Tata’s latest SUV, Hexa, strums a strong cord in between two popular favourites, Toyota Innova Crysta and Mahindra XUV500. In fact it looks like a blend between a large premium MPV and an all-wheel drive SUV, and in the process trumps the two in terms of spec-sheet. We already know the XUV500 is a very capable off-road machine that is feature loaded and is very well-priced as well. On the other hand Toyota Innova Crysta comes out as a spacious comfortable MPV with classy interiors and tremendous mile munching prowess. But the Hexa defines itself that is a mix of both these contenders with lots of space, character and above all performance.
The freshest of the bunch, Tata Hexa has an imposing aura with an expression of power. It looks strong and modern with enough chrome and great looking projector headlamps. Defined wheel arches and cladding will accept minor scrapes add to its butch appeal. The 19 inch alloy wheels look really cool but the rear is a bit unexciting. In terms of looks Innova Crysta follows a more bold and classy approach. We believe Toyota recognises Crysta will serve multiple needs such as a long-distance tourer, a delegate transport, a family car and perhaps a red carpet concierge, and hence has that elegant exterior interior combination. XUV500, though the oldest design here, still manages to capture the most eyeballs. It looks big and aggressive with its cheetah inspired front whiskers and powerful looking shoulders.
Tata engineers have worked really hard on the interior of the Hexa and it just reflects when you step inside. The dash offers quality plastics and good levels of fit and finish mean they’ll hold when you bash around off-road trails. Seats are decent too with fantastic stitching and all-round support. Tata also roped in the captain seat 6-seater setup as a bonus. But step inside the Innova Crysta and you realise how Toyota has managed to garner strong sales despite a price hike. Everything inside exudes class and quality in the Innova. It offers goodies like trays for the second row and a sense of richness adding to snob value of this MPV. XUV500’s cabin is spacious, feature-packed and decently designed. In fact the only grip here is that styling has been taken too over the top. But it still strikes harmony to its customers with its sunroof, puddle lamps and cool centre box. Boot capacity is won by the Crysta with 300litre storage with the 3rd row of seats. Hexa only manages 128litre boot capacity with its 3rd row.
All these cars offer powerful diesel power plants and they come paired with manual or automatic transmissions. The difference is that the Hexa slightly edges ahead with more power and torque figures. Also Innova Crysta is the only one without a 4-wheel drive option, and obviously as it is not an SUV. But it is the only one with a petrol engine option if you do wish for one. Crysta also has the nicest ride quality tackling uneven highway surfaces with confidence. Tata Hexa comes with traction control, hill hold, hill descent and drive modes, meaning engineers designed it with convenience and safety in line with its capabilities. And the 4-wheel drive hardware means it has no problem tackling rough patches with ease. XUV500 isn’t far behind with its civilised road manners and off-road capabilities when summoned. But it has noticeable body roll and perhaps even the hardware under the bonnet requires a serious update.
Hexa, the new kid on the block, is making some ripples making its rivals uncomfortable. And why not, it comes with more power, quality cabin, lots of safety features and comfortable seats. If you want a 4-wheel drive setup, the Crysta falls out of the list, but the Toyota is so good you might consider ditching the need for 4-wheel drive. XUV500 is aging now but still stands as a well-priced and feature packed SUV. Hexa has taken everybody by surprise. It is big and spacious and can also deal with the rough stuff when the mood takes you. Just hang back for the price which will be the decider for who wins.