Tata Hexa XT 4x4 Arizona Blue - Initial Ownership Review


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Finally after a pretty long period of waiting, interspersed with lots of research, I bought the Hexa 4x4 XT on 26 Dec 18. So here goes my initial ownership review.




I owned a Mahindra Scorpio SLE from 2009 to 2016. It performed pretty well for all those years, without ever giving any troubles. Sold it off in 2016, as I used to go on a lot of long drives, and felt that Scorpio SLE, without any airbags and a dubious crash test rating, wasn’t safe enough for the family.

Bought a used Nissan Sunny (Diesel) as an interim measure, and to experiment with a sedan for a while. However, the experiment really didn’t pay off, as the Sunny with its low ground clearance managed to literally “land” in trouble on most roads in the Himalayas, where I frequently took it to from Delhi. Hence, the need for a SUV with proper ground clearance and go anywhere ability resurfaced.

While I started the search somewhere in 2017, I could only manage to buy the Hexa now. The primary reason being that I had to move out of Delhi for work reasons. With family staying put in Delhi, it didn’t make too much sense to buy the new car. As things have now improved on this front, it was time to go ahead with the purchase.

Requirements

The requirements were pretty clear. SUV with good ground clearance and go anywhere ability. I would not be doing any off roading the way Anshuman and Co. do it. However, I do drive to all corners of the HP/ UK, and prefer to stay in quaint places, where more often than not the last mile or so is always a tricky affair. Such roads/ trails leading up to cottages/ homestays in the hills are usually not tarred, and have turns/ gradients that make them difficult to tackle, especially during the rains. To add to it, I have bought a land for myself some 30 kms off Shimla, where the last 100 mtrs or so are exactly as just described. So, whilst an SUV with low range gearing would have been good to have/ desirable to handle such roads, even SUVs having electronics based AWD systems would suffice.

Another critical requirement was that the SUV had to be a seven seater. A “proper” seven seater. Ours is a large family. My parents and brother stay with me, and self/wife/kiddo take the figure to 6. There have been multiple occassions when we have gone on long distance tours with 2 cars, owing to the lack of a seven seater. So an SUV with seven comfortable seats was a must.

Options Considered

As for the budget, I would have loved to keep the expenditure under 20 lakhs. I could have stretched it to 30+ as well, without too much discomfort. However, I had the moolah to buy an under 20 L SUV with cash payment. Stretching beyond 20 would have resulted in loan/ EMIs. Still, it was not too much of an issue, decided to keep all options open at the outset.

The SUVs considered were as follows.

XUV 500 – XUV even in its refreshed avatar, with upgraded interiors, failed to impress me. I personally never liked its design language, as well as the quality of interiors. Took a few test drives though, both automatic as well as manual. The ride quality was so so. But overall, failed to strike any cord.

Mitsubishi Pajero – Briefly considered it, in its 4x4 guise. But since Mitsubishi itself is not interested in this SUV, or even on maintaining a reasonable presence in India, it made absolutely no sense at all.

Isuzu MUX – The first version launched in 2017 was a disappointment. Primarily because of the fact that Isuzu had decided to offer an outdated product in the Indian market. The upgraded version launched in 2018, with the full safety kit, was an improvement. Took a few test drives. The 3.0 ltr engine, though old and no scorcher by any means, is pretty reasonable for relaxed driving. The steering though was “heavy”. Comfort levels in all three rows of seats were good, with good leg room as well as under thigh support. However, at 28 lakhs ex showroom, the 4x4 variant didn’t make too much sense, being priced so close to the big boys – Fortuner and Endeavour. Also, Isuzu service network being wafer thin, was a big concern.

Toyota Fortuner – Whilst expensive, the 4x4 AT had nothing that could be held against it. Ride quality was reasonable, and seat comfort in all three rows good. Coupled with strong Toyota after sales support and tremendous resale, it made a compelling case.

Ford Endeavour – Endeavour was a really strong contender. 3.2 4wd variant had everything and more. Luxurious first class interiors and a sun roof to die for. Good ride quality. Very strong engine coupled with a good automatic gearbox. A small issue was the back rest angle of the third row. It was very upright, with no provisions for tilting. Third row passengers, important factor in my case, would not like being there on long drives. Also the middle row was a little low in height from the floor. This coupled with not so generous under thigh support.


