Tag Archives: Tata motors

A HEXAbulous attitude!

Tata Hexa1Well, it feels very awkward to review a product of group going through upheaval. Even Tata Motors’ stock took a beating in last two days, although it wasn’t that sharp today as it was yesterday. Many things are being said and a lot among that might not be favourable for Tata motors in current scenario.

Rough roads for TATA Motors!

Tata Hexa8But our Hexa has a ‘rough road mode’ to steer one out of all types of pits & trenches in the way. So, will Hexa be a winner for TATA Motors? Well, that will be known only in coming months. But as far as reviews are concerned, Hexa is certainly capable of keeping the mood upbeat in the TATA camp.

It was a big testing last week for Hexa in Hyderabad. From media to bloggers to dealers- everybody had chance to feel this latest arrival in the TATA motors stable. Hexa was well anticipated. It was there in Geneva Motor Show last year as a concept and in the our Auto Expo early this years the product. Hence the interest already generated, the real reviewers (even unreal like me) were eagerly waiting to be on the driver’s seat. That happened finally this October. For me, personally it was the second straight year of reviewing a new Tata car- I can say it two in two courtesy Tata Motors and Indiblogger. First Tiago (Zica at the time of test drive) and now Hexa. But both belong to quite different segments. During Tiago’s launch Tata motors was beaming with recently happened brand promotion deal with none other than Lionel Messi. Hence the whole atmosphere reeled around that. May be Tata needed that energy to enter a tough segment of mid-level hatchbacks. Hexa is quite different. But it is still a first for Tata.

Tata Hexa2Tata Motors has seen it all- best and worst of the market. They had a couple of disasters and a few hits as well. Main thing about Tata is that they never loose heart or drop their shoulders. They had always tried to expand their brand value, either through wide range of products or even acquisitions of other brands like JLR.

Tata Hexa3Hexa is the most premium car till date by Tata motors. And seriously, Tata has left no stone unturned in making this car to actually look like a superbly premium car good enough to attract the premium car buyers. Simply saying- it has got the looks, it has got the attitude and it has certainly got the features. Actually, Tata had that challenge to beat the historical assumption of the market that its cars might have the looks but they miss on finesse of premium cars. Hexa is out there to kill this theory and it might well succeed in this.

Tata Hexa4Hexa has that rich feel- inside and outside. It is feature loaded as Tata itself brands it. And it has lot to do with the various international collaborations that Tata has been doing off-late for its vehicles. Even the car designs are said to be the joint efforts of its all three international teams. We did see much of it in Tiago and trend has continued to Hexa in a lot improved manner. 10 speaker JBL System uses unique technology from Harman and believe me, the music inside the car is something to cherish for. For techno savvy premium users it also has a host of applications for various controls through its ConnetNext App suite. Hexa allows seamless integration of its apps with smartphones.

Tata Hexa5There is a lot more like touch screen infotainment, cruise control, leather seats, eight colour ambient mood lighting, 8-way adjustable driver’s seat, rear sun blinds, reverse parking camera. A lot of these features need more detailed assessment for the readers as how a beast with a 200mm clearance and 19 inch alloy wheels can be a perfect off-road travel partner and similar other things. There are many features which one might not find in other vehicles of this class or even class above.

Tata Hexa6Its about the basic things as of now- Hexa comes with a 2.2L Varicor400 diesel engine. This car comes with variants of 6 speed manual and automattic transmissions. For a person like me, who had rarely driven a automatic variant before, driving in the auto transmission variant was a lovely experience. It also come with super-drive modes- auto, comfort, dynamic and rough road— time to wear your attitude, it seems! A car in the premium segment has to be safe and Hexa comes with a lot in this too, such as  six airbags, ABS+EBD+ESP and Hill hold, hill descent & traction control.

Tata Hexa7Although this fact goes with every vehicle but Tata Hexa can be really used to suit your personality, whatever you are or whatever you wish to become on your drive. But Tata Hexa has as much comfort for the passenger, as it has the thrill for the driver. This wide and long car has six and seven seat variants. Boot space is not big enough but then foldable seats in the third and second rows and even the seat next to driver gives quite a handful options to adjust bigger things. We had two colours for test drives- dark blue and silver grey. There might be more colours later.

As it always happens, we tend to explore similarities and comparisons. In SUV/MUV segment we have seen many entrants off late and therefore Hexa draws a lot of thought in mind of reviewers. From calling it as an advance version of Tata Aria to compare it with Innova Crysta or XUV500 or Endeavour, many verdicts are out. But Tata itself has not placed it in any bracket so far as the prices have not been revealed. Bookings start from November this year (not too far) and first deliveries are scheduled in mid-January. Till then, we have some time to ride on our fabulous experiences. Catch you up with more very soon.

