Tata Harrier BS6 – The Truly Ultimate SUV

Tata Harrier BS6 – The Truly Ultimate SUV

October 22, 2020 / 0 Comments / 162 / ROAD TEST REVIEWS
Tata Harrier
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Tata has finally introduced the Tata Harrier BS6 after all the anticipation and fanfare

Tata Harrier

Pros:
+ The best Tata vehicle till date. Period. The styling is surely a head-turner
+ 168 bhp and 350 Nm of ample power and torque makes it an effortless highway cruiser
+ Excellent engine-gearbox combo makes it a perfect mile muncher. Absolutely no lag from the Hyundai sourced gearbox
+ Fantastic music system by OEM standards. One of the best We have ever seen
+ Extremely spacious 5 seaters. The cabin looks great with neat faux wood touches and good plastics around this part
+ Built like a Tank. The bonnet, tailgate, doors are heavy and feel they are built to last
+ The AC is a bone chiller. The best we have experienced in recent times. Blower levels 6 & 7 could have been less noisy
+ Great feature list with a panoramic sunroof, electric driver’s seat, auto headlamps, cruise control and safety kit includes 6 airbags, ESP, HDC. Also, the headlights gave a good intensity
+ More importantly, much better than the 2019 model in every possible way. Tata should have launched the diesel-automatic back then

Cons:
– With great power comes great responsibility. Although direct, the steering is very light post 120 kmph. You would have to be really careful in sudden direction changes
– The engine gets noisy in Sport mode where the gears are changed at 4000 rpm and the noise is unpleasant
– The gearbox is a delight but slightly misses out on the wow factor in terms of acceleration. Manual mode doesn’t help much
– No petrol option! A big opportunity missed. Every other competitor is offering this. No AWD either
– Small dead pedal for an automatic, I could not accommodate my foot
– Electric boot release and hydraulic struts for bonnet are missed. Esp the former, it’s a task to open and shut the boot and bonnet
– Small issues like the infotainment lag could be fixed through a software update
– The top-end XZA+ retails at 24 lakhs on road, Delhi

After arriving with a bang at the 2018 Auto Expo with the H5X Concept, Tata promised the final production model was going to be extremely similar to the show car. The design team lived up to its promise when the Tata Harrier made its official debut in production form. The SUV with an all-new design language and butch proportions made the Harrier very desirable. But when the spec-sheet was released, it left a lot to be desired. The Harrier had a 30hp deficit, missed out on an automatic transmission, and there were some initial glitches with the vehicle as well. Now Tata says those glitches are no more, so we drove the new 2020 Harrier to find out.

Tata Harrier

What’s New?

The 2020 Harrier is more or less the same as the outgoing model. However, there are some small yet significant changes:

  • The 2020 Harrier now gets a massive panoramic sunroof in the top-spec variant, which is largest in its segment
  • It also gets an auto-dimming inner rear view mirror which was sorely missed on the outgoing model
  • A 6-way electrically adjustable driver seat has been added to make things easier for the driver while on the move
  • Extra USB port with improved accessibility
  • A new colour option called ‘Calypso Red’ with dual-tone options
  • Newly designed dual-tone diamond-cut 17-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels
  • Slimmer ORVMs while still managing to offer a good view
  • ESP as standard on all variants
  • Additional warranty of 5 years/unlimited km

Exterior

Tata Harrier

Why fix something that isn’t broken?  The Tata Harrier was always a stunning car it dropped jaws when it arrived as an H5X concept in the auto expo 2018. Tata promised back then that the production variant would be closely matched to the concept and boy they kept up their words. Although the exterior changes aren’t significant, some additional bits add to the already striking looks of it. It’s one of the very few cars that have styling as its USP. The headlamps follow the trend of being placed below making way for the DRLs on top. This is something that cannot be attempted by many cars and fortunately, Harrier excels in it. While we still couldn’t get over its beautiful front, we were drooled by the superb finish of the rear tail lamps integration. It’s certain that Tata Motors has put in a lot of effort to ensure that there is no stone left unturned especially in the design department. 

Speaking of the roof, Tata has now given the Harrier a large panoramic sunroof which Tata claims is the widest in the segment. Mind you, it’s not just another panoramic sunroof as it comes with some of the most intelligent features such as rain-sensing, anti pitch etc. It’s the small yet significant things like these that separated it from rest of the breed. Apart from the roof, which also does eat a little bit of headroom for the rear passengers, the cabin has largely been left untouched. The roof rails complement the oral characteristics of the Harrier and they do a perfect job in enhancing the appeal. As discussed earlier, Tata has decided to follow the crowd and opt-in for the Diamond-cut alloy wheels. In a nutshell, it’s one of those SUVs that you would look back after parking it.

In case you could, we would strongly recommend you to pick the dual-tone variant as it goes well with the charismatic SUV. TaMo has also bought in the dark edition which looks strikingly hot.

Interior

Tata Harrier

The interior of the Tata Harrier is not very different from the model that was launched last year. The overall layout of the dashboard remains the same – it still has a 7.0-inch TFT display and an 8.8-inch central touchscreen. The infotainment screen is intuitive to use but could have been wider. however, there is no wireless charging option and no tyre pressure monitors. Also, while the upper half of the dashboard is all premium and plush, the plastics used in the door panels deserved an improvement. 

But, what’s commendable has the home-grown manufacturer has come a really long way from the days of Indica to the mighty Harrier:

There are a few small changes, which, interestingly, have done wonders in improving the overall ergonomics of the car. For instance, in the 2019 Harrier, the USB port under the climate control was tucked in too far below the centre console. Fortunately, now it has been brought forward, making it easy to use without contorting your body. There are also two more USB ports – one in the central armrest and another for the rear passengers.

