Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tata Hexa Test Drive Experience : First Impressions..!!

Tata Motors, one of the pillars of the most renowned and trustworthy brand of India, Tata, was appearing on the front page of Indiblogger. #Hexaexperience on Oct 22-23 in Hyderabad was on offer.



I love driving and my craziness for cars is immeasurable so when an opportunity to test drive the all new Hexa was on cards, I didn’t want to miss it.
Quickly I went to the Tata Hexa page but this time I was welcomed by an Apply button instead of the conventional Register.
60 seats were on offer for more than thousands of bloggers across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. I quickly applied and wished for luck.

On a fine Thursday evening I got a call from Swati, the beautiful lady from Indiblogger.
I was on cloud 9 as I knew this was the confirmation call but I preferred to keep my hormone level down till the time I reached the venue.

Day 1
Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Hyderabad was at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
It was great to see lot of similar faces at the airport along with some new ones.

At the Hyderabad airport we were greeted by the team of Novotel who were awesome in their hospitality throughout our stay.
From the airport we were escorted to the Novotel Hyderabad Airport hotel which was in vicinity of the airport.
Sumptuous lunch was awaiting us and we too were damn hungry.

After the lip-smacking meal we registered ourselves and filled up the indemnity form.
It was time to take some rest and get ready for the evening and for that the beautiful rooms were awaiting our arrival with a surprise gift package from Tata. The package included Power Bank and a box of macaroons.

My roommate, Ananth, an entrepreneur and founder of a digital marketing firm was a great company.
We had some healthy conversations and then quickly freshened up as the presentation was going to start soon.

Around 7 we assembled at the Ballroom for the Hexa presentation.
The session started with bloggers introduction. It was great to see the faces behind those amazing blogs.

Soon the stage was occupied with the top officials from Tata Motors.
The all new Hexa was unveiled before us and I was captivated by its macho looks.
SUV has its charm when it is masculine and the Hexa totally had that thing in it.

Mr Ashish Sani, Mr Richard Winsor and Mr Ravindra Jain were quite charged up to explain us the amazing features of Hexa and we were also quite excited to know about the next big thing in the SUV world.











The presentation was followed by Q&A session and a drive briefing for the next day.
All the 60 bloggers were divided into team of 3.









After the Q&A and briefing session it was time for dinner and cocktail party.
Theme based Cocktails and finger licking dishes made up the mood for the party.
Biswa the comedy king and the funny caricature paintings by skilled artisans made sure that the mood remained in full swing throughout the evening.
It was also a great time for some networking and I was glad to connect with lot of great names in the blogging fraternity.


Though we had to wake up early morning around 5:00 a.m. but the booze and the amazing people around were enough to keep us awake till midnight.

Day 2
We were ready around 6:30 a.m. after having delicious breakfast to take the Tata Hexa for a spin.
It was a stretch of 170 kms, 85 kms drive each way. There were 20 Hexas, 10 manual (Arizona Blue) and 10 automatic (Tungsten Silver), each allocated to a team.





I got to drove both the version of Hexa and here is my say about the common features and individual versions.

Common Features

Exterior -:
The first thing that charm your eyes is the masculine body of Hexa.
SUVs are known for their macho looks and Hexa doesn’t disappoint.

Though it looks like an uplifted version of Aria but there is a lot more in Hexa in terms of features, design and comfort which sets a much bolder impression.

The dual colored front bumper is large and has the desired aggression to give Hexa that Macho look.
It houses couple of stylish fog lamps along with a large air dam.
The stretched back projector headlamps with smoked effect complement the assertive front fa├žade.

The side profile is also quite attractive and distinct.

The rear facet is equally stylish as the front one. The USB is the beautiful taillights with first in India patented LED technology. The rear dual colored bumper with chrome accents gels well with the tail lamps and gives Hexa an impactful rear styling.

The 19 inch alloy wheels are muscular and tough.
We drove quite comfortably uphill, downhill, speeding our way on potholes and uneven terrains which I will describe in details in my Off-Roading experience.




Interior -:
The first thing that I look in a SUV is comfort and enough boot space.
Hexa satisfies me on both the aspects.

There are 3 levels of sitting arrangement, two seats on the front and second row and the third row has a bench seat with enough space at all rows.