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A thrill named Hexa

A new dawn!
A new dawn!

It is certainly going to create a sensation. It has got the looks and it has also got the attitude. It is going to interest a lot many thrill seekers. Tata Motors can expect to have rolled down a winner in Hexa. Well, still time for a detailed experience (some might call it a review), but till then here is a video to have a feel of this fantastic machine on wheels.

Sure to get some limelight
Sure to get some limelight

Watch the video carefully and listen to what expert from TATA says about this beast. It is feature loaded with many firsts in the segment. Watch how it uses the traction control to steer out the vehicle from pits as deep as 20 inches; how its sturdy body balances itself on a surface tilt of 23 degrees (unbelievable); and also how it manoeuvres itself to clear a surface as challenging as melting ice. It also comes with a unique ‘hill descend control’ feature to top those creepy steep hilly slopes. It has got many firsts in moods and modes- lot more to come and till then enjoy this video.

Disclaimer: The publication of this post just incidentally coincides with exit of Cyrus Mistry as chairman of TATA Sons. Nothing intentional.

Divas, Alila and the Goa

Goa is always fun and fascinating. It charms you everytime. So has been my second trip to Majorda beach in South Goa, albeit a short one. This time around, it was to test drive ZICA from Tata Motors on the streets of South Goa from Majorda to Verna, in an event put together by Indiblogger for 60 bloggers from across India. Although couldn’t get any time on beach at sunset or sunrise, but still had some lasting impressions. Few of them put here together-

Beach of fun-filled activities

Majorda Beach

Flying high in seas of Goa

Parasailing

Parasailing2

Waiting for the tourists

Majorca Beach2

Under watchful eyes!

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Man in Red!

Beach Patrol

This is no way to patrol!

Beach cycling

Some sort of playing fun on beach!

Beach volleyball aka football

Catching everything in the frame!

Beach Silhouette

When in Goa, don’t hurry for a curry!

Goa & curry

Our host in Majorda was beautiful Alila Diwa Goa, a luxury resort amidst coconut trees and paddy fields and not far from beach, though not exactly on beach. Some of the images of the hotel were very striking- Alila Diwa1

The reception area

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The night lights!

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The alley to the south block

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The reflections!

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Alila DiwaGoa never fails to entertain. It flows like a river, somewhere inside you!!

Goa river

This ZICA is confident and agile

ZICA Top shotThe whole ZICA experience was put together by Indiblogger who took 60 bloggers from the country for a ride (not literally), a drive actually. So, that Sunday morning there were more than 20 brand new ZICA cars (10 petrol and 10 diesel) were trolling up & down the streets of Goa with a team of three bloggers per car for an ultimate driving experience. Fortunate were those (like yours truly) who had two non-driver bloggers in their car, as then they got to drive the test-vehicle for the full distance.

So, now we continue with my experience with the car. In the last post, we talked about interiors. This time around, I will discuss some of the performance features, which were easily graspable for a novice like me.

I got to drive the diesel variant of ZICA. And almost immediately all of us three— me and two fellow bloggers- Ila Johari alias The Flea market Queen and Divisha Mehta who Thinks Fashion, were quickly relieved that this doesn’t sounds like Indica. For many it would sound like a good compliment. A passenger car gets killed once it gets fancied by the taxi operators. ZICA will dost likely avoid this fate, even for its diesel variant, seems to be the verdict.

The team D8

A truly unique feature about ZICA is ‘multi (its actually twin) driving mode’. Car gives you two modes to drive- City and Eco. City, when you have to zip.. zap.. zoom.. in the city traffic— halting and moving very often. Eco modes comes into play when you are more on a steady, long drive and where you can save the precious fuel. So when actually we were driving on streets of South Goa, we could feel the difference. City mode gives you quick pick-up and accelerator push. On Eco mode you might feel the car running a bit heavy, but that is actually because of the parameters fixed in the car for the Eco mode. Hence, for those who love to value their vehicles on fuel-efficiency, it is indeed a welcome feature.

ZICA

But that’s not the only thing that TATA Motors have done with ZICA to increase the fuel efficiency. Its Revotorq (Revotron for the Petrol variant) engine has got light and efficient all-aluminium construction. It also comes with a variable intake cam timing (it is process of altering the timing of a valve lift event) for superior performance and lower emissions. This overall lowers the maintenance cost of the engine.