Tata Harrier

The steering gets a plethora of control options. Cruise control, a volume control to name a few. Quality of stalks is top-notch, something that we wish to see in other Tata cars as well. We really love the Bangalore option on the interiors. It looks very upmarket and premium. The seats are really supportive, and squeezing three people are there is definitely not a problem unlike its counterpart as always like the creator. If we had to pick one thing that we really loved about the interiors of the Harriet, it’s the wooden trim running across the dashboard this goes very well with the angle of the interiors.

Driving

Tata Harrier

1 of the 2 most significant changes to the  Tata Harrier is the introduction of a more powerful version of the 2.0L diesel engine. Called “Kryotec170”, the motor now produces 168 BHP (@ 3,750 rpm) and 350 Nm (@ 1,750 – 2,500 rpm). That is a gain of 30 BHP over the old Harrier! And the good news keeps coming. The second one being that the Harrier finally gets a 6-speed AT which does the job perfectly well. The automatic is priced at a premium of around 1.2 L lakhs over the manual variants, although this is marginally higher than the generic price gap between the Manual and the Auto, we really feel its worth it.

Astonishingly, the weight of the car has increased but on the other side, the power-to-weight ratio too has increased from 82 bhp/ton to 98 bhp/ton which is a healthy 20% increase from the earlier one and this is evident when you are munching miles on the highway.

The automatic gearbox has been sourced from Hyundai and is very smooth & competent. It’s one of the BEST we have driven in recent times. Tata has put in the effort to reduce the NVH levels & it shows. On startup, the car does not feel as nervous as before. The AT is superbly tuned and enjoys a good partnership with the Kryotec170. This smooth-shifting AT makes the Harrier far easier to drive in the city. Liftoff the brake pedal and the Harrier will start crawling forward instantly which is a boon in densely congested cities like Namma Bengaluru. The SUV moves off seamlessly from a standstill & there is no lag to speak of. Light accelerator input is all you’ll need to commute. The accelerator pedal is also feather-light and has a minimal throw, which just makes this AT that much nicer to drive. With an easy right foot, the gearbox shifts up early and shift quality is very smooth.

Tata Harrier

On the open road, the 168 bhp & 350 nm give the Harrier AT enough muscle to please even enthusiastic drivers. Fast drivers won’t be left wanting on long expressways. The acceleration is quick enough. This SUV is a capable cruiser that munches miles comfortably, seeing 100 km/h @ just 1,700 rpm and 120 km/h @ 2,200 rpm. Overtaking slower moving traffic is an effortless experience too & the Harrier AT is a brilliant long-distance companion.

Apart from the default ‘City’ driving mode, you get the ‘Eco’ mode for the ‘Kitna deti hai’ which feels fairly better than the conventional Eco mode of other cars. The ‘Sport’ mode is where the actual fun is. The car begs to be revved harder. The throttle response is fantastic and the gear shifts happen at higher rpm. WIsh the sportiness had transformed into the steering to translating the weight. We would like to see in the Harrier is an all-wheel-drive system. As far as we know, Tata Motors has no plans to introduce an AWD/4WD version and the demand is admittedly minuscule, but they should think about it. An AWD AT will make the Harrier a kick-ass tourer, while also bestowing it with more marketing cred.

NVH levels have overall improved. but the diesel starts getting loud above 3,000 – 3,500 rpm. Once past 4,000 rpm, the engine note is Loud. Nevertheless, the EXCELLENT music system from JBL comes to your rescue. We would rate it a well deserved 9/10. The vocals, the bass and the treble are top-notch.

While the Harrier ticks most of the boxes right, the biggest let down is the way the steering has been tuned. The steering is heavy at parking speeds and is FEATHER-SENSITIVE at triple-digit speeds after 120 kmph. This is a hindrance in over-taking as it’s not the most-confidence inspiring of the lot. We really wish TaMo had spent a good bandwidth in tuning it to good standards. We would have largely preferred steering that is light on the parking speeds and gets heavier with food speeds.

Ride & Handling

Tata Harrier

Tata has always known to pack punch in the driving dynamics, especially in the handling department. The Safari, the Hexa, the Aria have all-known to handle well without apt nervousness at triple-digit speeds. With the Harrier underpinning the LandRover’s legendary platform, things have moved to a whole new level. There is body roll, a fair bit of it, but there is also good grip and you can carry rather high speeds through bends.

The Harrier still delivers the best ride quality in this segment, a little firm at low speeds but once you pick up speed it steamrolls over everything. You can cruise ad decent speeds over small potholes and frequent speed-breakers in Karnataka and yet you won’t have anything much to complain about.  The braking is spot-on in most of the conditions. On the upside, all variants of the Harrier get ESP as standard and then there’s that Terrain Mode dial which delivers different engine maps for wet roads and off-road terrain, though this remains an FWD SUV with no sign of 4×4 in the foreseeable future.

Shutterdrives Says… 

Tata Harrier

Without a certain doubt, The Harrier is the best product we have seen from the Tata’s stable. It’s a bundle of Almost everything that you would expect at this price bracket, it drives well it looks astonishingly amazing and is loaded with bells and whistles. If there is something that’s lacking in this otherwise perfect SUV, its the steering sensitivity at higher speeds and we really wish, the sticker price was slightly easier on the pocket because we expect the 7 seater Gravitas to launch shortly and Tata might position it a good couple of lakhs higher in order to avoid the cannibalization for Harrier. Tata has also roped in a Dark edition of the Harrier that takes the styling to a whole new level.

Shutterdrives Rating -> 8.5/10

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