Have Tata Motors finally hit the nail on the head?
On the inside
There are even less traces of the Aria on the inside, in fact the interior cabin of the Aria has been ripped out and in comes something we have never seen on a car with the T on the nose. Almost every surface that you can touch is layered in a soft-touch plastic, in fact only the surround of the dials and the panel around the drive mode selector is hard scratchy plastic that earlier was the predominant material in a Tata cabin. The seats are particularly well finished, with inputs from a vendor that does seats for Mercedes-Benz – it is not only nicely bolstered and supportive but has neat perforation and even neater (white) stitching. The rear captain seats (the Hexa can be had in 6-seater and 7-seater layouts) are even better, with integrated armrests, so much so that my colleague Adil Darukhanawala who has just taken delivery of his new Innova Crysta proclaimed it to be better than on his new MPV. An added convenience is (manually adjustable) sunblinds for the middle row passengers, though the hooks for this could have been a little more discreet and better finished.
Does anything shake or rattle? Well nothing did in our 200km first drive and while not a final verdict on quality that’s a good start. The arm rest lid is spring loaded and does not rattle like a flimsy item. The secondary glove box opening mechanism could have been done better but that too is spring loaded and doesn’t feel flimsy. The air-con vents have a neat slider mechanism to shut it. There are deep door pockets for bottles and knick-knacks. So much has been thought about that one wonders why didn’t Pratap and his team think of integrating a neat little slot on the centre console to place a mobile phone.
In keeping with the times the Hexa gets an acoustically-tuned 10-speaker JBL-branded audio system and ConnectNext infotainment from Harman with a suite of mobile phone apps. For instance the offline NaviMaps navigation is on the phone and is mirrored on the 5-inch touch screen of the stereo when connected via a cable. The Juke-Car app uses a mobile hotspot to make a common playlist of tracks, the owners manual is also on the app while you can even personalise media and mood lighting settings from the phone.
On the safety front the Hexa gets six airbags (twin front, side and curtain bags), ESP and ABS as standard on the top-end variant. There’s also hill hold and hill descent control.
There’s also a good amount of space. The middle row has plenty of leg room even with the front seats pulled all the way back while the third row is acceptable enough for short journeys even if access is not all that convenient. I must also mention the air-con that is not roof-mounted for the rear passengers but neatly integrated into the pillars and deliver excellent cooling.