isn’t true. No matter how much the numbers favor XUV, just put a Hexa in dynamic mode and start driving. Yes, the Hexa will get overtaken but won’t be left in the dust at all. In fact, dare I say - the performance is more or less at par, just that you need to keep the engine between 2000 and 4000 RPM. Overall highway overtaking performance is adequate and it will never break into sweat, causing the same to driver. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
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Tata Hexa: Super Drive Modes



There are three party tricks in Hexa MT: Super drive modes, NVH and ride quality. The latter two will be discussed afterwards. Super drive mode can be selected via a rotary knob located just ahead of the gear lever on the center fascia (this knob gives bragging rights too), changing the mode alters the engine maps along with other electronic parameters:

  • Auto Mode: Recommended for most of the situations. This mode is all about the surface and driver feedback, based on which it decides what state of tune to drive the vehicle in. This state of tune is best suited as it keeps a firm balance between driving experience along with stability and grip. In the 4X4 trims, auto mode helps maintain grip in slippery surfaces too by sending power to front wheels when required.
  • Comfort Mode: As the name suggests, it is all about comfort. When you want to have a relaxed drive, and want to go a couple of extra meters for every liter of the fuel, this is the mode to select. This mode is more suited for relaxed expressway drives or tight city drives (engine feels less powerful and the throttle responses aren’t sharp), if you have face some tight maneuvers, then better shift to auto or dynamic mode.
  • Dynamic Mode: If you want to enjoy driving the Hexa, this is the mode. Let me tell you one thing straight, the 400 Nm of twist can be very easily felt on the rear wheels while driving in this mode. Throttle response is sharp and engine feels very potent. ESP kicks a bit late as compared to other modes and you can actually feel the rear wheels trying hard to grip the surface if you turn evil while going past some lose section. It’s like, the rear will go out by a couple of inches and again everything will get normal. You repeat and then again same response. Brakes feel sharper, engine feels more eager and ESP responding late – the mode for enthusiasts, nut it will be a bit jerky every time you release and bury the throttle.
  • Rough Road Mode: ESP decreases its interference and brakes etc do tune themselves for less grippy surfaces. This is the mode to be best enjoyed in the 4x4 trim, but since we had 4x2 with us, all we could experience was that the ESP intrusion decreases slightly, throttle responses aren’t sharp but well predictable and the braking performance is definitely better while rallying on rough surface as compared to dynamic or auto mode. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
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Tata Hexa: AT Engine Performance



2.2L Automatic Transmission
It’s the automatic with which we spent more time. Let me not waste your time and give my verdict: I’m impressed. This is a six-speed gearbox sourced from Punch Powerglide of France and is having a reputation for being used in many premium American cars. High hopes? Well, yes. I had really high hopes while hopping into Hexa AT and it didn’t let me down. Start the engine and there is slight vibration felt on the steering wheel and pedals (floor too), nothing more than that – no dancing gear lever. Now since I was driving an Innova Crysta 2.8 Z on the way to pick up the Hexa, it was hardly one minute of driving and it was evident that I’m driving a better and more responsive gearbox for sure. This is no fancy dual clutch unit, it is a simple old, reliable and robust (How many times you find TC gearboxes going kaput?) torque converter unit, which is a bit more responsive when it comes to driving experience, arguably the best torque converter you can get in this segment.

My friend, who happens to have spent quite huge money on Crysta 2.8 Z was not impressed with Hexa gearbox and was continuously pestering me with the point that “It’s a Toyota and it’s quicker”. Well, I do agree, the lighter weight and the brute force of the 2.8 D-4D is just too high for the 2.2 Varicor to match, and that’s what actually hides the dumbness of the Toyota gearbox. Just like the manual, you get to see 100 Kph at around 1900 RPM and 120 around 2250, sounds like a perfect highway cruiser? Well, it is. I drove a lot in D mode and found the overall performance to be apt for our road conditions. There was enough punch for quick overtakes and putting your foot down simply makes it pounce ahead like a cat (a fat one indeed) after a wait of a second. This is what I recommend to everyone – tight situation overtakes are better planned and pulled out in manual mode or race car map. Oh yes, race car map – that’s the biggest party trick and most fun mode in Hexa.


