Tata Motors’ ongoing effort at brand reinvention started, in earnest, with the Tiago, a car that got the whole country to sit up and take notice again. The sales numbers back that up too, with an average of 5,000 units every month. It was quite an impressive feat – giving a mid-range hatchback a truly premium look and feel – something the brand was never previously known for.
However, the job at the other end of Tata’s model range was arguably a lot harder. When the car in question is a premium SUV costing Rs 12-18 lakh, expectations are a fair bit higher, and the erstwhile Aria never managed to pull it off. Under the skin, it had the right hardware –
the then-new ‘X2’ platform’s hydroformed ladder-frame chassis, a robust suspension that offered superb comfort and stability, and even four-wheel drive. But it looked too much like an MPV and lacked a premium feel, which is all too important at this price point.
The Aria has been succeeded by this, the Hexa, and it tackles those problems head on. It looks appropriately rugged and the interiors are on a new level for Tata, while the tough X2 underpinnings have been retained and given a makeover. Additionally, apart from just the feel-good factor and the styling, Tata says it drives like a proper SUV now – at least the top-spec manual version does, which gets 4x4 and a set of drive modes to choose from. So, the question we’re here to answer is, does the Hexa have what it takes to stand tall in the competitive premium SUV segment, and in doing so, can it leave us as impressed as its little sibling, the Tiago, did last year.
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Issue: 213 | Autocar India: May 2017
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