If you’ve been following me on social media (Instagram, Twitter), then you wouldn’t have missed all the excitement we had over the new Tata Hexa SUV that is being launched in January 2017 (pre-bookings start from next week).
To promote their new vehicle Tata planned a big event in conjunction with indiblogger, inviting around 60 bloggers from all over India to come to Hyderabad and experience the Hexa in person.
We all landed there on Saturday afternoon and spent most of the day roaming around the hotel premises, taking pictures of the car, and getting to know each other.
The car was a glittering, shining beauty under the hot sun.
Later in the evening, we attended the press conference to learn more about the car. The details that emerged were pretty impressive, and here is a shortlist of some of the notes I took.
- Available in both manual and automatic variants – there are significant differences between the two variants and I will get into it later in the post.
- Choice between a 6-seat and a 7-seat layout. The 6-seat layout offers captain seats for all three rows, which is the greatest in comfort
- Automatic climate controlled aircon
- 6 airbags
- App compatible touchscreen navigation and entertainment system
- 19″ alloy wheels
And much more…
The Driving Experience
The next day, all us bloggers were divided into small groups of three and invited to test drive both the automatic and manual variants of the SUV for a long drive.
I was the captain of our team of girls, and I had a few internal panicky moments at the beginning. I love to drive and in other circumstances I would have jumped at the opportunity to go on a long drive. But, I’ve never driven an SUV before, and it’s been ages since I’ve driven an automatic. The other girls in my team were in the same boat as me. Still, we kind of swallowed our fears and set off to try the automatic SUV for the drive onward.
I took the first turn at the wheel, and after a couple of nervous moments, I was surprised how easy the car was to drive. The steering wheel never felt heavy at all. And I quite enjoyed the feeling of not having to keep shifting gears and not having to bother about the clutch.
The interior of the car is absolutely beautiful, and all the fittings look and feel luxe.
I drove this automatic variant all through the airport road, and through the Outer Ring Road hitting speeds of up to 150km an hour, and I have to say that the ride was smooth all the way. Even at such high speeds, there was no shudder, and the engine handled the high-speeds beautifully.
Once the highways were done, and the village roads started, it was Sharu’s turn to drive, and she took over, while I sat behind enjoying the feel of the wind blowing on my face.
The village scenery was beautiful and I clicked a couple of casual shots right from the car. Needless to say, at the speed at which we were going, the photos did not come out well 😉 , except for this photo of a tree LOL!
We got off the road for a short period to take some shots of the car in the middle of some beautiful grasslands.
I got a little distracted and ended up getting some random shots of me clicked as well 🙂 .
OK, back to the topic at hand – the Tata Hexa experience.
It was great driving the automatic in the morning. It was easy and fun, and didn’t feel like driving an SUV at all. But the return back would be a different experience, wouldn’t it? This time I would be driving the manual along narrow undivided village roads, where speed would not be the test, but maneuverability and ease of driving would be most crucial.
By noon, the traffic had increased, and we were super-apprehensive how we were going to get this monster of an SUV safely back to our hotel. One of the photographers had concerns as well, and so he offered to drive us for some time. But soon enough, I felt like I was ready to give it a shot, and seriously it was just as good a driving experience as the automatic – even better as I am anyway more comfortable with changing gears manually.
We even tried going over a flooded section of the road. Our photographer had the brilliant idea of making us get out and take a shot of him crashing into the water, and watching the SUV easily splash through that section was awesome.
I was told later that the Tata Hexa is built to wade through water up to a depth of 450 meters, so I guess it’s not very surprising that it could take on that section of the flooded road so easily.
The Tata Hexa also took the bumpy village roads beautifully. I drove without a thought to potholes and in spite of that it was a very comfortable ride. The road back was packed with villagers selling their produce at dirt-cheap rates. We stopped at a custard apple stand.
The custard apples were going for a song – Rs. 100 for a whole bag of them, and so of course we picked up a bag with the intention of dividing the produce among all of us.
Unfortunately in our hurry to catch our respective flights later in the evening, we forgot to divide the custard apples among ourselves, and I am very sad to say that one person was left holding the entire lot. I do hope he managed okay 🙁 .
I loved both the manual and automatic driving experiences equally. I would prefer the manual ride for highways because there are a lot more options to play around with. A manual version is also what you need if you are planning to go off-road as the manual version offers 4×4 drive. Also, if fuel conservation is important to you, then manual is the way to go.
The automatic is what you want if you don’t want to bother with gears and clutches especially in city traffic. It also offers a simpler driving experience with fewer options. It does drink more fuel than the manual one though.
The presentation team didn’t go into details about mileage or price, and it’s very hard to qualify/recommend a vehicle without those two parameters. But I can say one thing, for sheer glamor and sheer power, the Tata Hexa is fabulous. It’s easier to drive than other variants of SUVs that I have tried earlier (side-eye at you Tata Sumo), and surprisingly nimble despite its size.
If you are in the market for a large family car, or SUV do check out the Tata Hexa, I think you will be quite impressed.