It’s natural for anyone even remotely in touch with the automotive industry to draw parallels between the upcoming Tata Hexa and the Aria that it replaces. Tata Motors certainly have the job cut for themselves because it’s not been a segment strong for the company, and the competition is quite huge, too. We look at how the very promising Tata Hexa can make a mark where Tata’s previous products couldn’t.
The Aria wasn’t a bad looking vehicle by any means, but in the day and age when everyone loves an SUV, the Aria fell short of extra claddings and the needed stance. The Hexa, even without the optional ‘Tuff’ accessory pack, looks more purposeful. It moves away from the MPV image of the Aria and settles for a more crossover SUV slot, somewhat like the XUV500.
It can be made to look, erm, tough with the said package. And unless you’re too interested in the chrome-laden appearance of the standard car, the ‘Tuff’ version should be applied the moment you purchase the Hexa. It makes the vehicle slightly more stealth but adds a lot to the looks.
The recent products by Tata Motors have seen a monumental improvement in the quality of in-cabin materials, overall fit and finish, and of course the design. The Hexa is going to be no different. The Auto Expo exhibit ensure the interior is in a different class, and thus a huge improvement over what you got in the Aria. The feature-rich cabin feels solid and thankfully less gimmicky. The design is cleaners, and gone are the endless roof-mounted stowage compartments from the Aria. Thank God for that!
Talking of features, apart from a Harman-sourced touchscreen infotainment system (complete with 10 speakers) and leather upholstery, the Hexa also gets climate control AC, steering mounted controls, cruise control, and even six airbags. The captain seats equipped vehicle will be able to seat six while there will be a seven-seat variant as well.
And making an appearance for the first time at this price point (we are looking at a little above what one would pay for the Aria) is a Land Rover’s Terrain Response System-like drive mode selector. Unlike the more off-road orientated options on LRs, this one gets four modes: Auto, Comfort, Dynamic, and Rough Road.
On the outside, the better-equipped trims will get projector headlamps, LED DRLs, alloy wheels, and even electrically-adjustable and folding outside rear-view mirrors.
Power- and drivetrain
While it continues to sit on the hydroformed body on frame structure of the Aria, the Hexa will be powered by a more powerful version of the 2.2-litre VariCOR engine — in essentially the same spec as the Safari Storme 400. The engine makes about 156PS and 400Nm of maximum torque.
AWD will be available although the platform is like the Aria’s, rear-wheel drive. Gearbox choices will include a standard 6-speed manual unit (from the Storme 400) and an optional six-speed automatic. The Aria, too, got an automatic but it was never launched in the Indian market. Hexa will be the first automatic crossover from Tata in India, then.
The 235-section, 19-inch wheels not only help it look good, but will be instrumental in highway stability and grip in difficult conditions.
We’ve heard good things about the Hexa, and it looks very promising indeed. It’s just a matter of a few days and we’ll also be able to tell how good it is from behind the wheel. Watch this space.