18 January 2017. The improved version of Aria – that is what Tata Hexa is. At the time of its launch, the Aria was technically sound utility vehicle but the inappropriate pricing made it a failure. But here in 2017, it is coming in a superior form. It has new looks, more equipment, better road manners and also a new name, the Hexa.
To be formally launched on 18th January 2017, the Hexa was brought out for media drive in late 2016 in Hyderabad. Earlier in March 2015, the makers had showcased the Hexa concept at the Geneva Motor Show and then Tata unveiled the Hexa at 2016 Auto Expo.
Hexa comes on the same hydroformed X2 platform that was used by the Aria. What makes it nicer is its enhanced cosmesis. There are changes for better exterior design and more attractive cabin. This MUV is still powered by the same 2.2 litre VARICOR 400 turbo-diesel engine that is used in Safari Storme Varicor 400. It is mated to 6 speed manual transmission and there is the option of a 6-speed automatic too. The engine generates 148 bhp at 4000 rpm and 320 Nm of torque at 1700-2700 rpm.
From its front end the Hexa looks more like an SUV. The black grille, large air dam, LED daytime running lights and the sheer size of this vehicle add to its enormous road presence. Its twin-barrel projector headlamp cluster has a smoked effect which looks classy.
Giving it a planted stance are the 19 inch alloy wheels with 5-spoke design. These have 235/55 section tyres that were custom designed by MRF for Tata. How practical will the 19 inch wheels be with short sidewall tyres on Indian roads is difficult to say. We will cover the details in our Expert Review where performance of Hexa gets reviewed. The flared wheel arches with plastic cladding give rugged appearance to Hexa. Cladding on the door panels is also beefy.
Tata Hexa has a length of 4788 mm. It is 1903 mm wide and 1791 mm tall making it bigger than the Aria. That said, the wheelbase and ground clearance are still similar to the Aria at 2850 mm and 200 mm respectively.
From its rear three-quarter, the Hexa is somewhat van-like. The blackened B, C & D-pillars lend it a "floating roof" impact. Large glass area lets in plenty of light into the cabin. Window line is marked by a thin chrome strip. The roof is ribbed for more rigidity and there are roof rails which we did not get with Aria.
The rear end of this updated utility vehicle shows off many changes. It has tall LED tail lights and this also reminds us that those Christmas tree like lamps have gone. There is lot of chrome between the lights, right above the number plate. A reversing camera is placed beneath this garnish. Rear bumper has skid plate and 4 parking sensors. Exhaust tips look bulky.
The name 'Hexa' implies 6 and here they refer number of seats in this car. Yes it comes with a 7-seater version too. The cabin comfort of Tata’s cars has always been a benchmark. Hexa has all black interior that has been designed pretty differently than Aria. Smoked chrome, brushed aluminium and piano black inserts are seen on various points including the dashboard, the centre fascia and the doorpads. Cabin feel is pleasing with its ambient lighting.
Dashboard is functionally good too and controls are easy to reach for. The seats in front are comfortable with wonderful lower-back and under-thigh support. Driver’s seat is 8-way adjustable and gives you a good view of the road in front.
Instrument console with chrome hood and coloured MID is good to look at. Steering wheel comes with thumb contours and is design is closer to Zest’s steering. The pedals in the footwell are also spaced ergonomically for comfortable driving experience. But there is no dead pedal which we do expect in a UV of this segment.
The JBL 10-speakerinfotainment system has a 5 inch touchscreen which is rather small in such a big vehicle. Switches for reverse parking sensor, hill descent control and central locking system are placed below the infotainment system.
In the rear part of the cabin you get two captain seats for the middle row. There is plenty of legroom here and seats too are comfortable for a long journey. Seatback angle along with fore & aft adjustment has been provided. Seats have individual armrests. AC vents on the centre console has direction adjusters for both the seats separately.
The last row is a 60:40 split bench seat in the 7-seater version and although it is tad less comfortable than the second row seats, there is ample legroom. It also has a broad push-back armrest that can be used when the middle space is vacant.
The last row of the 6-seater version has bench seat split in 50:50 ratio. Once again they have goof headroom and legroom even for a 6-footer. But yes, the last row seats in both the versions are less comfortable than others due to flat back support and thin cushioning.
More details on the exterior and cabin design are covered in our comprehensive Expert Review section that also includes performance evaluation of this UV.
On the safety front, Tata Hexa gets 6 airbags (front, side and curtain), ESP, ABS with EBD, along with hill hold control and hill descent control.
As the car was yet to be launched at the time of posting this review, we do not have the exact price details but will update the same at the right time. Sources mention that the price may start at Rs 12 lakhs. We at ecardlr hope Tata works more realistically on this front now, having learnt from the Aria market experience.