The Final Choice

Hexa has always fascinated me ever since its launch. It has always managed to turn my head whenever I have spotted in on road anywhere. I think Tata has done a great job with the Hexa’s design. Whilst some may find the side profile to resemble that of an MPV, I think the overall look is very well balanced and imposing. The interiors are fantastic, with great quality all around.

The driver gets a commanding view of the road ahead. All three row of seats cocoon you in great comfort. The middle bench row was the best amongst all the options considered, with best under thigh support and height from the floor. I strongly believe that these factors, along with good suspension of course, are critical for comfort in those really long drives.

The last row again was best amongst the competition. This was the only last row where my wife, who is 5’6”, also managed to sit in a comfortable position. I am sure that adults of this height would be comfortable in these seats even over long journeys, unlike in other SUVs where last row is generally only suitable for kids.

Suspension/ ride quality was of course an area where Hexa always stood out. The ride quality of Hexa was far far better than any of its competition. I remember the first test drive I took soon after it was launched. It was an amazing feeling to sit in the middle row and enjoy that beautiful ride.

Hexa’s lack of low range gearing and not so great approach/ departure angles mean that it’s no hard core off roader. However, I believe that the Borg Warner AWD system is pretty capable. Since I am not going to do the kind of stuff that Anshuman and Co. are into, Hexa 4x4 would be quite capable of meeting my requirements, i.e. taking me through that difficult last mile in the mountains.

Hexa’s 2.2 Varicor engine has been around for quite some time. Hexa has been in the market for over 2 years now and its owners seem to be a pretty satisfied bunch. I have followed up long term reviews on various forums/ chat groups, and have not come across any issues on the engine/ gearbox front. So, 2 years from its launch, I think it would be fair to say that Hexa has proven to be quite reliable and niggle free.

So, with all these things going in its favour, it was very hard to write Hexa off. On more than one occasion, I was tempted to go for the Endeavour, primarily for the badge/ brand value. Like I have mentioned, even finance was also not really an issue. However, Hexa always seemed to tug at the heart strings. And thinking logically/ rationally as well, it made a hell of a case for itself. At almost half the price, it was offering a phenomenal lot. In fact, there were none of my requirements that were not being met by Hexa. On the other hand, most of the competition, the big players like Fortuner and Endeavour included, were lagging behind as far as outright comfort for seven passengers on long distance trips was concerned.


In the end, it was not a very difficult decision to make. I had always liked the Hexa. It was giving me everything that I needed. And it was also making a lot of financial sense. And so, the Hexa it was.


Variant/ Colour Choice

I never had any doubts about which variant of Hexa to go for. With my requirements being very clear, which necessitated an AWD/ 4x4, it had to be the XT 4x4. I took a few test drives of the Automatic XTA variant also. As many have already brought out, the automatic gear box is really good. But for me, it was always going to be XT 4x4 manual only. Further, vital electronics aids like ESP, TCS and roll over mitigation, which I feel could be life savers, are all present in this variant.

As regards the colour, the Hexa looks best in blue to me. It may be relatively a bit difficult to maintain, but blue just looks smashing. So decided to go ahead with blue.

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Buying Experience

Since I am currently at Vizag, I bought the Hexa from Siva Sankar Motors Vizag. The showroom staff, led by Mr. Khan, were courteous from day one. The overall buying experience was good and I have no complaints whatsoever.

Initial Impressions

Gearbox – This is one area of Hexa manual variants, where people generally have a lot of concerns. Most of the reviewers have brought out that the manual gear box is notchy/ rubbery and generally not very good to use. However, my experience with this gear box has been quite good. I have taken multiple test drives of this variant over the last year or so. All the test drive cars (of different showrooms) had gear boxes that were pretty good to operate. Never felt them notchy or difficult to slot. Even my queries with owners who have been using their Hexas for some time revealed that the gear box becomes quite smooth to operate after a few thousand kms of driving. Even in my new Hexa, which I have driven only for 200 odd kms so far, I have no complaints with the gear box. Yes, the gear shift from 2nd to 1st needs a slightly heavier hand as compared to the rest of gear shifts. However, the gear throws are not excessively long. Frankly speaking, for a vehicle of this size weighing over 2 tonnes, I feel this is a very reasonable gear box.

Engine - Its still early days for me to comment with my limited driving so far. However, the engine really has different moods depending what mode has been selected. Only in the “Comfort” mode, there is a bit of turbo lag below 1500 rpm. Beyond this rpm in the “Comfort” mode, the engine moves the bulk of the vehicle in a very relaxed manner, performance being very adequate, but not too brisk.

