Joining the ever-growing SUV segment in India, Tata made front-page headlines with its remarkable Harrier's debut in the country. Tata Harrier caters to the global market with its design and performance, but it is available exclusively in India for now. When the Harrier was showcased at the Auto Expo 2018 as H5X, many questioned whether the commercial vehicle will be as good as the concept. With the official launch, Tata Motors has answered all the questions.
Tata Harrier is certainly redefining the car's brand image in the SUV segment. From cars like Safari to Hexa and now to Harrier, Tata Motors has tremendously leapt forward and levels with the mindset of young and trend-savvy individuals. After seeing the Harrier first hand at the launch event in Bengaluru on Wednesday, we couldn't agree more.
Tata Harrier won't just steal looks while on roads, but easily draw recommendations from those who've tested it. I haven't had the chance to drive the car at its launch event, but the company has reassured buyers that Harrier has been tested under extreme conditions for 2.2 million kilometres. Hence, Tata concludes Harrier is adapted for Indian conditions and we will soon be verifying that claim when we get our hands on the SUV.
After inspecting the Harrier for the first time in flesh offered some insights on why it might be a popular SUV choice in India. Tata Motors has combined affordability, agility and luxury all in the Harrier, throwing a stiff challenge to the likes of Hyundai Creta, Jeep Compass and others.
Firstly, the pricing is on point. Tata Harrier starts at Rs 12.69 lakh for entry-level XE variant and goes up to Rs 16.25 lakh for the top-end XZ model. There are XM and XT variants in between priced at Rs 13.75 lakh and Rs 14.95 lakh, respectively. All prices are ex-showroom in Bengaluru and there are no petrol variants in the offing.
Tata Harrier is clearly winning hearts with the design. The muscular look with a high hood-line, a wide grille, swept-back LED Daytime running lights and projector headlights below bring a refreshed design to the SUV segment. The rear design is well aligned with the overall aesthetics of the Harrier, complete with sharp taillamps. It's the modern-age SUV Tata has lacked all these years.
For those who don't know, Tata Harrier is built on Land Rover's D8 platform, which is proof to where it gets those looks. It's a full-size 5-seater SUV that doesn't compromise on the looks at all.
Jumping inside the cabin doesn't change the initial impressions of the Harrier SUV. Tata Motors has used premium fibre packaging for the doors and dashboard. With a generous amount of chrome thrown around, there's a premium look that's only reserved to luxury SUVs. Since I had the chance to explore the top-end XZ variant of the Harrier, I couldn't complain about anything.
The upholstery is absolutely stunning with comfortable leather seats, spacious cabin on both front and rear ends, an 8.8 inch (7-inch in lower models) touch-based infotainment system, a non-intrusive and aesthetically pleasing parking brake, a modern gearbox with three-mode terrain system, centre armrests, leather packaging on the doors with extra compartments, cooled glove box and much more. The AC vents are positioned just right, especially at the back on the sides.
The entertainment system is powered by a 9-speaker JBL system that is so loud that at 50 percent volume, I instantly grabbed everyone's attention while testing the sounds. With the doors shut, there's little sound leaving the cabin. The rear parking camera assist is standard in all models, there's button start option, dual airbags with ABS in all models and six airbags, ESP and ESP-based terrain response system in the high-end model.
Like the spacious legroom and headroom in the Harrier, there's a spacious boot for storage. The seats can be folded to make twice the boot space, good enough to carry large gears and luggage. I missed the sunroof, not the panoramic but even the normal one, all-wheel-drive option and built-in navigation, but it's not a total disappointment if you look at the complete Harrier package.
Under that hood
Sadly, there was no test drive option at the launch of Harrier, but the specs sound promising. There is a 2.0-litre, 4 cylinder diesel engine churning out 138bhp and 350nm torque at 1800rpm. The 6-speed manual gearbox should help you get that maximum revs in each gear as there's no automatic transmission at the moment. The City, Eco and Sport drive modes and Normal, Rough and Wet terrain respond modes in the Harrier try to make up for the missing AWD options. We'll know just how good it is when we test it out.
At this price range, Tata Harrier is a tough one to be missed and the demand for the SUV is proof that consumers are responding well. There's a 3-month waiting period on the Harrier for now, but Tata is confident to fulfil consumer demands without a lot of delays.