Tata Harrier review: Pros and cons

Dreams! We all see them. Some of them are fulfilled while others err…remain a dream. If you ever dreamt of buying a Jaguar F-Pace but didn’t have enough moolah, then worry not! I am not going to give you a loan or anything. However, Tata has got something which is built on architecture derived from JLR and looks more or less like a clone of the F-Pace, at a fraction of the price. Meet the new Tata Harrier.

In this review we are just going to sum up the pros and cons of the Harrier SUV. Let’s start with good then, shall we.

Looks

There is only one Indian company that more or less debuts their concept cars in production form literally unchanged. The Harrier as well as the Nexon both look very concept-ish. This may appeal to some while for the others it could be a put off. Thankfully, everyone we met, agrees that the Harrier looks very cool. While I am not sure if it will age gracefully, let’s live in the present, shall we?

The top-spec XZ+ trim you see here has got Xenon projectors, LED DRLs, 17-inch alloys, connected LED tail lights and more. The cabin too is done beautifully and fit and finish is above other Tata cars. In terms of equipment, you get a brilliant sounding JBL-sourced music system. There is also the acres of room in this 5-seater. The boot space at 425 litres is huge as well. Airconditioning, which is the strong point of any Tata product, is best in class in the Harrier. At first sight, it may look like there are no rear AC vents, but look at the B-pillar and you will notice them, a la XUV500.

There is no dearth of headroom, legroom or even underthigh support in the Harrier. The front seat also boasts lumbar support.

Engine

This is one linear power delivery motor. The 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel may have been sourced from Jeep but is retuned for use in the Harrier. It pumps out 140PS and 350Nm. The 6-speed gearbox too is a Jeep property but has retuned ratios. I liked the way the engine, clutch and gearbox come together to form a cohesive package. The power delivery is smooth, the clutch is a light unit and the gear shifts slot perfectly. What’s more, the City, Eco and Sports mode change the engine characteristics on demand, thereby making the drive even more pleasurable.

Ride quality

The high speed ride quality is very good. Especially with a full board of passengers. Stability at speeds too is great. The steering too decently weighs up. NVH too has been kept at the minimum. While driving in the city, you can definitely see the edges of the bonnet and those wide mirrors also help immensely. Then there are those three modes – Normal, Rough Roads and Wet that are governed by the ESP. We didn’t find any major difference in their application though.

Safety

There are six airbags, traction control, hill hold and descent assist, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors and reverse camera.

The not-so good bits

Features

This USB slot in the Tata Harrier sits just aft of the ESP modes. It is not easy to locate and even harder to plug the USB

While there are many features, here are some that we believe could have been added. There is no auto dimming mirror. Tell that to a Creta customer and they may understand it but the Harrier came in much later and Tata could have addressed it, no? In this digital age, why hasn’t Tata given more than two USB slots. Speaking of which, I thought it is my fat fingers that are an issue, however it took me more than 20 minutes to figure out where the slot is and another 10 to finally put it in. The same applies to the rear USB slot as well. Come on Tata. That could have been made better. Perhaps some lesson learnt from the Nexon?

The IRVM in this Rs 19 lakh car is still not an auto dimming unit

Handling

The rear windscreen is Evoque-ish small. You can barely see anything out of it and plus the inner rear view mirror too is small. The rear view camera resolution is poor as well. There is body roll and unlike the smaller Nexon, the Harrier isn’t as confidence inspiring around a bend. We also wish Tata gave a set of rear discs for the Harrier. The stock brakes feel a bit lacking in final bite.

Where is that automatic?

Exactly. Now that India has widely accepted automatics, buyers are disappointed that the Harrier doesn’t have one. While we have heard talks about the same, expect another 4-5 months more before the Hyundai-sourced 6-speed auto makes its way here. While not a major concern, there is no AWD or 4-wheel drive option available as well at the moment. Another concern is the 7-seater version. However, we know that it is on the way and was showcased recently.

Mileage

The Harrier is thirsty if you look at it from a miser’s point of view. 11.3kmpl in the city and 14.8kmpl on the highway aren’t great numbers. However, if you consider the near 1,700kg kerb weight of the car, things make sense.

Verdict

Everyone I met and showed the car, agreed that the Rs 19 lakh on-road price for the Harrier XZ is good value. The SUV looks and feels a class above and unless we told you that it is a Creta, Compass and XUV500 competitor, you might not believe it too. If you see, this isn’t a perfect SUV but then it does come close to the perfect tag in this segment. It has got ruggedness, looks that will charm and a decent enough feature list as well as engine. While I can live with the niggles, I wish the service centre first sorted their niggles before Tata Motors solves the one in their products.

Images by Satish Gaikwad and Lijo Mathai

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