While the light footed shifts in the D mode do happen around 1750 RPM mark, it is all about a smooth power transmission and absolutely jerk free power delivery. It’s the S mode where you actually get to feel the difference between this particular torque converter as compared to the ones available with the competition. The shifts are quick, light footed shifts in sports mode are around 2300 RPM while the heavy footed ones will simply go past 4000. What I personally preferred most of the time was either manual mode or race car map. In manual mode, you have to be a bit particular else you get to see the shift denial message time and again in the MID, on the other hand, the race car map actually makes you feel quicker than even the manual mode. Just engage the sports mode and start driving with a very heavy foot. If you keep the throttle pressed continuously then the ECU may take it as a speed run or sprint and won’t shift to race car map. Easier and best way is to press hard and back off and repeat, this makes the ECU feel that you need instant power time and again and that’s when you see that the car has started downshifting aggressively – do you know any turbo diesel A/T which downshifts around 3300 RPM and makes the tacho hit 3800 directly and then upshift again at 4000? That’s the sense of urgency we're talking about. Bring in XUV500 AT now, let Hexa get into its race car map and then we’ll see who bites the dust. Innova is way faster though.

I tried 0-100 several times, once I did with race car map on, it was easy (Under 12 seconds it came, 11.7 probably and that is way impressive for a TC equipped 2.2 tonne people mover). You just need to make sure that you slow down but use heavy throttle time and again. It’s more like 80-50 with hard brake and then hard accelerate to 70, then 70-40 and then hard to 60. This way you reach 0 Kph and within a second you press the throttle fully. Look at the revvs shooting up and you will fell in instant love with your Hexa. That’s when Hexa got caught actually. You listening Tata Motors? HEXA AT VERY BADLY NEEDS ESP. It was actually slight loose surface and I had to work real hard just to make sure that my tail doesn’t not go out, still it kept loosing the grip as there is over 2500 Kgs of force going to the road through those tyres (Tata engineers claimed that in Boeing pulling video) after torque multiplication through gears. So, loose surface driving can easily get tricky if you don’t have seven passengers in your Hexa AT and you are in a mood of driving hard, I personally felt that the tyres beg for grip as they are simply puny in front of 400 Nm of torque after the multiplication through gears, and the surface is not hard enough. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
Thread Starter #10

TSIVipul

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Tata Hexa: NVH, Ride, Handling and Braking




Noise, Vibrations, Harshness
Overall NVH is impressive with very less engine or wind noise intruding into the cabin. It’s only past 120 Kph that you get to notice the tyre / road noise and a bit of wind noise from around A-Pillar area. Else it is all calm and serene. The diesel engine does make its presence felt, but it is still arguably the most silent cabin in its segment. In fact, while doing 100 Kph in 6th gear, you will actually appreciate the brilliant NVH (Toyota Innova Crysta 2.7 has better NVH though, way better – but hey, it’s a petrol). It’s only past 2500 RPM that the engine starts making its presence felt in the cabin, but that is also a sweet engine note and nothing irritating at all.

Ride Quality
When it comes to suspension, Tata motors definitely knows a thing or two about it. They claim to have used something called ‘multivalve dampers’ in Hexa, along with the double wishbones at front and 5 link rigid axle with coil springs doing duty at the back. If I have to define the ride quality of Hexa in one word then it’s definitely going to be ‘IMPRESSIVE’. Forget Toyota Innova Crysta or Renault Duster, the Tata Hexa is arguably a new benchmark when it comes to ride quality. Driving or riding a Hexa, the passengers are definitely never going to be thrown around inside the cabin (until the car itself gets thrown around at least). Every pothole, every minor bump or every undulation is dismissed with such an arrogance that you would want to drive even faster – to show off and to feel more satisfied. I drove it at around 90 Kph on a broken section and the results were just brilliant. I was expecting to have slight bumpiness with 19 inchers, but was instead impressed; no other UV at the price point or even twice the price of Hexa can give the ride quality that a Hexa has to offer.


Handling & Braking
In terms of handling and braking, you do feel the bulk while going at high speeds or taking corners at speeds. The hydraulic steering wheel is a bit tight to operate but is still in the comfortable levels of tightness, what you get in return is a rewarding and decent steering feedback, that makes it quite possible to be very accurate in tyre placement in spite of doing over 100 Kph, or during sudden lane change maneuvers. Although the 235 section tyres offer a decent grip, but if you try to replicate a moose test type situation then Hexa gets caught. The tyres will squeal for that last bit of grip and the momentum of the heavy UV will simply make them either lose the grip or make you back off as a driver. This is calm and composed tourer is what I mean to say. Push it hard and you’ll have to compromise on driving experience. Don’t get me wrong, handling is actually quite good, but you can’t run away from the mass you are carrying. Brakes are definitely impressive with the brilliant pedal feel and even better braking performance. Where I was expecting the car to stop in a particular distance from 100 kph, it stopped at least 10% earlier.

