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Tata Harrier Review: A smaller Land Rover with Tata insignia  

  

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Ever since Tata Motors showcased their H5X concept at the 2018 Auto Expo, the Harrier became one of the most anticipated cars of the year. You see, it all harks back to 2008 when Tata Motors successfully completed the acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover. And at that moment, the first question that popped up in everyone’s mind was – will we be seeing a smaller Land Rover from Tata? Well, after years of planning and production, Tata showcased their H5X concept. Now, what can we expect from the mid-size SUV? Does it drive as good as it looks? Read on our Tata Harrier review to find out.

A smaller Land Rover, they said?

Yes, Indeed. Thankfully, most of the design traits, or rather the DNA of the H5X concept made it to the Harrier. And it looks absolutely scintillating, especially in the Calisto Copper shade that we came across in our Harrier review. What’s impressive on the Harrier is the nose’s unique design – there are sleek DRLs that double up as side indicators in the place of the headlamp along with the three-dimensional humanity line front grille reminiscent of the company’s new Impact 2.0 design. Below the DRLs, you get a chunky projector unit with white HIDs along with the fog lamps and the lower lip of the front bumper comes with a skid plate, to remind you that this is an SUV!

Citing the side profile, you can notice the well-proportioned wheel arches which gives the SUV an imposing road presence. The svelte lines across the doors flowing all the way to the C-pillar and then merging into the LED tail lamps are hard to miss and adds brawn to its overall presence. In addition to that, it also gets a chunky silver insert on the C-pillar with Harrier inscribed on it. And while the overall stance looks dapper, the smaller 17-inch, 5-spoke wheels look puny paired to the colossal size of the Harrier. The Harrier also comes with logo projection lamps placed beneath the chunky rear-view mirrors which is quite practical as illuminates the floor in the dark. At the back, there is a piano black strip that connects the LED tail lamps, and it further adds to the sporty nature of the Harrier.

And what about the Cabin?

Step inside the cabin, and the first thing that catches your fancy is the massive 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen. It looks gorgeous, is slick to operate and it gets all the basic amenities like Apple Carplay, Android Auto, Bluetooth and even the climate control display. However, with those thick bezels, it does look a bit out of date. What we also liked is the dual-coloured dashboard that comes with oak wood finish and silver inserts below, while the top-most section is plastic. That said, the plastic quality is decent but it does not match the upmarket feel of the Hexa. Tata Motors has tried to think out of the box by replacing a conventional handbrake lever by an aircraft like pull lever. In my opinion though, I would have loved to see an electronic parking brake, at least on the top-spec variant.

The Harrier comes with a plenty of cubby holes and smart storage spaces like an umbrella holder, mobile holder and bottle holder inside the door pads and a stowage tray in the glove box. In addition to that, you also get a cooled storage box between the driver and front passenger’s seat. The chocolate brown leather-wrapped seats are extremely comfortable and in our time drafting the Tata Harrier review, there was adequate cushion and support for the back over long drives.

Automatic, who?

The Harrier is powered by an FCA-sourced 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine that also propels in the Jeep Compass. Unlike the Jeep’s output of 170bhp, Tata has detuned the powertrain to 138bhp, all in the interest of fuel efficiency. The engine comes paired to a six-speed manual gearbox, and yes, there is no automatic on offer. Like the bigger Hexa, or rather the smaller Nexon, the Harrier also comes with an option of three driving modes – Eco, City and Sport. We started off in the City mode, we expected the power delivery to be adequate, especially at slow driving speeds. In our Tata Harrier review, we felt the power delivery to be quite sluggish and the Harrier struggled to build up the required pace. However, things started to take a U-turn when you put it into the Sport mode, the throttle response is marginally better, and the Harrier easily builds up the pace that it struggled to in the City mode. That said, we weren’t gutsy enough to try on the Economy mode.

The Harrier is based on the Discovery Sport’s platform, but unlike the giant SUV, the Harrier does not get an independent suspension system, in the interest of cost-cutting. Out on the road though, the semi-independent suspension does a decent job and even on broken roads, the Harrier provided a lush and pliant ride, save for the fact that it felt slightly uncomfortable for rear passengers at highway speeds. As for the handling part, the steering feels way too light and although high speed stability is good, the steering did not inspire any confidence through the way.

Our impressions!

The Harrier has a lot going for it, starting from its contemporary design to the split-headlamp affair to the Land Rover Discovery resemblance, the Harrier will appeal to a lot of the customers. The cabin also feels nice, plush and spacious, and it’s well-loaded too. Then there are safety feature such as six airbags, ESP, traction control, ESC and ISOFIX child seat mounts that work in the favour of the SUV. That said, being a Tata, we can also expect a class-leading Global NCAP rating from the Harrier, when it comes. But for now, it all comes down to the pricing, and in my opinion, it’s likely to give the competitors a run for their money. To read our full Tata Harrier review, and to learn more about this snazzy-looker SUV, be sure to tune in to autoX.

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