ZICA EngineWell, you can always just look to your metre screen on the dashboard to check the fuel economy (average fuel consumption and instantaneous fuel consumption) or the mode you are driving in. Changing the mode is just as easy as switching on a button. There is also a gear shift indicator on the dashboard to remind you on which gear are you driving in. The multi-information display on the instrument panel also estimates the distance you can travel before your tank goes dry. Thus you can plan when to fill. Nice one for the longer drives.

ZICA also comes with some best in class safety features which include dual front airbags and corner stability control on emergency braking. For an unlikely and unfortunate situation of crash ZICA has energy absorbing body structure for better safety. While on test drive, we never had an emergency braking situation, but the accelerating and braking both were pretty smooth. It was helped with EPAS (power steering) with Active Return Function which ensures 95% return ability. That means- after a sharp turn, steering returns almost to its normal position quickly and effortlessly. And we felt so in many of the u-turns that we had to take in course of our test-drive. For a comfortable drive and superior handling it also has a Advanced Dual Path Suspension.

ZICA FrontAs TATA says, ZICA comes with a new design language capable enough of making a style statement in modern India. It has been crafted with utmost precision for a premium feel.

ZICA will have a hell lot of competitors in the segment of hatchbacks in 4.5 Lacs to 6.00 Lacs Rs price range, right from Swift to Brio to Elite i20 to Figo to Etios Liva to Polo to Grand i10 and much more. It will be surely a tough drive for TATA Motors. But with a champion brand ambassador (no guesses for Lionel Messi), new multifaceted TATA emblem and a signature hexagon grill ZICA seems to have a lot in its ammunition to hold them considerably.

ZICA side shot

A wholesome awesome ZICA

ZICA

Prelude:

Tough to write about a car in times when ‘odds’ are so stacked against them from Paris to Delhi. Well, I will still try to hold an ‘even’ course during this post. With so much hullabaloo on pollution around, on return from Goa, I was just wondering that what would be the new buying decisions for the cars. But then couple of days before, one of my close journalist friend called on. She said, that she had two even numbered cars and now she wanted to sell one and buy another odd numbered one. She wanted me to accompany for the new purchase.

ZICA in South GOAHer call cleared few of my doubts. A fear that many had already expressed in the raging debate. I was sure that its certainly not the car sales that are going to be affected. I could have now written my review without any prejudices!

……………………

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The show begins!

Overview:

Reviewing Cars has not been my cup of tea, actually being a travel writer, biker and adventure lover reviewing hotels, destinations and even bikes was certainly enjoyable and easier. But for me adventure means taking up new challenges and test-driving ZICA was absolutely one that I loved to take up. And doing so in serene settings of Majorda in Goa was always an added motivation.

The chequered flagPost-drive I had two thoughts in my mind— What makes people decide about a car they like to buy? Colours vibrant enough to match their nail polishes? Car is just a utility or it is style statement? It is by no means a normal decision. A person buys a car as a partner to it or the family for atleast next four to five years. That’s the reason companies leave no stone unturned in making an appealing statement with their cars.

Photographing the obvious!
Photographing the obvious!

Second big question I had is— which is the biggest segment in the passenger cars? There were times when Maruti 800 used to have the biggest share in volume of passenger cars. But that segment has by itself transformed a lot. Tata Nano and Maruti Alto still remain the basic level choices but that is now no more the talked about segment. Most talked about segment is the one where the volume is, and we can say it very safely that in the changed economic scenario we have seen the upward mobility of the entry level segment, which till a couple of years ago was located somewhere in the Wagon-R range. New entry level choices in the four-wheelers are placed somewhere in 5-6 Lacs Rs range. That’s where Tata’s new entrant is likely to be placed. (I say likely as it is yet to be officially launched and we still don’t know about the prices. Got to wait for few more months.)

Placing our new star in both the above scenarios and we can easily say that ZICA is a winner. ZICA is a hatchback as every new car is, especially in the entry and middle level segments. Now normally its the luxury segment where sedans comes to the play.

Interior:

DSC_3348A car has to be reviewed in two ways- first, the driving comfort and second is performance. Driving comfort is something that entices us most and that includes almost all the look & feel affecting everybody entering the car—whether a driver or a passenger. ZICA clearly has many edges in this field and has to its credit many firsts in the category. ZICA justifies TATA MOTORS efforts to bring a cream of automotive designers from all its design centres under one roof at its design centre in Turin in Italy. And it was indeed amazing to do so starting from a scratch in just under 36 months.

