Tata Motors has upped the ante in the country’s passenger car market by planning a slew of new products across its portfolio. The next cog in this wheel of change from the homegrown car manufacturer debuted in the form of the Tata Hexa at Rs 11.99 lakh on Wednesday. Prices for the top-end XT AWD variant of the car will go up to Rs 17.49 lakh (both prices ex-showroom Delhi).

(Scroll down for variant-wise pricing)

The SUV will be the carmaker’s new flagship offering and will essentially replace the Aria in its lineup. Many in the industry believe that the Hexa could well be a game changer for Tata in this segment. Here’s why:

Modern design

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Despite being based on the Aria, the Hexa follows what Tata likes to call the ‘Impact Design Language,’ something that’s been conceptualised at across three of the company’s studios – in Italy, UK and India.

It’s a handsome-looking SUV, free from Tata’s overuse of lines. A muscular dual-coloured bumper and a large gloss black front grille with a chrome strip connecting the swept-back projector headlamps are prominent on the front while wraparound LED taillights and dual exhausts on the rear add to the butch overall appeal of the Hexa.

Sporty yet luxurious

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The all-black interiors certainly enhance the sporty feel of the car, even as premium upholstery, ambient lighting options and automatic climate control for each of the three rows impart it a soft touch of luxury. It will be available in both 6- and 7-seater configurations.

Moving on to the features, the Hexa gets a touchscreen infotainment unit with navigation. Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto elude the car but you can integrate your smartphone with the voice recognition system through the ConnectNext app suite. There’s also an 8-speaker JBL sound system with four door speakers, four tweeters, a centre speaker, sub-woofer and power amplifier.

In terms of safety the Tata Hexa comes packed with six airbags, ESP with traction control and state-of-the-art four-channel ABS with EBD, along with automatic headlamps and rain sensing wipers.

Updated powertrain

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Powered by the 2.2-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged VARICOR diesel engine, which makes 148bhp and 320Nm of torque on the XE trim and 154bhp and 400Nm on the other trims, the Hexa’s powertrain lineup is also a welcome departure from the Aria.

Power is transmitted to the wheels through either of a five-speed manual, a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox. The manual gets the option of both a rear-wheel-drive and an all-wheel-drive whereas the automatic is only available in a rear-wheel-drive configuration.

True to SUV nature

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Doing justice to its SUV positioning, the Tata Hexa gets four ‘Super Drive Modes’ on the manual in the form of the Auto, the Comfort, the Dynamic and the Rough Road. There’s also a Hill Hold Control and a Hill Descent Control.

On the other hand, the six-speed automatic gets the Economy, the Sport and the Auto-sensing Race Car Performance modes and also offers the choice of shifting gears manually.

Tough competitor

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Starting at Rs 11.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Tata Hexa will primarily rival the Mahindra XUV500. However, it could also eat into the market of the Toyota Innova Crysta with the wide variety of features and tech on offer.

Other SUVs/crossovers that could also lock horns with the Hexa in this price bracket include the Hyundai Creta, the Renault Duster, the Honda BR-V, the Mahindra Scorpio, the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross and the Nissan Terrano.

Variant-wise pricing (ex-showroom Delhi):

XE – Rs 11.99 lakh
XM – Rs 13.85 lakh
XM (Automatic) – Rs 15.05 lakh
XT – Rs 16.20 lakh
XT (Automatic) – Rs 17.40 lakh
XT 4×4 – Rs 17.49 lakh