What Hexa simply doesn’t like it taking tight U-Turns in city confines, with a turning circle diameter of 11.5 meters, you actually need to either turn from extreme edge to extreme edge or take 3-point U-Turns. Now with impatient bikers and a bit heavier steering wheel, taking such U-Turns is indeed an irritating experience. Additionally if the car you are driving is a manual version, then you are definitely going to be annoyed, especially because the gearbox itself is a bit notchy and takes some effort to slot into the gears. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]

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Thread Starter #11

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Tata Hexa: Miscellaneous Points & Observations




The Tyre That Didn’t Burst
Although recently I have come across 2 incidents via different sources where the tyre of a Hexa did burst on the 19 inch rims, but going by my experience, I won’t relate it to the tyre bursts those Innova crysta was facing; for which the rim design or tyre or both were responsible. Since the day I saw those 19 inch rims, I was a bit apprehensive that with such a huge kerb weight, carelessness in terms of tyre inflation can be disastrous, as an under inflated tyre can cause major damage to rim and tyre going by such a small side profile. But then Hexa gave me a lesson. The media car I was driving, it ended up having a punctured rear tyre which had nearly gone flat. Now riding 19 inch rims and the brilliant NVH, the suspension either absorbed everything or the smooth surface didn’t let us realize; but we ended up driving the punctured tyre for around 6 kilometers (Neither me, nor my chauffy could even feel slight vibes or control loss at any point) doing decent speeds and going past poor surface too. Once home, I was shocked to discover the same, I thoroughly inspected the tyre and got it inflated again! Voila! It was absolutely fine. Got the puncture repaired and the tyre was again good to go. BTW While replacing the punctured tyre, what I noticed was that the scissor jack supplied with the Hexa is simply insufficient for the car. Keeping safety into mind, my strong suggestion will be to get a 2 tonne rated hydraulic jack as soon as possible.


Miscellaneous Points:
  • The tool kit was jumping as the cover fasteners were loose.
  • The plastic cladding on the left-hand side of windshield was loose.
  • The seat side plastic was loose, again an example of poor fasteners.
  • One ORVM closed and opened around two seconds lesser than another.
  • You could easily pull boot of gearlever out due to bad fasteners both in AT and MT.
  • Lower glove box was never perfectly aligned (in various models that we inspected).
  • Other than the loose fasteners is the insulation rubber, which was cut at the bottom of driver’s door area.
  • The rear LHS door handle was class apart. You pull it to open and it stays there. That’s when WD40 came to rescue.
  • Even more shocking is to discover that interior door latches have an el-cheapo chrome sticker to give a chrome effect.
  • I figured this out upon finding that the sticker is peeling off on the passenger side door latch (refer to first image in the collage above).
The Verdict: Back to the main question, are we impressed? Absolutely. Tata Hexa has actually emerged to be a very practical and no-nonsense option for anyone looking for a decent and comfortable people mover, without having to break the bank. There are definitely some minor quality niggles, but mechanically the car has come out to be robust. The A/T media car we tested had taken over 18000 kilometers of beating and still not a single rattle was present, suspension is simply brilliant and overall comfort is definitely class leading. So, finally is it a Tata you need to look for in front of the mighty Toyota? Well, in my opinion, it's not just more comfortable, looking at the price Toyota comes for, this Tata is more sensible too. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
Thread Starter #12

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Tata Hexa: You'll Love, You'll Loathe & Star Ratings


You’ll Love:[thumbsup]
  • Price; it’s a tremendous value for money.
  • Features, fit 'n finish of interiors. No apparent cost cutting.
  • Awesome ride quality. Suspension is simply the best in class.
  • Balanced exterior and interior design. Build quality is appreciable.
  • Decent engine with a brilliant NVH makes for a comfortable long distance cruiser.

