2017 Tata Hexa XTA long term review: Introduction
If you've been following our reports for a while, you might remember that I'm quite in love with my long term Ignis. But recently, I had a rather important wedding to attend all the way down in Namakkal, Tamil Nadu. It's around 1,250km away from Mumbai, and I had just a day to cover that distance and another day to get back. As much as I love driving the Ignis in the city, covering a total of 2,500 kilometres over the weekend with a wedding in between all that would have been quite a handful in the Ignis. Fortunately, the Hexa automatic entered the OD Garage just in time to save the day. So I managed to pull in a few more friends to fill up the car and off we went.
The Hexa is very comfortable at high triple-digit speeds, and its excellent ride quality is the cherry on top!
While I wasn't a very big fan of the Hexa after driving the manual, the automatic really changed my mind. For me, the problem with the manual was that you had to constantly work the gearbox to extract the best performance from the rather slow-revving engine. It's the same with the automatic, except you don't have to do anything except modulate throttle input. The gearbox is pretty responsive and quick, so I never felt bogged down. The engine never felt strained at any point and maintaining good triple-digit speeds on the highway was easy as pie. But what I really enjoyed was the Hexa's ride quality. It irons out almost all the ruts and speed breakers without any complaints. This alone reduces tiredness quite a bit because you're not constantly scanning the road for potholes. The car irons them out like a steamroller, absorbing almost all of the impact. And fortunately, I didn't hear any complaints from the passengers in the third row about it being too jumpy.
I did, however, hear complaints about their ingress and egress. The captain seats in the second row wouldn't move enough to allow passengers to get to the third row conveniently. There was also a game of rock, paper, scissors very often between the tallest passengers to decide who sat at the back kneeroom wasn't the issue, headroom was.
Fuel efficiency is quiet poor and you'll be surprised at how quickly the digital fuel gauge gets to the orange zone
I, on the other hand, had a few complaints of my own - the first one being efficiency. For a car with a 60-litre tank, a 600km range isn't very good, especially on the highway. If I drove carefully, I'd see an average of around 11.5kmpl, but as soon as I got a little heavy footed, it would drop to around 9kmpl. The second complaint was about the brakes. At high speeds, with the car fully loaded, the brakes alone didn't seem enough to slow the car down sufficiently very often had to switch to Manual mode and downshift. If I stepped too hard on the brakes, the car would nose dive and throw everyone in a panic, and no driver likes panicky passengers. This characteristic was understandable, considering it was pretty heavy car with six people and luggage, but it was still unnerving.
But overall, the Hexa still is a very capable highway companion. It's not the easiest to drive around crowded city streets, but give it long stretches for tarmac broken or smooth and it will comfortably waft through without complaint.
Date acquired: May 2017
Inducted at: 14,250km
Current mileage: 17,670km
Fuel: 338.61 litres
Images: Anis Shaikh
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