The Tata Harrier has been finally launched. Is it truly above all?

The Tata Harrier was launched today at a starting price of INR 12.69 lacs (ex-showroom Delhi). Ever since its concept H5X was first showcased at the Auto Expo 2018, the Harrier has been an anticipated launch.

The Harrier is Tata Motor’s first product in the premium mid-size SUV segment and may see a fair bit of customer traction thanks to its design and competitive pricing. But some auto enthusiasts and experts we spoke to privately, seem a bit underwhelmed. More on that later.

Engineered on the Optimal Modular Efficient Global Advanced (OMEGA) Architecture which is derived from Land Rover’s D8 Platform and optimised for Indian conditions, the Harrier has been tested for over 2.2 million kms before launch. Which is commendable. It sports the IMPACT 2.0 design language and combined with its aggressive price, is clearly targeted at the aspiring Indian middle class who would care more about looks than SUV capabilities and performance.

The proportions and expressive surfaces of the Harrier are spot on, resulting in an impressive road presence. It sports a floating roof with bold chrome finisher, flared wheel arches and dual function LED DRLs that accentuate its overall presence.

The interior is a blend of style and practicality. The broad faux wood panel on the dash (plastic actually) is a bit overdone in our opinion and doesn’t look very good up close. However, quality of materials used is quite refined otherwise, and the overall combination of colours lends a premium feel.

The Harrier will be available in four variants and five colour options and the prices are:
XE: INR 12.69 lacs / XM: INR 13.75 lacs / XT: INR 14.95 lacs / XZ: INR 16.25 lacs

Safety features include Advanced Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with 14 added functionalities, 6 Airbags and Child Seat ISOFIX anchor points.

It is powered by the locally manufactured 2.0L multi jet turbo diesel borrowed from Fiat, mated to a 6-speed manual and is tuned to deliver 140PS peak power and 350Nm torque. For its weight, it seems inadequate. ARAI certified mileage figure stand at 16.7 km/l, which is lower than the Jeep Compass and the Hyundai Creta. There are multiple drive modes though (Eco, City, Sport) and Terrain Response Modes (Normal, Rough, Wet), but it doesn’t make up for the lack of a 4×4.

The Harrier comes with a floating island touchscreen infotainment system, with an 8.8” high resolution display and supports Android Auto & Apple Car Play, The App Suite allows video & image playback, voice recognition & SMS readout, voice alerts, and more. All media, phone and navigation information seamlessly mirrors between the infotainment and 7” Coloured TFT Display Instrument Cluster. The 320W RMS JBL Audio System with 9 speakers creates an acoustically-tuned audio experience.

What do the experts say?
We spoke to several auto experts who have spent more time engaging with the vehicle, and here’s what they have to say. While Harrier is a well designed and well priced product, it could have been a lot more. It is a front wheel drive, doesn’t offer a 4×4 option, and is not as capable as one would expect it to be. For a vehicle based on the legendary Land Rover platform, that’s a bit of a downer. It’s heavy & noisy, and the power delivery just about adequate. The drive isn’t the most spirited and there is nothing that excites behind the wheel. There is no automatic option and fuel efficiency isn’t the greatest.

A few more inadequacies are the lack of a sun roof, and the fact that the undersized 17″ ordinary looking alloys ruin the profile considerably. Interior fit & finish is good and so is the cabin space, but there are ergonomic issues – with considerable effort required to get the steering angle, lumbar support and seat height adjustment right. (We experienced this in the Hexa too, and it’s a killjoy effect that takes away the pleasure of driving). The touchscreen isn’t the most intuitive or tactile. And the noise levels in the cabin are high. This doesn’t look like a vehicle that will age too well.

While the Land Rover pedigree created a lot of initial excitement, at heart this one still remains a Tata. It’s the foreign returned desi. Not the Brit cousin in the family.

More on the Harrier when we do a detailed drive review.  Read more Latest News Blog

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