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Old 18th July 2017, 00:57   #1
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Default Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

The terms Tata Hexa and off-roading do not seem to go together very well. A supremely comfortable 7 seater with 2 tonne plus weight, 19 inch HT Tyres, AWD and a long wheelbase cannot be imagined to be a hard core off-roader. Hence I specifically mentioned the term "mild", so that people do not jump on me about what I am writing in this thread. I got the opportunity to get the Tata Hexa 4x4 into uncomfortable territory and I must say that it came out with with flying colours. I did not expect it to perform the way it did, and it was not just me, the onlookers were quite impressed as well.
The rains have arrived in West Bengal and the place I stay has got plenty of open fields to do some serious mud plugging. So we took the Hexa to the nearest field and tested it out for two days.

Day 1:

The Hexa was accompanied by an XUV W8 AWD belonging to team-bhpian Sadnabrina. It had not rained the previous 2 or 3 days, so there was not much slush to play with. We tried a few obstacles and poor approach angles of both the Hexa and the XUV became pretty evident. The XUV was marginally better than the Hexa in this respect, but none of these can be used to tackle sharp inclines. So we moved on to a dug up area to check traction control and articulation and the Hexa outclassed the XUV by a huge margin. When one of the wheels was losing traction in the Hexa, electronics kicked in and was stopping the free wheel momentarily to transfer torque to the other wheel and the Hexa was able to get out of trouble. The same did not happen with the XUV. The wheels on the XUV were behaving just like an open differential. It might have been a problem with this XUV, but unfortunately we could not get any other XUV AWD to do the same test. Hope to see bhpians SanC and me_sid with their XUV AWDs trying this place out before the rains stop or the place gets converted into a shopping mall/residential building

Two videos to illustrate -

XUV AWD W8 unable to cross the ditch



Tata Hexa 4x4 crossing the same ditch quite easily



A few pics from Day 1, thanks to Sadnabrina

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-dsc_6924.jpg

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-dsc_6938.jpg


Day 2:

It rained quite heavily before the next day and that prompted quite a few team bhpians to try out their vehicles in slush in the same place. There was a substantial line up considering it was an impromptu meet.

1. Maruti Gypsy with AT Tyres (Avrendu)
2. Mahindra Scorpio S10 4x4 with HT Tyres (Avishek)
3. Mahindra Scorpio S10 4x4 with Eaton MLD and AT Tyres (Biswadeep)
4. Mahindra Scorpio S4 4x4 with AT Tyres (Gaurab)
5. Mahindra Thar with MLD and AT Tyres (Shomak)
6. Mahindra Thar with MLD and HT Tyres
7. Mahindra Thar without MLD and AT Tyres (Chandan)
8. Renault Duster AWD with HT Tyres (PapaBravo)
9. Tata Safari Storme 4x4 with AT Tyres (psurelia)
10. Tata Hexa 4x4 with HT Tyres (BlackPearl)

I will let the videos do the talking -

Scene 1:

Vehicle: Renault Duster AWD with HT Tyres



Vehicle: Tata Hexa 4x4 with HT Tyres

At first I tried to take the Hexa over the ditch in the slowest possible speed. It got bogged down. Just when the people around had given up on it and were preparing for towing, the Hexa got out of its slumber and came out of the situation on its own.



A few pics of the Hexa getting out of the ditch

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-hexa1.jpg

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-hexa2.jpg

Vehicle: Tata Hexa 4x4 with HT Tyres

The second attempt was to showcase to the onlookers that this course was quite easy for the Hexa if the momentum was kept at par with the other vehicles.



Vehicle: Mahindra Scorpio 4x4 with HT Tyres



Vehicle: Mahindra Scorpio 4x4 with MLD and AT Tyres



Vehicle: Tata Safari Storme 4x4 with AT Tyres

This Storme belonging to team-bhpian psurelia shod with Michelin LTX AT2 tyres performed best in slush with the least amount of wheelspin




Vehicle: Mahindra Thar with MLD and AT Tyres

This course was too easy for the Thar



Vehicle: Maruti Gypsy with AT Tyres



Scene 2:

We moved on to the next place in search of a bit more adventure. The ground looked menacing and team-bhpian Avrendu took the first initiative with the Gypsy. The idea was that Gypsy was the lightest of the lot and it would be easier to recover.

Vehicle: Maruti Gypsy with AT Tyres



Vehicle: Renault Duster AWD with HT Tyres



Vehicle: Tata Hexa 4x4 with HT Tyres



Vehicle: Mahindra Scorpio 4x4 with HT Tyres



Vehicle: Tata Safari Storme 4x4 with AT Tyres

In this course as well, the Storme shod with Michelin LTX AT2 tyres performed the best. The wheelspin on this vehicle was least.



Vehicle: Mahindra Thar with MLD and AT Tyres




Conclusion

Positives:

1. Strong electronic aids help the Hexa get out of tricky situations
2. Absence of 4 low was not felt in the situations we faced. It did everything almost equally well compared with the vehicles equipped with 4 low
3. Extremely comfortable even in off-road situations. The occupants do not bounce around like in a Thar or Scorpio
4. Better articulation compared to XUV
5. Much better ground clearance compared to XUV
6. Superb build quality

Negatives

1. Engine feels sluggish specially in the Comfort mode. Dynamic mode is much better. I was driving mostly in this mode except during off-roading
2. Front overhang limits the approach angle. It will be great if Tata can provide a modified bumper for the top of the line 4x4 model
3. Absence of dead pedal as pointed out by many people
4. The HT Tyres limit the off-road performance. It will be great if Tata can provide a 70:30 Onroad:offroad biased tyres on the 4x4 version
5. The brakes on the XUV have more bite than that on the Hexa


We could not find any steep incline to test if the first gear of the Hexa is low enough or not. Maybe next time.

Overall, the Hexa 4x4 makes a compelling case for itself specially for those people who like to go to off-beat places. In my opinion it trumps the Innova in almost every aspect barring engine power and refinement. It is also a better all-rounder than the XUV AWD. In places like Spiti in Himachal, I have seen Innovas struggle like hell and there were many places where it could not go due to road conditions. In those areas the Hexa will be a great choice. Reliability is one thing that only time will tell. Hopefully it will score big on that front as well.

A few pics of the Hexa before signing off. Special thanks to team-bhpian dip27in for the stunning clicks -

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-dsc_3943.jpg

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-dsc_3997.jpg

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-dsc_4028.jpg

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-dsc_4046.jpg

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-dsc_4055.jpg

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-dsc_4063.jpg

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-dsc_4066.jpg

Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars-dsc_4082.jpg

Last edited by BlackPearl : 19th July 2017 at 00:31.
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Old 19th July 2017, 08:01   #2
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the 4x4 Excursions Section.

Last edited by Aditya : 20th July 2017 at 14:56. Reason: Merging 2 mod notes
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Old 19th July 2017, 09:07   #3
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Default re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
The same did not happen with the XUV. The wheels on the XUV were behaving just like an open differential. It might have been a problem with this XUV, but unfortunately we could not get any other XUV AWD to do the same test.
This is very odd. Did she manage to get out by reversing?
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Old 19th July 2017, 09:22   #4
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Default re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Nice write up about the HEXA. I will be tempted to buy it when they release an AWD Automatic.

Does the Hexa use a Haldex system?

Also the information sharing restriction contract between TATA and JLR comes to an end this year, so hopefully we will soon start to see some interesting tech on cars from TATA.

Last edited by GTO : 19th July 2017 at 10:57. Reason: Poorly typed post
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Old 19th July 2017, 09:37   #5
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Default re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Thanks a bunch BlackPearl for putting up a thread like this. Have always been looking for something like all over the internet but never found one.

Coming to the actual exercise, I personally feel the Storme performed exceptionally well, especially in the slush, considering that its way heavier than the Thar and the Gypsy and the latter 2 have anyway been made keeping off roading in mind. Also the performance of the Hexa was way better than expected like you mention. SO really hats off to TATA on the whole

A friend of mine got an XUV W10 AWD in the last week of June with pre GST benefits. I asked him why he did not consider the Hexa or the Innova and his reply was that the AWD in XUV is from Range Rover and way superior than the one on Hexa and I was like

Probably this thread is what he should look at now
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Old 19th July 2017, 10:29   #6
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Default re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Thank you for this thread.
Such threads provide incredible value to readers in terms of real world capabilities of these vehicles and go beyond technical specs, reviews and feature comparisons.
Superb effort.

And I am specially happy to see my favorite getting the best comments, the Safari

Can I conclude that Safari's 4x4 with LSD is superior to XUV's AWD capability given a mild slushy but flat terrain, despite its higher weight ?
The videos say so, they were given the same test.

I have always been wary of the thousands of gimmicky features the claw-handled cheetah has, but AWD isn't a gimmick and it should have worked in this scenario.

cheers
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Old 19th July 2017, 11:32   #7
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Default Re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Nice thread BP. Thanks for posting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazy View Post
I have always been wary of the thousands of gimmicky features the claw-handled cheetah has, but AWD isn't a gimmick and it should have worked in this scenario.
AWD was working, what failed is the Traction Control System. We also thought that the XUV will not have any problems in getting out of the situation, but unfortunately it couldn't. We expected the TCS to kick in and apply independent brakes to the slipping wheels to transfer some torque to the wheels with traction. This seemed to be a software failure - the ESP and TCS are heavily dependent on software. Took it to the M&M workshop after this incident but they could not find any error codes. The M&M tech support suggested them to flush the ESP/TCS software. So they did and returned the car. They had no facilities to simulate the situation in the workshop. Will take it out for a spin in a similar setup soon and post the results here.

Please do bear in mind that this particular XUV have had a AWD failure earlier and the entire gearbox/transfer case assembly had been replaced by M&M a few months back. Looks like I have a lemon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
This is very odd. Did she manage to get out by reversing?
Yes it did manage to get out by reversing.

Last edited by sadnabrina : 19th July 2017 at 11:32. Reason: Added thanks to BP.
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Old 19th July 2017, 11:47   #8
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For Mud its better to keep ESP switched off, else it will cut down the engine power. Cars with Brake traction control will still have brake traction control active, just the engine traction control and stability program will get switched off.

Anyways, for Mud, any kind of traction control does not help much, tyres are the biggest differentiators here. Good old diff locks do help.

XUV does not come with brake traction control, I guess Hexa does. But in terms of clearance they are no comparison, some things like angled front bumper, better ramp breakover(even better than Storme at places), lighter weight do give the XUV-500 an advantage over Hexa. And with that kind of weight try taking Hexa to Sanddunes, you will burn the clutch in no time and if it gets stuck, you will need army choppers to rescue it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sadnabrina View Post
what failed is the Traction Control System. We also thought that the XUV will not have any problems in getting out of the situation, but unfortunately it couldn't. We expected the TCS to kick in and apply independent brakes to the slipping wheels to transfer some torque to the wheels with traction.

This seemed to be a software failure - the ESP and TCS are heavily dependent on software.
There is nothing wrong with the car, it does not have brake traction control, most older cars with ESP does not have it. It won't lock individual tyres and try to act like psuedo diff lock.

Last edited by .anshuman : 19th July 2017 at 12:05.
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Old 19th July 2017, 12:05   #9
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Default Re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Probably this video might have already been posted in the dedicated thread for Hexa but posting it here because of the similarity to the off-roading done in it



Check the video at 6.40. The obstacle seems similar to what it was put through in this thread, only slightly more deeper and without the slush

EDIT - While we all agree that tires play a huge role in making or breaking the situation, I would also say that the speed and the expertise of the drive would also matter to a great extent in such situations

