One weekend, the family decided to head out to Pune, and, for a number of reasons, our car of choice was the Tata Hexa.
First, being an crossover, it would be spacious and comfortable enough, especially since my mother-in-law was travelling with us. However, she faced some difficulty getting into the Hexa’s high-set rear seat and had to use a stepping stool that joined us on our journey to Pune.
She wasn’t really convinced that I picked the Hexa with her comfort in mind until she settled down in the amply spacious backseat! Stretched out, she was soon making calls while we loaded the luggage into the car. With a house in Pune, there is always a lot stuff that goes back and forth. And all of it fit in the back with the rear seats flipped down, but because the seats don’t really fold flat, things kept sliding down towards the door and we had to remember to be careful while opening it.
My husband wanted to try out the Hexa first and I was happy to let him cut through Mumbai traffic. He was impressed with how smooth the car actually feels and how responsive it is, but what bothered him was the sound from the blower, which even at low fan speeds was distinctly audible. However, he loved the responsiveness of the transmission but felt that it held onto a gear for a bit too long before upshifting, and that made the engine sound like it was working too hard.
Still, it never hampered progress and we were soon out on the freeway, cruising at a comfortable speed. This is where the Hexa auto really comes into its own and feels its best. Now, normally, my mother-in-law would be complaining away at the back about the condition of the roads but we hadn’t heard a peep out of her. She was actually so comfy that she dozed off soon after we started. The ride quality of the Hexa is commendable and it doesn’t let you feel how bad the road surfaces are.
Once we got on to the expressway, I took over the wheel, as the straight and wide road makes my husband sleepy. The Hexa was in its comfort zone down the highway and I never really needed to use the manual mode at all. Even in auto, put your foot down and there is enough power to weave through the slower moving traffic on the highway and keep going smoothly. It feels extremely stable and planted even at higher speeds and the steering provides a good sense of confidence. However, the downside is that the steering is heavy in slower driving conditions and that was further accentuated when we had to cut through the evening Pune traffic and head into our narrow basement parking.
On its first intercity trip, our long-term Hexa proved to be quite comfortable. What I would have liked, though, is a few more storage spaces in the cabin; there’s only one cup holder in the central area. Also, it’s a bit cumbersome for passengers to exit the car. The door does not automatically unlock when the ignition is turned off, and to open it, you’ll need to reach for the awkwardly placed old-school, slippery door knob.
These few flaws aside, the Hexa made light of the drive to Pune and proved to be a solid and secure highway companion.