You’ll Loathe: [thumbsdown]
  • Flawed access to third row in six-seater version.
  • No AWD in automatic trims. MT shift quality is still on a notchy side.
  • Weight, it is a very heavy car and heft feels. Hence, a compromise on fuel economy too.
  • Tata’s after sales is a risky proposition. Being newly developed engines, long term reliability is yet to be seen.
  • No auto dimming IRVM, keyless entry or a bigger touch screen. Some essentials missing if compared to XUV500.
Tata Hexa Star Ratings:
  • Design and Quality.................:
  • Comfort and Features............:
  • Engine and Performance.........:
  • Handling and Ride Quality.......:
  • Safety and Security Levels.....:
  • Overall Fuel Consumption.......:
  • Sales and Service Network.....:
  • Value For Money Factor.........:
  • The Automotive India's Verdict:
Here's how to interpret above ratings: The Automotive India Reviews Star Ratings Explained. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
Thread Starter #13

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Tata Hexa: Price, Specifications, Comparison & Brochure


Tata Hexa Price (Ex.Showroom, Delhi):
  • XE 4x2: Rs.10,95,541
  • XM: Rs.12,80,881
  • XT: Rs.15,03,898
  • XMA: Rs.13,90,583
  • XTA: Rs.16,13,069
  • XT 4x4: Rs.16,23,945
Tata Hexa Specifications:
  • Engine: 2179 CC
  • Power: 154 BHP
  • Torque: 400 Nm
  • Transmission: 6 MT / 6 AT
  • Fuel Efficiency: 14.4 / 11.4 Kmpl
General Specifications
  • Front Brakes: Disc
  • Rear Brakes: Disc
  • Front Suspension: Double Wishbone + Coil Springs
  • Rear Suspension: Coil Spring Type 5-Link Rigid Axle
  • Fuel Tank: 60 Liters
  • Length: 4788 mm
  • Width: 1903 mm
  • Height: 1791 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2850 mm
  • Tyre Size: 235/70 R16, 235/55 R19
  • Turning Radius: 5.75 m
  • Ground Clearance: 200 mm
Tata Hexa Exterior Colors:
  • Sky Grey*
  • Pearl White*
  • Arizona Blue*
  • Platinum Silver
  • Tungsten Silver
Note: Asterisk (*) denotes our preferred choice of colors. [[iurl="official-road-tests/32190-tata-hexa-review-pictures-hulky-hexa.html#post548230"]Top[/iurl]]
 
Thread Starter #14

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Tata Hexa: Videos Review
Loose fasteners are the biggest quality issue in Hexa. Mechanicals are quite durable though.
Tata Hexa Quality Issues

Braking is quite confidence inspiring. It’s only at high speeds that you feel excessive momentum of this elephant.
Tata Hexa Braking: 80 - 0 Kph

Suspension is the biggest USP of Hexa. We did over 90 Kph on bad surface and it ironed out every single undulation with impressive arrogance.
Tata Hexa Suspension Working

Automatic wipers are effective and adjust speed according to the density of water striking at the windshield.
Tata Hexa Automatic Wipers

Use this method to open fuel lid if it isn't opening from inside for any reason.
Tata Hexa Emergency Fuel Lid Opener

Tough ladder frame chassis, decent approach and departure angle and a high clearance. Hexa is competent off-road too.
Tata Hexa 4x2 AT Off-Road Decline

The MID of Tata Hexa is quite informative with a decent display.
Tata Hexa AT MID

Race car map is indeed the party trick of Hexa Automatic.
Tata Hexa Race Car Map

People have claimed in the past that Hexa AT has LSD at back. Here's what we got.
Tata Hexa Rear LSD
 
Thread Starter #15

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Tata Hexa: Pictorial Review

No keyless entry is a glaring omission. Chrome stripe looks neat but finish could have been better.



Plastic applique on D-Pillar to give floating roof effect.



The boot sill guard might be effective, but it's simply not up to my personal liking.



Smart 19" alloys. The XL size of Hexa also makes them look just enough to fill the wheel arches.



No shark fin antenna.



Strong, well-placed and well-sized tow hook at the back. We've seen examples where badly placed tow hook caused bumper damage while towing.



Exhaust tips had some black soot deposited on it. They were shining once cleaned with Vim. Look at the puny pipe inside the meaty mufflers.



'400' states the torque tune of the motor under the hood.



Headlamp throw is very strong. Top pic is low beam lowered. Middle pic is low beam at highest point. Lower most picture is high beam.



The XL-size ORVMs provide brilliant rear visibility.



The rear wiper is functional with a decent wiping area.



Reverse camera and registration plate illumination.



Rear bumper has reversing lamp and foglamp on adjacent sides.

 
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