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First Ride Report | Tata Hexa Experience Drive

13th January 2017, Mumbai: Tata Motors organized an 'experience drive' for its soon to be launched SUV - the Hexa - at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai. It is a much awaited launch with test cars doing the rounds and impending since September where Tata said they're fine tuning the vehicle and still working their pricing strategy.

The expo-like setup was a huge one with a full showcase of various Tata brands on the covered part and the off road experience and the test drive in the open arena. Hexa will be launched by Tata on 18th January 2017 in India.

There were around 15 Hexas in both blue and silver shades in the open arena, with the 4x4 ones doing duty on the off-road track. It was a typical off-road course with the usual sand and mud tests, the ground clearance test, the ESP test, the hill hold control test and the water wading ability test.

A unique thing was the stair climbing test that the Hexa managed easily with the header figure of 400nm torque and huge wheel articulation. It was a brilliant time I had though and I will let the pictures do the talking.

After that was the test drive part that I was looking forward to, was it going to be worth the hype while driving, what about the interiors, how about the high set seats, would it have the usual Tata time and again seen ergonomic issues?

All of that was answered as soon as I sat on the driver's seat, it was high set, first came the XT 4x4, it was very well kitted out and had a long throw six speed gearbox with reverse being a little hard to slot in.

Slot it into first though and it moves forward with urgency and looked good to drive in the first 3 short gears, took it up to a 110 kmph, ride was among the best and the torque on hand is very good. But the heavy clutch, no dead pedal, high set steering with the surprising omission of telescopic steering and poor pedal box space kill the driving pleasure part, but it still feels much better than Tatas of yore and compares well with the XUV 500.

Not many issues with the clutch-less gearbox of the automatic, the XTA 4x2 variant. Steering feels lighter than the manual 4x4 and overall response is good too with throttle modulation being better than the hair-trigger response of the manual. The brakes felt weak on the automatic which I guess was the fact that the brake pads would've been shot to bits as the cars were already driven more than 10,000 kms.

The automatic loses out on many of the electronic gadgetry of the manual but the convenience that it affords, definitely makes it the pick of the two transmissions. Sorely missed features being lack of power seat adjustment, a sunroof, a larger touchscreen, a comprehensive MID compared to the XUV500.

With prices not being announced, we really cannot comment on that but expect it to start at around 11.5 lakhs ex-showroom for the XE model that gets a 5-speed manual with a DICOR engine rather than VARICOR and may go upto 17 lakhs for the top-end models.

Drive mode selector
Gearknob in the Automatic variatn of Hexa
Tata Motors Hexa interiors
Hexa speedo-console
5-spoke sporty alloy wheels

- by Dhruv Budhiraja

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