Tata Harrier Test Drive Review
- Published On: 7 December 2018
- 7 min read
Tata's all-new Harrier offers unique styling and good features.
Tata had set great expectations when they first unveiled the H5X Concept at the 2018 Auto Expo. It had become the star of the show and everyone was talking about it. The concept car grabbed a lot of attention not only because of its looks but also because this was going to be the first Tata product to feature technologies from Land Rover, one of the most recognized SUV brand acquired by them 10 years ago. Almost a year later Tata has delivered on their promise and launched the Tata Harrier. The Harrier is based on the Land Rover Discovery Sport's platform.
Exteriors - The Harrier stays true to the design of H5X concept which is a good thing. The Harrier stays true to Tata's 'Impact 2.0' design language as well with the front grille and the headlights. One might mistake the DRLs as the main headlight. Instead, the main headlights are Xenon HID projectors and are located below the DRLs which give the car a lot of character. The DRLs also double as the turn signal indicators. The car has a lot of presence on the road.
The side looks good with the flared wheel arches but is let down by the small 17-inch wheels. Something which does look cool is the blackened C-pillar which gives the Harrier a floating roof effect. There are a lot of floating lines and curves around the side and at the back. The LED taillights look modern and futuristic. It also gets a roof-mounted spoiler. The bold chrome finishing adds a cool touch to the overall design along with a lot of cladding. The simple Harrier badge looks neat.
Interiors - The simple and futuristic character of the exterior is carried out on the interiors as well. The first thing that will grab your attention is the oak brown themed dashboard and seats. The top section of the dashboard is finished in soft-touch materials while the lower section is finished in satin chrome. The most interesting part is the aero-throttle styled parking brake and drive mode selector. This makes the interior feel very upmarket and refreshing. The centre console gets an 8.8.inch touchscreen infotainment system. The infotainment system uses a similar UI as the one found on the Range Rover Velar. It gets Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Navigation System along with video playback. The system is very smooth and can also be controlled via voice. The screen also doubles up as a display for the reverse camera which gets adaptive guidelines. The Harrier gets a 9-speaker audio setup from JBL along with an amplifier. The steering wheel also gets controls for the infotainment, cruise control, and the multi-information display.
The semi-digital instrument cluster gets a 7-inch TFT display. Other features include auto headlamps, auto wipers, keyless entry with push-button start/stop and auto climate control. It also gets rear AC vents and puddle lamps with logo projection. However, it misses out on auto dimming IRVM, electronically adjustable seats, wireless charging, sunroof, and height adjustable seatbelts. The Harrier has good space to offer along with practical storage spaces such as the sunglass holder, bottle holders, umbrella holder and a phone holder too. The box under the armrest is cooled along with cupholders and a sizeable glove box. It also gets a USB port at the front but is difficult to reach. The front and the rear seats are comfortable along with enough legroom to accommodate tall passengers. The boot space is large. The spare wheel though not an alloy sits under the body.
Performance - The Harrier is powered by a 2.0-litre Kryotec diesel engine from Fiat. The engine produces 140 PS of power and 340 Nm of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The engine feels laggy lower down but has good grunt in the midrange and pulls well too. The power tapers off in the top-end and the engine gets vocal. The gearbox is a bit notchy and clutch travels long. There are three driving modes on offer- Eco, City, and Sport. Expect fuel economy of 12-15 km/l with this SUV.
Driving Dynamics - The Harrier borrows its stiff suspension setup from Land Rover's monocoque architecture to achieve a good balance of ride and handling. The Harrier handles as a crossover should, direct and precise. The hydraulic steering offers good feedback. Ride quality, on the other hand, feels good soaking up most of the bumps. It feels stable at higher speeds and offers confidence to push harder. Body roll is well contained. The Harrier is also very capable off-road. The ESP Terrain Response comes with Normal, Wet and Rough driving modes. The ESP provides traction to the front wheels when needed. The braking performance is good despite not having discs at the rear.
Safety and After Sales Service - The Harrier is loaded with safety equipment such as 6 airbags, ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Off-Road ABS, ESC, ISOFIX child seat mounts, Hill-Hold, Hill-Descent Control, Roll-Over Mitigation, Corner Stability Control, Traction Control, Hydraulic Brake Assist, etc. Couple that with the impressive service network from Tata and you have a great after sales experience.
Verdict - The Harrier is a big jump from the previous Tata cars in terms of both design and performance. The interior feels a class above and is loaded with safety technologies from Land Rover. There is a good balance between ride and handling. However, it misses out on certain features which the rivals get along with an automatic gearbox and All-Wheel Drive version.