The last time Tata tried its hand at a premium people mover, it failed miserably. The Aria, despite having a great platform and a punchy engine, appealed to only a handful. A few years after its launch, Tata dropped the price by a few thousands in a quest to find more homes for the Aria But that didn’t see much success either. Now, though, there’s an all-new premium people mover from the house of Tata Motors. The Hexa has the same underpinnings as the Aria, but they’ve been tweaked a bit. With that, it manages to control its weight rather well for its size and the side-wards movement isn’t close to making passengers uncomfortable. The ability of the Hexa to soak up bumps is commendable with only sharp potholes reaching your back. Under the hood of the Hexa, is a 2.2-litre diesel engine that it borrows from its cousin, the Safari Storme.
Tata likes to call it the Varicor 400, just like in the Storme; it generates 154bhp and 400Nm of twist. The engine feels a bit meek till the turbos kick in at about 2,000 revs. And once it passes that, there’s a strong surge that lasts till the rev marker indicates 4,000rpm. Though the engine clatter enters the cabin, refinement levels are good.
In these pictures is a Hexa MT with a six-speed transmission. The shifts are rubbery and require some amount of effort to be slotted into the gates. But six ratios afford plenty of flexibility to the engine. Despite that many ratios, don’t expect too much fuel efficiency from the Hexa. It’ll go 10.8kpl on the highway and 9kpl in city traffic. The Hexa has a complex AWD system, which allows you to shift from 2WD to 4WDon the fly.
Unlike other shift-on-the-fly systems, the one on the Hexa chooses whether the power should be sent to all four wheels or only the rears depending on the driving mode you choose. If you choose to be in Comfort mode, it’ll strictly be in 4×2. And rather surprisingly, that’s also the case with Dynamic mode. But if you choose the Rough Road or the Auto mode, it’ll send the power to both the axles depending on which needs it the most.
Yeah, this is a bit wizardly, but not too robust. If you drop the clutch for a hurried start even in 4×4 mode, it’ll cause some amount of wheel spin from the rear wheels- a phenomenon that seldom occurs in 4×4 equipped vehicles. But once you get a good start, it’ll hit the 100kph mark in 13.6 seconds. For its price, which starts at 2.08 lakh, the Hexa is a well thought-out product. Yes, it has a few chinks, but as a premium people mover, it offers loads of cabin space, tech and features.