The Harrier, by design, is not a traditional SUV. It’s a product of globalisation—Land Rover’s architecture, Fiat’s engine, Tata Motors’ design and engineering, and now Hyundai’s automatic gearbox. We drive the new 2020 Harrier.
What are the changes?
The engine, Kryotec 2.0-litre BS6 diesel, produces 30PS more power. New figures are 170PS power, 350Nm torque; While earlier the Harrier was available only with a 6-speed manual gearbox, now a new 6-speed automatic gearbox is an option (it’s the same gearbox that is available in Hyundai Tucson); There is a new calypso red body colour with dual tone options. The exterior rear-view mirrors were earlier too chunky—the new ones are smaller and look more proportionate. There is an additional USB port. ESP (electronic stability program)—a technology that improves stability by reducing loss of traction (skidding)—is now offered as standard on all variants.
How does it drive?
Most popular SUVs in India drive like a sedan; the Harrier drives like an SUV. The reason is it’s built on the architecture derived from Land Rover’s legendary D8 platform. That is both a good thing and bad. Good is, off the road, the Harrier (even though it’s not an all-wheel drive SUV) is very easy to manoeuvre—the suspension soaks in most bumps, and there is little rattle. Bad is, on smooth roads, there is some amount of body roll—especially when going downhill and taking sharp turns, when the body weight shifts towards front wheels. The overall ride and handling is average. On the positive side, the steering feel is very good, the driver’s seat is very supportive, and there’s cruise control for you to drive all day long comfortably.
The new 6-speed automatic gearbox shifts smoothly, and in urban driving conditions you won’t even get to know when the gears are being changed. It’s only when you accelerate hard that you feel the gears changing. There is noticeable diesel clatter inside the cabin, which reduces when it picks up speed—partly because the tyre noise gets louder than the engine sound. The claimed fuel-efficiency of the manual model is 16.35 kpl, and that of the automatic is 14.63kpl.
What are these driving modes?
There are three driving modes—Eco, City and Sport (in Eco mode the focus is on fuel-efficiency, while in Sport mode the focus is on acceleration). But a modern car must be smart enough to choose driving modes on its own. For instance, if I am driving with a soft foot, it should automatically run in Eco mode, and if I fully press the accelerator, it should go into Sport mode. Because it’s an SUV, it gets three extra modes—Normal, Rough and Wet. These are good, and there is a noticeable difference in the way it drives in these modes.
What defines its design?
From certain angles the Harrier does look like Land Rover Discovery or even Range Rover Evoque. Its ‘floating roof’, flared wheel arches, dual-tone bumpers, big tyres give it a unique SUV stance and good road presence. The cabin is plush—the oak-wood finish dashboard and the brown colour scheme look good. Rear AC vents are placed not on the roof, but on the B-pillar. The roof is all-glass.
How good a buy it is?
The Harrier 2020 manual is priced from Rs 13.69 lakh to Rs 18.95 lakh, and the automatic Rs 16.25 lakh to Rs 20.25 lakh. Variant to variant, the difference between a manual and an automatic is Rs 1.25 lakh. For its size, prices are competitive, but the competition is intense—the new Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos (smaller SUVs) are priced marginally lower. What the Harrier also doesn’t have is similar in-car connectivity features. But it’s more SUV than many other SUVs.
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