Equation changes in the “Dynamic” mode, where the vehicle just springs to life and feels so much more lively. Turbo lag is much less pronounced and the throttle response becomes just wonderful. Beyond 1500 rpm, the turbo kicks in sharply and you feel the vehicle just springing to life.

However, every time you start the Hexa, it starts in “Auto” mode by default. I feel this is the best mode to stay in for everyday driving. For one, somehow the Turbo lag is felt the least in this mode. Infact, I have hardly been able to feel any turbo lag at all in this mode. I am really not sure for the reason behind this though.

Will have to drive much more to get a better understanding of the various modes. Have not yet had the requirement/ opportunity to drive in “Rough Road” mode at all.

A quick word on the Turbo lag, for those who are worried that this might be an issue. I can say with reasonable assurance that this is not a concern in everyday driving. Its only in the comfort mode, which really is the mode for frugal/ fuel efficient driving, that this lag is felt. Change the mode to “Dynamic” or “Auto”, and drive becomes so much more enjoyable.

As most reviewers have already mentioned, Hexa’s engine does not feel as eager or peppy as that of an XUV at lower speeds/ rpms. However, post 1500 rpm, performance is very very nice and you will love the engine on those long highway drives. Overall, the Hexa’s engine does not disappoint and the performance is more than adequate under all conditions.

Steering – I have seen quite a few reviewers call the Hexa’s steering heavy, especially at city speeds. However, I would differ here. I feel the steering is just the way it should be. I had been driving a hatchback for the last one year, and still do not feel the steering to be heavy at all. Done quite a few U turns in city roads, and didn’t face any issues with the steering.

Ride quality – As expected, the ride quality is top notch. This is despite the fact that the recommended pressure for 19” tyre is 35-36 psi.

Driving Ergonomics – I had read about the constrained passenger foot well space in the manual variants. Being 6’3”, this was bit of a worry. However, the experience so far has been good and I haven’t faced any issues on this front. It was also not difficult to quickly find a good driving position. Love the commanding position and view that the driver’s seat offers.

AC – The AC is a chiller and cools the cabin in no time at all. Whilst the blowers do make noise at higher speed settings, on most occasions you would not need to run them at such speeds for too long a time, as the AC will quickly cool the cabin, allowing you to then switch to lower blower settings. Absolute thumbs up for the AC.

Infotainment system – Less than 10 days into the ownership, I am not in a position to comment on various features of the infotainment system, as I really haven’t had the time to go through it in great detail. However, I can vouch for the sound quality from the Harman system, which is just wonderful. You really can’t ask for more from an OE music system. Another thing that I have noticed is that the Bluetooth connectivity is easy and seamless. I paired my phone once, and now everytime it just connects without any issues at all.

NVH – The NVH levels inside the Hexa’s cabin are very well controlled. Tata has done a great job of cocooning the passengers, and very less noise from the outside filters through into the cabin. Coupled with the very comfortable seats, great ride quality, a very efficient AC, I am sure the Hexa’s cabin is going to be a very nice place for enjoying those really long drives.

Summary

I know that this is not a very comprehensive review. But then I have spent just a few days and only 200 odd kms with the Hexa so far. So these are just the initial impressions and there is a lot more that needs to be covered in the review. I will try and update this thread a few days down the line, by which time I would have known a lot more the Hexa.

To sum it up, this few days of ownership has been fantastic. The Hexa so far has absolutely lived up to what I had expected out of it. Great looks, first class interiors, amazing seats, wonderful ride quality, a nice engine and a very capable AWD system – the Hexa has offered all this, without pinching a hole in my pocket. I just couldn’t have been happier. 

The pics of course. These have been clicked with a mobile camera, and please excuse me for the not so good quality.

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Thread Starter #2
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Boot space with all three rows up.

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Boot with a duffle bag

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Last row folded

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Last and middle row folded

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The spacious middle row bench
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Middle row, with one section reclined

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Middle row arm rest

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Generous under thigh support, and good height from the floor for the middle row

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AC vents and cup holders for the middle row

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The front row

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Very comfortable first row seat

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The dashboard and central panel

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Front row Armrest, which I have found very useful.

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Varicor 400 badging

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4x4 badging

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The rear

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More will follow, as I gain more experience with the Hexa.
 
Joined
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Boot space with all three rows up.