The interior design is quite sporty and the use of premium material makes it look classy.
The steering wheel looks posh and is equipped with multi functional switches. The front centre console houses infotainment system, AC controls and climate control buttons.

Hexa also comes with a choice of 8 colors for in-cabin ambient moon lighting.

Infotainment System -:
The new-gen ConnectNext Infotainment system comes with a 5 inch touch screen.
At the first glance the screen looks quite small as compared to the enormous size of the SUV.



Anyways moving ahead the system is packed with multiple intelligent features such as playback via FM/AM, USB, iPod, voice recognition, rear view camera, navigation and other on screen display facilities.

Tata Hexa houses 10 JBL speaker system with 4 door speakers, 4 tweeters, a centre speaker, sub-woofer and a power amplifier. The speaker system is incredible as the sound at the highest volumes is also quite powerful, clear and noise free.


The infotainment system can also be integrated with Smartphone apps which include Navimaps App, Juke-Car App and other Tata Smart Remote and Manual Apps.

Safety Suite -:

Tata Hexa comes with 6 airbags, Dual on the front, side and curtain airbags.
The Electronic Stability Program and Traction Control System ensure driver stability and traction.
The ground clearance of 200 mm is quite good for a SUV.
Central locking, parking sensors and driver's belt alert are among the common safety features.

Mileage -:
Mileage of both the versions should be around 14-15 Km/L

Automatic Version

We started the first half of the test drive with A10, which was the automatic version of Hexa.
In the starting I felt that the pickup was not that great as until then I was not aware about the
Sports mode.

As soon as the Sports mode was on, Hexa was cruising like a sports car.
140 km/h mark was touched but there were no signs of jerk or shaking. I was amazed by the control and stability one could experience at such a high speed.

Overall drive was quite smooth and comfortable. Even on the potholes and rough terrain the car was butter smooth.
The only thing where I could find a bit of room for improvement is the flexibility with the Steering Wheel whose handling can be made a notch smooth.

Manual Version

After trying the automatic version it was time to try our hands on the manual one.
The manual Hexa was not that great as the Automatic one, with issues centered around the gearbox.
The gearbox was a bit notchy especially when you shift from 4 to higher gears.

The most talked about feature of Hexa is the "Super Drive Modes" system that comes packed with the Manual Version.



There are basically 4 different modes available which you can choose from.
1. Auto Mode
    This mode is more suited for normal driving conditions.
2. Comfort Mode
    This mode is best suited when you are driving on highways.
    Cruise Control option is also there in both the versions.
3. Dynamic Mode
    When you want to turn Hexa into a sport car, this is the mode to switch to.
    This is where it achieves the max power and acceleration.
4. Rough Road Mode
    This mode comes really handy when you want to explore the challenging off-road driving conditions.

We clocked 160 km/h here and were really satisfied by the control and stability as in the Automatic version.


Off Road Experience

This was the real fun I was waiting for.
The true strength of a SUV shows up in the Off Road driving and man...! I was blown away after experiencing it in Hexa.
It moved swiftly on ice. Driving on a 21 degree slanted surface looked quite comfortable.
Whether it was uphill or downhill drive, Hexa proved how powerful the beast is.
Braking system was phenomenal which was tested on a Sandy surface.
Finally driving on a terribly uneven surface is the real test of any vehicle for the Indian road conditions and to my amazement Hexa performed really well.
Loved the Off Road Experience to the core.
After the Off Road Experience we had lunch, which was quite yummy..!!
Finally we packed our bags as it was time to say goodbye to Hyderabad and leave for Mumbai.



Credit : Hemal Shah


Verdict

The new lifestyle vehicle from Tata, Hexa, is suited for people from all walks of life.
The masculine body, attractive and classy exteriors and interiors, power packed engine, super drive modes and loaded features makes it a player to look out for in the SUV world.

I found the Automatic version better than the manual one as the notchy gearbox in the manual version created some trouble while shifting the gears from 4 to higher levels.
I think the officials from Tata Motors are working on it and will fix it before the launch.
If priced properly this SUV is going to be the next big thing for Tata Motors and will take the SUV world by storm.





2 comments: