Tata Harrier Review, Test Drive: Tata Motors at its bestKedar Vaidya
Tata Harrier is an immensely stylish SUV, satisfying to drive and surprisingly capable off-road
The Tata Harrier is arguably one of the hottest launches of 2019 yet. Sure, the MG Hector and the Kia Seltos are highly awaited as well. But none of them have been as much of a pain-staking wait as the Harrier. Tata Motors first showcased the H5X concept at the Delhi Auto Expo 2018. And boy were we floored. After the Nexon, we are pretty much convinced that Tata can put the design of the concept into production without losing all the magic of the concept form. So when the H5X Concept was showcased, no one could stop talking about it. So have they pulled it off with the Tata Harrier?
Yep. I mean, just look at it! Tata has designed the Harrier on Impact Design 2.0 design language. So, the Humanity Line grille sits proudly up front and gives the Harrier a butch look. Sleek LED DRLs flank the grille on either side, where traditionally headlamps are situated. These DRLs double up as turn indicators. The headlamp housing sits lower on the bumper with the fog lamp right below it. I suspect the designer had at least once had the image of Iron Man, the Mark II suit, on his desk while taking inspiration.
On the side, the Harrier feels longer in-person than it does in the pictures. And maybe it’s just me, but I see a bit of Velar going on there. especially from the rear third quarter. The alloy wheels are 17-inchers and a bit underwhelming. Maybe a dual-tone finish or a size up would better suit the otherwise stunning looking Harrier. Of course, the aftermarket is always there for you.
The rear looks muscular, with the large bumper and the dagger-shaped tail lamps. The bumper gets black cladding with silver inserts. There are two faux exhaust inserts in the bumper. The rear foglamps work well to break, what otherwise would have been a vast expanse of the rear bumper.
Tata has also launched the Harrier with a dual-tone paint option. It is only available in Callisto Copper and Orcus White shades. Some dealers also occasionally create one-off special editions on customer demands. But the Harrier sure is a Head-turner. You can spot people taking second glances and even stares on the roads. It’s a great looking SUV. Importantly, it will also age very well, I reckon.
The Harrier has a trump card of an interior. It has the premium feel and design of a class above it sits in. It’s finished in Walnut-Brown and black combination. The dashboard gets a floating style 8.8-inch touch screen. There is a wooden finish insert that fools you into thinking its a veneer. It’s only when you closely inspect it that you can figure out its a plastic. A silver insert that runs across the lower crease of the dashboard seals the deal for a great design. It’s a neat, simple yet elegant layout.
There is an analog speedometer, but the rev meter makes way for a screen. The screen displays various driving information like distance to empty, and also how much power and torque is being used at the moment. the infotainment features Android Auto and Apple Car Play for mobile phone connectivity. It also gets USB and AUX connectivity.
Everything you touch has a premium feel to it. I especially love the door panels and levers. However, you do miss out on electronic seat adjustment. But you do get adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat, which is a boon. You get Dual-zone climate control, USB, 12V powerpoints and lots of clever storage spaces in the cabin. And there is a large volume of space for everyone. The rear has great headroom and the seats offer great levels of comfort. The Harrier gets 4 speakers, 4 tweeters, a subwoofer, and an Amp, and it will blow your socks off with the audio quality. It simply is one of the best audio systems at the price point, or maybe beyond a class up.
Our complaints? The infotainment has got the best interface. It’s a bit laggy and we even experienced it hanging on a few occasions. Secondly, it’s hard to reach the USB and AUX ports. You need to peer in hard to reach them. The dead pedal feels like a last-minute thought and is tiny.
On the whole, it’s a great interior and has plenty to offer in terms of features, comfort, and luxury.
The Engine in the Harrier is the 2.0 Litre Kryotec Diesel motor. It is sourced from Fiat and can be found in the Compass and the MG Hector as well. However, it is detuned to make 140 Horsepower and 350Nm of torque in the Harrier. And it is a great engine. It has strong low down grunt, right from 1000RPM and a consistent mid-range. With a 0-100kph acceleration time of 12 seconds, its a quick vehicle for its weight. A Youtube video by Drive King claims to have achieved 100kph in 10.84 seconds using Sport mode.
So, we infer that the Harrier is no slouch. The engine gets three modes, City, Sport, and Eco. Sport makes the engine eager in gears, especially in 2nd and 3rd gear. The pull you get when you tap the accelerator harder is simply addictive. Eco mode is simply sad and is best used when you’re low on fuel.
However, any input is met with a growl from the engine. Now, that is great for someone like me, who loves the rasp, deep grunting sounds of a diesel engine. But, the sound penetrating the cabin won’t be appreciated by many.
The engine is currently mated to a 6-Speed manual gearbox. I say currently because Tata is already working on a Hyundai sourced 6-Speed torque converter automatic transmission for the Harrier. Anyway, sticking to the manual, for now, I must say, its a tall gearing setup. And this helps a lot in city driving. The engine has a strong pull even when you are doing 30KpH in 3rd. Of course, you should downshift to lower the stress on the engine and the gearbox.
To sum up, it is a great powertrain with a good grunt and strong acceleration. On our drives, we achieved 12 Km/l in the City and 16 km/l on the highway. That is less than official; claims but not far.
The Harrier is a great allrounder. Be it pondering around in the city, or cruising on the highway. The engine is flexible and strong, a quality further enhanced by the driving modes. And how can I not mention the Land Rover genes? The platform that Tata calls Omega Architecture is the one that underpins the Land Rover Discovery. And this Land Rover gene has worked wonders with the Harrier. It is simply unfazed by even the worst road undulations. It does well as a highway cruiser and well behaved around city streets.
We also took the Harrier offroad, and it shines! You get three Terrain Select modes: Normal, Wet Road and Rough Road. This alters the engine response and outputs. Unless you take it to extremely challenging offroad obstacles, the Harrier takes the terrain into its stride and will get you over most of the stuff you throw it at.
The complaints here will be visibility that gets hindered by the large mirrors and the A-Pillar. You have to be careful while navigating through small lanes or corners when crowded.
The Harrier continues the tradition started by the Hexa and Nexon as to what Tata Motors has evolved into. Just look at the design and interior and it’s completely unrecognizable as a Tata. It’s great to drive, it’s very capable off-road, has a pleasant ride and has a lot of presence. It also gets loads of safety equipment like ABS, EBD, Roll-Mitigation, Brake Disc Wiper, ISOFIX child seat anchors. And of course, it comes with Tata’s recently acquired reputation of being built tough. The Tata Harrier is great value for money and in my opinion, makes a strong case for Tata motors in terms of head-turning design and their new image as some of the toughest and safest vehicles on the roads.