Clicky

badge

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tata Hexa Offroad 4x4 Capabilities and our Experience!

After our 170 km+ drive, we had an off-road session with the Hexa. During this 20 minute drive, we were taken on an off-road track that demonstrated various abilities of the mighty new SUV from Tata Motors. This drive was conducted by Cougar Motorsports folks, who are experts in off road adventures. Unfortunately we bloggers couldn't drive (for safety reasons I guess) but we could sit in the car and experience being driven off-road. This post explains the off-road abilities of the new Tata Hexa. Detailed review of Hexa's remaining features is covered in this post.
Before we proceed, note that the mode is called Rough Road mode, not Off Road Mode. I think there is a reason for it. We'll talk about this towards the end.
Once in Rough Road mode, Hexa's electronically controlled All Wheel Drive system kick in. This 4x4 system is designed by US based Borg Warner. (They supply these to JLR too)

1. ESP and Torque on Demand to deal with Cross Axle situation
Hexa can stand on 2 wheels. That is, even if two diagonal wheels are not having any traction (i.e. they are in the air or on loose gravel), remaining two wheels can keep the car steady. This feature seems straight from Land Rover family. Many ordinary SUVs supply say 60% power to front 2 wheels and remaining 40 to rear two wheels. Imagine a cross axle situation in which front left and rear right wheels are in the air- SUVs that don't have torque on demand feature (or ability to feed specific power to each 4 wheels) will supply 30% to front right and 20% rear left wheel (another 30+20% power sent to wheels in the air will go waste), making it tough to come out of cross axle situation. Hexa can supply 50% power each to the two wheels that have traction and thus the car can recover from cross axle situation very easily.
Notice the flexibility of the wheels in these photos. When Hexa is standing on two wheels, it is pretty stable even if you open the door, get out or get in.

We also drove on ICE Cubes on one side, to simulate driving on snow. When the left two wheels didn't get enough traction because of ice, Hexa's LSD (Limited Slip Differential) transfers all power to right two wheels, which had traction, to enable coming out of the tricky situation.

2. Water wading depth of 450 mm: 
I am told Hexa has a water wading depth of 450 meters (as told to me by the Caugar Motorsports staff performing off-road driving). If true, that is very impressive (Landrover Discovery Sport has 600 mm, Tata Safari has 300 mm)

With cities getting flooded every monsoon, higher water wading depth lets you negotiate more deeper water without water entering inside the vehicle. Most rivals of Hexa have water wading depth in the range of 300 to 350 mm.

Unlike the Landrover experience, our Hexa offroad track didn't have a large pond to swim the Hexa through.

3. Hill Descent Control (HDC)
Hill descent control, when engaged, ensures that vehicle doesn’t go faster than a pre-set speed- say 8 kmph. If you are negotiating steep descent, you don’t have to keep pressing the brake to prevent over-speeding- Hill Descent control will do it for you. Note that HDC should be engaged manually (HHC is automatic)

4. Hill Hold Control. (HHC)
If you are on steep ascent, hill hold control will prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards.
5. Electronic Brake Pre-fill
Hexa has smart sensors that can detect if driver is in a panic mode. If you are going at high speed and remove your leg off the accelerator abruptly, vehicle will sense that something could be wrong and it will "prepare" the brakes to engage, even before you press the brake lever. This way, even before you move your leg from accelerator to brake pedal, braking system is ready to deploy and is waiting for your command. Moment you press the pedal, braking is applied at its full potential-minimizing the reaction time and enabling much faster stopping.

Watch a video below (or click here to watch on YouTube


Hexa is pretty stable in hard braking conditions. There is zero to minimum fishtail effect (car swinging to the side on its rear part)
6. Banking
Hexa can tilt up to 22 degrees without toppling over. Approach and departure angles are slightly less than that of Safari Storme. ESP with rollover mitigation keeps the car stable.

The Rough roader vs Off-Roader
Tata Hexa is a great SUV with decent off road ability but note that Hexa is not positioned as a hard core off-road vehicle.  Few shortfalls I can list are
  • Ability to select 4H/4L or 2H modes (not available in Hexa, but available in Safari Storme)
  • A provision to replace stock tyres with larger and thicker off-road tyres (In Hexa you can only go for same diameter tyres with different thread profile. If you had larger/thicker tyres, it will hit the wheel arc and suspension will have no room to play. Whereas Tata Safari, Fortuner or Pajero can take bigger tyres as they have larger wheel arc.
  • More ground clearance (200 mm is good but hard core SUVs have little more ground clearance.
But these things are fine. Hexa may not go hunting for non existent roads like Safari Storme, but if you throw a challenging terrain at it, Hexa will not hesitate to try and in most scenarios will be able to clear the obstacle. Please note that there is no vehicle that can go anywhere and everywhere. Each vehicle will have its design limitations as to what it can or can’t do. Drivers should inspect the track to ensure that their vehicle is capable of negotiating it. The Hexa Off-road track was custom designed keeping in mind design limitations of the vehicle. Do use your discretion and adequate precautions while off-roading on your own. Also note that footboard was removed in these 4x4 Hexas.
Indian Bloggers 
Update: As per a story in ZigWheels, Hexa 4x4 with AT will be launched in late 2017, this is to prevent higher price ticket during the launch time.

Similar: Land Rover Off-road Experience * Merc LuxeDrive * Offroad with Terratigers * Hexa Manual vs Automatic

9 comments :

Mridula said...

Hill Descent and hill hold seem to be built for people like me! I find it so difficult to hold on an incline!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

That is great--- when you book your Hexa, please give my name as referral.. :)

Subhadip Mukherjee said...

Yes we all did see your youga / dance on top of the Hexa ;)

Chandra Shekhar said...

Simply loved this car and review. After a test drive, if I'm satisfied, surely will book it. :)

T R Gowthama said...

Hill decline is my favourite with Hexa. Quite interesting innovation, with careful promotion it'd rule the automotive sector. Nice review Srinithi.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Subhadip :LOL...

@Chandra-Sure. best wishes

@TRG- Hill Descent control is pretty standard in modern SUVs- Hexa is not the first one to have it, but yes, very useful feature. Thanks

Rajesh said...

That sounds like a decent car from TATA Motors.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Rajesh- Yes

Anonymous said...

when are they Starting the booking with TD