Tata Harrier Review: Tata Harrier has been the buzz of the Indian motor world in the past few weeks. Considering the massive interest of people in the Harrier it's easy to say that it's the most anticipated vehicle of 2018. This is the first time Tata Motors has rolled out a truly global product as the Harrier is based on a Land Rover-derived platform with the engine sourced from Fiat and has been designed in-house. The Tata Harrier is scheduled for launch in January 2019 but technical specifications are already out and we've taken an extensive test drive of the SUV. During our first drive, we drove the Harrier on highways, rural roads, desert and more to find out if it lives up to the hype or not. While it surely is a stunner, the SUV isn't short of flaws so buckle up to read our Tata Harrier review, which will tell you everything about the best Tata vehicle yet and its pros and cons.
Tata Harrier Design, Images
Wow! Well, that's the first reaction that most people had when they got to feast their eyes on the Tata Harrier images. Having seen it in flesh, I can assure that it looks even better in the flesh if you are fond of its unconventional design. The Tata H5X concept was shown at the Auto Expo in February 2018 and in less than a year, Tata Motors has managed to make it production ready. The best part is that unlike many concepts that are no holds barred imaginations of designers, the Harrier is pretty close to its concept form.
The front is edgy and has razor sharp LED DRLs where most SUVs have their headlamps. These mimic eyebrows and give the Harrier's face a dynamic appeal. The projector headlamp and fog lamp cluster is positioned in the lower part of the bumper, lending the SUV with a look that sets it apart from anything else on sale today. I really liked the fact that given Harrier's aggressive visual character, designers chose to not have any chrome at all and opted for a glossy black grille ahead. Add all these elements and combine it with a hood that has strong lines and what you get is a futuristic and head-turning front.
At the side, the 17-inch alloy wheels with 235 section rubber fill up the wheel arches nicely and add to the muscular appeal of the Harrier. A slight disappointment here is that the alloy wheel design is quite plain and a diamond-cut design would have added further to the looks. The window glass area streamlines behind the C-pillar and gives the roof a floating effect. The tail lamps too are in sync with the edgy design approach and with a black panel joining both of them, the tail lights seem to run across the body.
Overall, the Tata Harrier is stunning to look at and will turn heads wherever it goes. The unique design with a captivating interplay of lines gives it a desirable look, which will find favour with a wide range of buyers. Long story short, the Tata Harrier is the best-looking SUV not only in its segment but also in a segment above.
Tata Harrier Interior, Cabin, Features Review
Step inside the cabin of the Tata Harrier and the first thing that might strike you is the fact that the interior doesn't have the instant wow factor as the exterior. At the centre of the dashboard is an 8.8-inch touchscreen, which supports Android Auto and will support Apple CarPlay at the time of launch. The screen has a decent user interface and the touch response too is good. The screen worked well on the first day of our drive but on the second day Android Auto stopped first and gradually multiple functions including volume control and radio failed. The cars we were driving were pre-production units and engineers assured us that production models won't have these bugs.
The dashboard with a soft touch material at the top and faux wood finish along with an aluminium-brush finish give the cabin a good look. Material and build quality is also impressive in most areas but plastic quality in the lower part of the dashboard isn't at par with the rest of the cabin.
The multi-information display is attractive and gives out a wide array of information too including immediate power and torque usage. Audio, phone and cruise controls are mounted on the steering wheel and are conveniently located. Storage space too has been designed smartly all around the cabin and the front armrest has a cooled storage box under. Seats, both at the front and the rear are impressive and offer good under thigh and side support. At the rear, legroom and headroom is generous and tall occupants also will be able to sit for long in comfort. Adventure seekers and travellers will be happy with the 425-litre boot, which can offer up to 810 litres of volume with the rear seat folded down.
Despite so many hits, there are a few misses also in the cabin, which includes the absence of electrically-adjustable driver seat and a sunroof although the latter isn't a deal breaker. There are ergonomic issues too as the USB sockets, both at the front and rear are placed weirdly and are quite inconvenient to use. The narrow footwell means that many people will find their knees touching the side of the footwell and the lower part of the dashboard potentially causing discomfort on long drives.
Tata Harrier Performance Review - Engine & Gearbox
The Tata Harrier is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine sourced from Fiat and also powers the Jeep Compass. However, in the Harrier, the engine has been detuned to develop 140 hp and 350 Nm of torque between 1750 to 2500 rpm. The engine refinement levels are decent but leave some rooms for improvement as a fair bit of diesel clatter enters the cabin when using the throttle generously. Acceleration is good and linear in nature, translating into a smooth drive. Presence of a City, Eco and Sport modes allow you to choose different engine maps on the move and the effect of these is quite evident.
Based on the Land Rover platform, the Harrier gets a Terrain Response System, which offers a choice between Normal, Wet and Rough mode. This is a good inclusion but almost pointless right now as the Harrier only comes in a front-wheel configuration. The slight difference in throttle response isn't going to take you too far in off-road conditions, making the Harrier a soft-roader, which is quite disappointing given its Land Rover derived platform. The ABS though works better in off-road conditions if you choose the right mode.
The only transmission on offer is a six-speed manual transmission, which has got good ratios to complement the engine's performance. However, the gear shifts are quite notchy and in our car, there was an audible metal clanking sound every time the throttle was used or a shift took place. Fuel-efficiency figures have not been disclosed yet by the company but during our drive, we got a system indicated an average figure of 11.1 kmpl with a lot of spirited driving.
Tata Harrier Safety
This is an area where the Tata Harrier shines as it comes with six airbags, ABS with EBD, Hill Hold and Descent Control and roll-over mitigation. Considering the Land Rover platform and good build quality, expect a safe structure in the unfortunate event of a crash. Hence, if safety is on the top of your priority list, the Tata Harrier checks all boxes.
Tata Harrier Conclusion - Expected price and is it worth the hype?
Overall, the Tata Harrier is, without a doubt, the most premium Tata Vehicle ever, but it's not without its share of flaws. The Gear shifts are notchy and the engine refinement could have been better. Perhaps the most glaring miss is the lack of an automatic gearbox and a proper four-wheel drive system. This considering the Land Rover Lineage and platform that Tata Motors has been touting all year long was a bit of a letdown. However, an automatic variant is likely in the next six months with a seven-seater option to follow. All things considered, the Tata Harrier is Tata Motors’ first truly global vehicle and is something that any Indian around the world can truly be proud of.
With all the fantastic effort by Tata Motors put into the Harrier, I can only hope that the company doesn't outprice themselves on the SUV. It's important to keep in mind that as good as the product might be Tata Motors is still undergoing a transformation of image. The Tata Harrier will get 4 variants with prices expected to start at Rs 14 lakh for the base and Rs 19.5 lakh for the top variant but if the company wants a big bang entry the top variant should not be priced more than Rs 17.5 lakh, ex-showroom.