Last edited by centaur : 19th July 2017 at 12:08.
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Old 19th July 2017, 12:05   #10
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Default Re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
For Mud its better to keep ESP switched off.
We tried with both ESP switched on and off. I thought the new gen XUV had brake traction control - although not seen any documentation anywhere mentioning the presence/absence of the feature.
Agreed that the tyres make or break a situation in mud and the XUV here has 30K run old HT tyres (Apollo) which gave no traction in mud.
Is there a possibility of fitting an after market MLD or Diff locks in the XUV?
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Old 19th July 2017, 12:19   #11
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Default Re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by sadnabrina View Post
We tried with both ESP switched on and off. I thought the new gen XUV had brake traction control - although not seen any documentation anywhere mentioning the presence/absence of the feature.
Agreed that the tyres make or break a situation in mud and the XUV here has 30K run old HT tyres (Apollo) which gave no traction in mud.
Is there a possibility of fitting an after market MLD or Diff locks in the XUV?
No upgrades are possible for XUV's AWD system. Instead get some good All Terrain tyres, I have been using Pirelli Scorpion ATR, excellent tyres, if you can find Continental Cross Contact AT or BF Goodrich KO2, they are even better.

Only change to new XUV-500 is change to final drive ratio, overall gearing because of it is shorter, hence better.

EDIT: The change to Final drive ratio is better because I found the gearing on the older XUV too tall, especially the first gear, more so when driving it off the road since the car does not come with low range gearing reduction. With the XUV facelift, Mahindra has made the gearing slightly shorter with changes to final drive ratio.

Similarly Duster AWD comes with shorter gearing for AWD variant, it helps compensate for lack of low range gearing reduction to some extent but it still remains a compromise. Too short first gear can be a disadvantage, like some of the sand terrains we do, the first gear in Duster is too short, the car does not gather enough momentum to take on a tall sand dunes, but as soon as you shift to second the car bogs down. So if you are going to be go offroad frequently, get a car with low range gearing, just because of low range the car has so many gearing options for such climbs like if I were to take it fast Ill take 3rd of Low, if slightly slower 1st of high, if the car is bogging down previous 2 gears there is 2nd of low, for recovery in sand or crawling there is 1st of Low, in a Duster/XUV/Hexa there is only one gear for all of it.

Last edited by .anshuman : 19th July 2017 at 17:09. Reason: Elaborating on last point
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Old 19th July 2017, 13:16   #12
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Default Re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Wow!what an amazing thread. I am a great fan of off-road videos and a subscriber of AnshumanBishnoi's and Sumitro's Channel on youtube. I saw all the videos by Sumitro in the morning and also left a comment on few videos. Kudos to all of you - you all enjoy the AWDs and 4x4s the way they should be enjoyed. I am in Kolkatta from 21-23 July and I would have loved to join you guys but other commitments would not let me

P.s.: I saw Anshuman's XUV AWD on the team-BHP classifieds the other day and god knows, if I had the money, I would have bought it instantly. May be some day I would have spare 8-10 Lakhs and I would buy a AWD or 4x4 and join you guys on the off-roading sessions. Till then, keep on posting mouth-watering videos.

- A sincere fan
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Old 19th July 2017, 14:32   #13
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Default Re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Hexa seems to be a clear winner. Thanks for sharing all these videos. This will help the whole community who is planning to buy a car in this segment , especially whose who are skeptical about TATA(HEXA). Given the value of 20 lacs one can make a list of components and features that go in, in the hexa and with this kind of performance clearly its a segment winner - Value for Money
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Old 19th July 2017, 14:43   #14
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Default Re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

You guys seems to have had a lot of fun! any comments on cabin noises in HEXA while moving on undulating terrain? my XUV squeaks like a rat during rock crawling.
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Old 19th July 2017, 15:10   #15
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Default Re: Mild offroading with the Tata Hexa & other 4WD / AWD cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
When one of the wheels was losing traction in the Hexa, electronics kicked in and was stopping the free wheel momentarily to transfer torque to the other wheel and the Hexa was able to get out of trouble. The same did not happen with the XUV. The wheels on the XUV were behaving just like an open differential. It might have been a problem with this XUV, but unfortunately we could not get any other XUV AWD to do the same test.

XUV AWD W8 unable to cross the ditch
...
Simple answer brother, XUV AWD hasn't got LSD or some electronic locker on either its front or rear axles while the HEXA has them on both. However, the power was transferred to the rear wheels of XUV as the rear wheel can be seen spinning when the camera pans at around 32 seconds into the video. This means the system was working in XUV but isn't fully equipped for the situation.

Last edited by SDP : 20th July 2017 at 08:38. Reason: Please do not quote a video link. Editing out.
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