Motoring

An image make-over

Hexa  

I have often heard from people “Tata can’t make cars. They can do trucks.” This has been the common perception. Of course, Tata Motors tried time and again to change this and launched several cars over the period of last few years. While, some were noisy, some were small. Some became fleet material while some just got written off due to bad marketing. However, amidst all this, there were some which got their due. Tata Safari, for instance, their flagship SUV was well received. And there were others which clocked good sales. But, all through this time the manufacturer, I believe, was trying in desperation to come out with a product that could be a family product. A product that would change their image and could change people’s attitude towards the brand.

With more of determination this time than desperation finally it appears that the home-grown car maker has got it right around this time. The last few launches of Zest, Bolt, and Tiago have started to bring in winds of change for them. And, it is I believe with the January 2017 launch of Hexa, their upcoming SUV, that they could strike a chord with the people.

To get a better feel of Hexa and get its drive experience we went in to Hyderabad this past week. And, we were all pleasantly surprised. Hexa continues the IMPACT design language of Tata Motors that was started with Tiago. And full marks to the design team. The car from the front with its daytime running lights, the signature Tata grille, the projector headlamps and the stylised fog lamps looks beautiful. On the rear you have got the contemporary wrap-around horizontal tail lamps with the first-in-India patented flexible LED technology, the twin exhausts and chrome accents. Nothing that would make it less pleasing to the eye.

From the looks of it, presuming you are continuing your old attitude, you have got to say ‘this is nothing like Tata’. It catches your attention the moment it passes by. And, you wonder how the interiors would be. Well, there are sculpted seats with contrast stitching. There is leather feel upholstery. There is eight-coloured cabin ambient lights. There is 10 speaker JBL system. And there is a list of many such features taking care of the passengers sitting in all three rows with their separate AC vents and charging points.

Hexa, it seems, is crafted. You might draw in some cues from Aria. But, I suggest, you still keep it to Hexa. There are two gearbox configurations with possibly three trims in each. One with the manual transmission that has the first-in-segment ‘super drive modes’ and the other with six-speed automatic transmission with an addition of sports mode. Both, however, have the same 2.2l diesel engine which delivers 400 Nm of torque with 156 PS of power.

The car drives smoothly with no noise inside the cabin. It is comfortable and it is true to its character of an SUV with big 19-inch alloys. There is rough road mode which helps you in off-roading and it does seem quite capable. The suspension takes in whatever is thrown at you.

Overall, Hexa is going to be very ‘Hexciting’ for Tata. They have put in much hard work in the making and what they are out with can possibly help them get an image make-over. After all, Tata Motors are soon going to be out with their lifestyle vehicle.

It remains to be seen how competitively the car is priced when it is launched.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 2:37:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Motoring/An-image-make-over/article16080393.ece

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