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Boot with a duffle bag

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Last row folded

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Last and middle row folded

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The spacious middle row bench View attachment 253652

Middle row, with one section reclined

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Middle row arm rest

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Generous under thigh support, and good height from the floor for the middle row

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AC vents and cup holders for the middle row

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The front row

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Very comfortable first row seat

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The dashboard and central panel

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Front row Armrest, which I have found very useful.

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Varicor 400 badging

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4x4 badging

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The rear

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More will follow, as I gain more experience with the Hexa.
Congratulations bro for your new car wishing you very happy miles
 
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Congrats on the beast!
Hexa is a very underrated car and supremely comfortable as you've found out. Wish you many happy miles with the beast.
 
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Many congratulations on your new car. The is a fantastic colour. I like it. Please post something more on the 4x4 features.
Two questions I have.
Is the fifth wheel in this variant an alloy?
Don't the last row as well as the 2nd row seats fold down fully flat to create a flat bay?
 
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Thread Starter #7
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Well written review and nice pictures
Congratulations[clap]
Congratulations bro for your new car wishing you very happy miles
Congrats on the beast!

Hexa is a very underrated car and supremely comfortable as you've found out. Wish you many happy miles with the beast.
Thanks guys.

Many congratulations on your new car. The is a fantastic colour. I like it. Please post something more on the 4x4 features.
Two questions I have.
Is the fifth wheel in this variant an alloy?
Don't the last row as well as the 2nd row seats fold down fully flat to create a flat bay?
Hi, the fifth wheel is not an alloy. In fact its not even the standard 19" wheel, and is a 16" steel rim with 235/70 R16 tyre.

And no,the seats dont fold any more than this.

Regards.
 
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Thanks for the prompt revert
Even though the ans is no to both my questions, this car is still VFM and this issue is very minor and not a deal breaker at all. I am happy that You are driving one of the heaviest(it's a good thing in my books) and well built SUV in India.
 
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Thread Starter #10
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Thanks for the prompt revert
Even though the ans is no. to both my questions, this car is still VFM and this issue is very minor and not a deal breaker at all. I am happy that You are driving one of the heaviest(it's a good thing in my books) and well built SUV in India.
Oh trust me Hexa is unbelievable value for money.
The 2 issues are really trivial and the Hexa's positives are just far too many and easily out weigh such issues.
 
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Congratulations on your new beast!

My friend of mine have the same variant here and I've been for a small run in that car and I was so damn impressed by it. Even though it had 19" wheel, it felt much more superior and the JBL sound system was indeed perfect. All the panels felt much more premium and not like a typical TATA car, or how they used to be initially.

Happy Driving [drive]
 
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Oh trust me Hexa is unbelievable value for money.
The 2 issues are really trivial and the Hexa's positives are just far too many and easily out weigh such issues.
Good Morning

Would you mind the on road price and break up being shared by you?

Also, are the non 4 X 4 Hexa's RWD's? And, is your HEXA XT a full time AWD or is it a 2WD until you want off roading when you would switch to 4WD?


Thanks in advance for answering my queries.
 
Thread Starter #14
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Congratulations on your new beast!

My friend of mine have the same variant here and I've been for a small run in that car and I was so damn impressed by it. Even though it had 19" wheel, it felt much more superior and the JBL sound system was indeed perfect. All the panels felt much more premium and not like a typical TATA car, or how they used to be initially.

Happy Driving [drive]
Thanks
Congratulations on your Hexa , just surprised the Hexa has AP31 Vizag Plates while you are based in Delhi ?
My family stays at Delhi. I am in Vizag, and going to be here for a while. Hence the AP plates.

Good Morning

Would you mind the on road price and break up being shared by you?

Also, are the non 4 X 4 Hexa's RWD's? And, is your HEXA XT a full time AWD or is it a 2WD until you want off roading when you would switch to 4WD?


Thanks in advance for answering my queries.
Yes, the non 4x4 Hexa's are RWD.
Hexa XT 4X4 is not a full time AWD. I need to switch to AWD mode through a rotary switch. Also, there's an Auto mode, where it runs primarily in RWD mode. However if the Torque on Demand system detects slippage in the rear wheels, power is transferred to the front wheels also.
 
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I am a bit late, but congratulation on your new ride buddy.
Have lakhs of safe and happy miles on this gentle beast.
You have made an absolutely right decision to go for Hexa sirji!!!
 
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