What is it?
Successor to the one that shall not be mentioned and competitor to the other than will also not be mentioned. Both these names were conspicuous by their absence at the Hexa media briefing but nevertheless we shall go ahead and mention them.
The first is the Aria. Surprisingly Tata Motors would rather that you didn’t remember their first stab at the MPV segment but haven’t Maruti and Hyundai also made duds? The thing to remember about the Aria is that it was an innovative alternative to the Innova, a cross between a people-moving MPV and a mud-plugging SUV, and Tata Motors only need to address the obvious shortcomings of the Aria to make a real success of the Hexa.
The second is the Innova, and for obvious reasons. It has been so far ahead of the game that Toyota could price it at whatever they feel like and yet couldn’t make enough of them. Notice the past tense. We’re talking Innova here, not the new Innova Crysta that has gone up in pricing and vacated a space that’s ripe for the picking. Doesn’t that present a golden opportunity for Tata Motors?
Under the skin the Hexa is based on the Aria and the key dimensions – wheelbase, length, width, even weight – are more or less similar. But it looks all-new thanks to a complete overhaul of the styling.
Under Pratap Bose, Tata Motors’ international team of stylists (TML has studios in Pune, Turin and Coventry) have infused real style, and consequently desirability, into the Tata range and the Hexa is a looker. Where the Innova is plane-jane, the Crysta over-the-top with its gaping grille, and XUV now quite commonplace thanks to its success, the Hexa is inarguably good-looking – butch, macho and muscular without resorting to overwrought and frivolous detailing. There are no gaping wheel-arch gaps, always a Tata bugbear until the Tiago wiped the slate clean. The ‘humanity line’ on the grille has become bolder and more aggressive. And the detailing is very neatly done – an example being the curved LED tail lights imported from South Korea as TML couldn’t find an Indian vendor who could deliver the required quality.
To keep in with the MPV/SUV crossover positioning the face is bold with a deep airdam and silver-finished skid plates on the front and rear bumper while all across the bottom portion of the Hexa is black plastic cladding that is now very neatly integrated with no disturbing gaps. Filling those wheel arches are massive 19-inch wheels shod with 235/55 tyres. The pillars are blacked out to give it a floating-roof impression while the shoulder line is interrupted by a neat chrome kink on the C-pillar.