The Tata Hexa was scheduled to hit the Indian car market in early 2016, after the luxury crossover was first showcased at the Geneva Motor Show this year. The Aria is one of Tata Motors’ biggest flops in recent years, and the Hexa is the vehicle that aims to mend this.
The Hexa is based on the Aria, but wears a new top hat that makes it look quite different. This difference is what Tata Motors hopes will make their new crossover sell. The launch of the Hexa has been advanced, with Mayank Pareek reportedly telling CNBC-TV18 that the flagship Tata crossover would be launched later this year.
The festive season is a good time to expect the Hexa to hit the Indian car market. Car demand and sales peak during this period. If Tata Motors times the launch for October-November 2015, the new crossover may get a good, clean run at success.
Talkind design, the Hexa comes with a new bonnet and front end. These changes give the vehicle a distinct design from that of the Aria. While the Aria looked more like an MPV, the Hexa is the more butch version, which in fact looks more like an SUV or a crossover.
The styling changes are carried over to the rear of the crossover as well. The X’Mas tree tail lamps, a typical styling trait on Tata cars makes way for horizontal tail lamps, a trend that was started by the Zest compact sedan. The profile of the Hexa is very similar to that of the Aria, which gives away the new crossover’s Aria base.
The other major changes on the Hexa have to do with the mechanicals and interiors. The engine is a 2.2 liter Varicor diesel unit that now produces 154 Bhp-400 Nm. These outputs should ensure that the Hexa is a peppy vehicle with good initial acceleration. The fast accelerating Mahindra XUV500 might finally have solid competition from Tata.
Other major mechanical changes on the Hexa will include the addition of 6 speed manual and automatic transmissions, with the latter being sourced from General Motors. Like the Aria, the Hexa is expected to be sold with rear wheel drive and all wheel drive layouts.
Coming to the interiors, premium fit and finish levels were seen on the showgoing version of the Hexa. If the same kind of interiors make it to the production version, the Hexa will be the most opulent Tata car ever built. The infotainment interface gets a redesign, while ambient lighting and a comfortable 6 seat layout are standard.
So, what happens to the Aria?
There are two things Tata Motors could do.
1. The Aria could be discontinued, as the crossover’s poor numbers mean that it is a loss making proposition for the Indian car and utility vehicle giant. In this case, the Hexa will be the clear cut replacement of the Aria.
2. The Aria could continue being sold, but with heavy repositioning. The Aria may be targeted at the cab market after the repositioning, with only cut price versions being sold.
Should you buy the Aria or wait for the Hexa?
We suggest that you wait for the Tata Hexa, now that the launch has been advanced to the end of this year. The festive season is less than 6 months away, and this is the window that’s likely to see the Hexa’s market launch. Also, the Hexa promises to a vastly improved vehicle, with better quality levels all around, a more powerful diesel engine, and the choice of manual and automatic gearboxes. Tata Motors is also likely to go in for sharp pricing on the Hexa, after learning lessons from the Aria debacle.