Tata Harrier SUV First Drive Review – Redefining Premiumness
If we have to go by the looks alone, the Harrier might very well be the best looking Indian SUV ever! But is the new Tata Harrier all about the looks or does this SUV has more that?
Tata Harrier SUV. (Image: News18.com)
From Tiago to Tigor and Nexon, Tata Motors has shown remarkable improvement as far as the design of their new products is concerned. After launching three good looking vehicles in three different segments, Tata is ready with yet another product that can set a new benchmark for the industry. The product we are talking about is the Harrier premium SUV, Tata's most aspirational car ever.
The SUV was first showcased as a concept at the Auto Expo 2018 with the H5X codename and has retained most of the design cues from the concept version. If we have to go by the looks alone, the Harrier might very well be the best looking Indian SUV ever! But is the new Tata Harrier all about the looks or does this SUV has more that?
We find in our Tata Harrier First Drive Review!
What We Like
Aggressive yet eye-catching design
Premium cabin with all bells & whistles
Comfortable rode quality
What We Don’t Like
No sunroof, electronic seats
No automatic and AWD system
In-cabin engine noise
We stretched out our neck a bit to say that the Harrier might be the best looking India SUV ever. But you have to see it in flesh to understand how well designed this product is! Tata is slotting the Harrier as a premium 5-seater SUV, making it the flagship product of the Indian car manufacturer and have kept the production version almost identical to the one we saw at the Auto Expo.
Upfront are the horizontally placed thin LED DRLs, that looks aggressive in the night. The grille is called the Humanity Line grille with gloss black finish and below are the xenon projector headlamps, all giving it a very posh look. On the side, the poshness changes to the muscular profile, with large wheel arches, raised window line, floating roof design and brushed panel with Harrier name.
The tyres left us wanting for more though. Move to the rear and you see a glossy black strip running throughout the gate with tail lights on the either ends, a Harrier logo and rear skid plate too. Overall, the Harrier has a balanced road presence of both a strong and well-designed SUV.
As soon as you enter the cabin of the Harrier, you are left wondering – if it is a Tata product at all? The simple, minimalistic cabin gets the chocolate brown seats, soft-touch dashboard, thick wood colored panel and a brushed silver line to differentiate the dash with central tunnel. The fit and finish is superior and you won’t find any rough edges around.
The seats, both in the front and the back are comfortable, big and offer ample cushioning. The cabin space is as generous as it can get with enough headroom, shoulder room and knee room. And there are many nicely thought cubbyholes to keep your water bottles, mobile phone and other stuff. The boot is also nicely shaped and offers 425 litre of cargo space.
There are many unique elements inside the Harrier and the one we especially liked was the aircraft-inspired handbrake lever. There’s also the 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, combined with the AC vents, that looks quite unique and different. The unit supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but suffered a lot of lag while operating the screen. JBL speakers with a subwoofer are fabulous for music.
Other features include a rear parking camera with dynamic guidelines, vanity mirror with light, cruise control, auto headlamps and wipers, cooled central armrest box, and more. The instrument cluster is also a welcome change from other Tata vehicles and has a large 7.0-inch screen and displays various driving modes with nice graphics. It also shows information like media and navigation info.
Now moving away from positive bits, Tata Harrier missed some features which rivals are offering. Electronically controlled driver seat, sunroof, lock-unlock door button, and most important, rear temperature control AC vents.
Engine & Performance
The Tata Harrier is powered by a Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre Multijet II engine, which Tata calls a Kryotec engine and it produces 140hp, with 350Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and misses big time on both the automatic and an all-wheel-drive system. However, there are drive modes to choose from –eco, city and sport, along with terrain response system with wet, sport and normal modes.
While the engine felt powerful and torquey enough, it was noisy as a bee throughout the rev range, more so while pushing hard. If you are a lazy driver, eco mode is your best friend, but if you are a regular driver, that likes to occasionally overtake cars, Sport mode is what you need. As for the gearbox it felt smooth while shifting gears, and was responsive too, but is not the best manual gearbox out there.
The steering is tuned to make it feel light while operating such a heavy vehicle, which creates a bit problem for Harrier. Tata has made the steering overtly light, which is a problem while high-speed highway driving. The ride quality is super and thanks to the Land Rover’s architecture and front suspension, this SUV is stellar at taking on bad roads. But at low city speeds, it feels a bit edgy, a bit stiff.
And most importantly, we got a stunning mileage of 15+ kmpl throughout our 250 km drive.
Tata is offering the Harrier with a variety of safety equipment, ranging from off-road-specific ABS, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, traction control, stability control, corner-stability control, rollover mitigation and 6 airbags. There’s also speed warning beep, but that is largely subdued by the engine noise.
Tata Harrier is not formed over functionality but it is formed with functionality. While the design is definitely the USP of the Harrier, it has more than that. It drives really well, feels premium and is every bit a competent SUV. All-in-all, Tata has hit a home run with the Harrier SUV, although it still needs a bit of polishing before they roll out it for buyers in January 2019. A big thumbs up from our side to Tata’s effort.
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