All lined up!
All lined up!

We have to agree with the TATA MOTORS team when they say that special thought has been placed for different emerging needs while designing this car. Whether it is air-conditioning or music experience or leg-space or storage spaces—there is an improvisation on every front. And actually when you put an idea about few little things than you easily become a trendsetter and ZICA can surely claim to bring many things to the segment.

Made of Great!
Made of Great!

Roof lamp has been shifted from front to middle and it uses a white LED bulb to maintain the colour harmony of the interiors. One of the most talked about feature about ZICA is increased storage. The parking brake has been shifted from centre towards driver side to add many storage places in the console. To be precise ZICA has 7 bottle holders and two cup holders to store more than 5 litres of liquids for your drive. Overall it has 22 storage spaces for different utilities whether it is your parking ticket or tablet.

Made of Beauty!
Made of Beauty!

Not just the colours are trendy and the colour of car reflects even in its interiors, ZICA also bears a sporty look with a big spacious boot of more than 240 litres capacity. Headlamps are 3D with smoked lens, sporty black bezel and sharp tail lamps. Another excellent experience of ZICA is its music and I can say that it was among the best in-driving music experiences I ever had—a surround sound helped by eight speakers which does not offend even at high volumes. TATA’s have collaborated with Harman for the exclusive infotainment system and its worth every penny. Interestingly, for a hassle-free driving there is steering mounted control panel as well. Blue tooth connectivity for a smartphone integration is a norm but ZICA also has two another first-in-segment features: a step-by-step (turn-by-turn) smartphone enabled navigation app. It worked fantastically all through our drive and despite there being no pilots or navigators, we were able to negotiate streets of south Goa for almost three hours very easily and without feeling lost at any point. This navigation also displays on the infotainment screen. Car also has rear parking sensors with display on its infotainment screen.

ZICA dashboardAnother thing about car’s music system is its first-in-segment Juke-Car App which actually lets every passenger in the car feed its choice of the song to the queue of the system so as everybody has control of the playlist and not just the driver. TATA Motors also claim that each door’s speaker grill has about 3500 surfaces done by a designer to give the best acoustic experience.

Scooped up back!
Scooped up back!

I will add couple of other things to this part of the review of the interior of ZICA. First is the seating comfort. A more than three hour non-stop drive nowhere felt as tiring or exhaustive, it was actually enjoyable. Driver’s seat is adjustable for height as well to get the best position. In an another smart innovation the front seat have been scooped from the back to give the passengers on the back a bit of more extra legroom. Having landed in hot & humid GOA from cools of Delhi made us enjoy the car-cooling as well. For quick cooling ZICA has driver and passenger centric AC-vents and I could feel the difference in the air-flow.

DesignNext
DesignNext

Well, that’s all as of now. More about driving experience and the comfort of car in the next post.

Majorda calling! Once again!!

I have very beautiful memories of Majorda in South Goa, the last time I went there. We were there for a trekking programme and our camp was right on the beach. It is one of the most lovely beaches in Goa that I have been too in all those years! And here again, I am off to Majorda this weekend for an exciting trip as a part of group of 60 bloggers from around the country who will test drive the latest addition to Tata Motors stable- a hatchback this time- Zica. With Lionel Messi recently roped in as the brand ambassador of Tata Motors, this campaign is aptly tagged as #madeofgreat

This is a view from last time, cycling on the Majorda beach.

Majorda4

And another one-

Majorda3

Now that’s what Zica actually looks like (more about the car, when we actually see it) –

Zica

Zica3

Exciting stuff. This look was unveiled just a few days back and the 60 bloggers from the Indiblogger community will be among the first ones in the country the test drive the new car. And the event will be hosted by Alila Diwa Goa, part of the Alila Hotels group. This is an image of the hotel-

Alila_Diwa

Alila Diwa is located at Gonsua Beach in Majorda, just a 20 minutes drive from Goa’s Dabolim International Airport, set amidst lush rice plantations. Well, more about it later after the trip. Sunsets in Arabian Sea at Majorda are as beautiful or perhaps more than other places in Goa. I say more because I found this place calmer and more relaxing than other typical beaches of North Goa.

Have a look at few snapshots of the setting sun (sorry for the noise in the photo, as they have been poorly scanned from the print, as that was the time of film cameras)-

 

Majorda2

Majorda6

Majorda1

Majorda7

Majorda5

So, lot more about it after the return. Wishing all fellow bloggers for a fun-filled trip.