In the past if you would have visited Tata Showrooms looking for a compact SUV, all you would have been offered was a Tata Harrier with a diesel engine mated to a manual transmission. Those looking for more options had to turn to other brands and that was one reason why Harrier didn’t turn out to be as big a hit as we expected and sales went down eventually. Well! Tata always had a plan to bring in an automatic Harrier just that it took some time in coming. Though it’s not just the new automatic transmission, the Harrier now gets a BS6 compliant engine along with a bunch of updates inside-out. Let’s take you through all that’s new while we also try to answer that are these updates enough to make up for the lost ground.
Also Read: 2020 Tata Harrier BS6: Variants Explained
The Style Quotient
The Tata Harrier sticks to its original IMPACT 2.0 design which is good as that macho appeal with curvaceous proportions has been well acclaimed. That said, there is a fresh aura around it because of this new dual-tone Calypso Red paint with gloss black roof. In fact, the entire body colour range has been updated and there are now five colours to choose from- Cocoa Sparkle, Tolesto Grey, Black Dark Edition, Orcus White and of course this Calypso Red.
A little flash can be added with a dash of chrome around the Headlamps and DRLs along with the grille. Adding to the stance are new 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels in the top-end XZA+ trim and wing mirrors finished in gloss are redesigned as well.
Optional chrome package also includes a strip highlighting the wheelbase and even at the rear changes are limited to the chrome finish on the pseudo exhaust mufflers.
The cabin too is a familiar space seeing no changes in the layout or fit and finish. But there are new features. The top of the line XZA+ trim gets panoramic sunroof and then there is the 6-way power adjustable driver’s seat along with auto-dimming rear view mirror and adblue solution gauge on the instrument panel right under the rev counter.
Then as always, there’s the 8.8-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity system, auto climate control and a 9-speaker JBL sound system. There’s still no connected car tech on it though. We’ve seen it on the Nexon EV from the company and not having it in the Harrier where almost the majority of rivals are offering, is a big miss in our opinion.
The Big Update
Under the hood there’s still the Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine which is now BS6 complaint. At 168 bhp it belts out about 30 bhp more while the torque remains the same at 350 Nm. It’s mated to a brand new 6-speed automatic transmission sourced from Hyundai and that will be our main focus for this drive.
|TATA HARRIER BS6||SPECIFICATIONS|
|DISPLACEMENT||1956 cc, 4 Cylinder|
|MAX POWER||168 bhp @ 3750 rpm|
|PEAK TORQUE||350 Nm @ 1750 – 2500 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||6-SPEED MANUAL / AUTOMATIC|
This six-speed gearbox feels a bit friskier in the way it delivers the power when you compare it to the manual transmission. There is just a bit of hesitation when you kick down, after which it takes off and power build up is right up to 3800 rpm, offering a good mid-range.
There is ample torque at the low end too kicking in at just below 1800 rpm. While the top end has improved marginally with that slight upsurge in power output, it is still not fond of being revved hard.
We also got the opportunity to drive the manual transmission where the shifts felt smoother compared to the BS4 models and that’s about it. It’s the driving modes that need some explaining. The difference between them is most perceptible in the Harrier among all the Tata cars we have driven. So, when you are driving in city mode the revs won’t build up higher letting you cruise in a relaxed way. But as soon as you switch to sports, things get aggressive, rpms go right to the red line and it gives you a reassurance while you are overtaking or even when you are being a little harsh with your throttle inputs.
How It Drives
The Harrier impresses with its supple ride quality as well. The suspension soaks up bumps quite well and as it’s a big car and there’s a hint of body roll when cornering at high speeds but still it’s not unnerving. That said, we could do with better steering feedback. It’s adequately weighs up at higher speeds but you would like to have more feedback while changing directions. Then there’s torque steer where you feel a tremor in the front wheels when low-end torque kicks in, a big reason why such a big SUV would be better off with rear wheel drive setup.
There are enough electronics on-board ensuring stability. Standard features include Traction Control, Rollover Mitigation, Electronic Stability Program and Corner Stability Control among others. Though, the brakes feel spongy and we hoped it had a better bite to it.
While ABS with EBD and dual airbags remain standard, in higher variants you also get six airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchorage, Terrain response modes, off-road ABS and more.
How Well Is It Priced
The Tata Harrier automatic is available in three variants- XMA, XZA and the range-topping XZA+ Prices for the Harrier start at ₹ 13.69 lakh for the manual and ₹ 16.25 lakh for the Automatic, topping out at ₹ 20.25 lakh.
It’s around ₹ 2.71 lakh more expensive than the Kia Seltos Diesel Automatic while undercuts the Jeep Compass diesel automatic by a good ₹ 5.71 lakh. It even fares up closely against the MG Hector petrol automatic which is just ₹ 31,000 cheaper than the Harrier.
So with some styling updates, quite a few updates in the features department and a BS6 engine that’s now available with an automatic transmission, the Tata Harrier is stepping up in the game. That said, even competition offers it all and the next thing that we see coming is the diesel automatic MG Hector that too gets the same 2.0-litre engine which is a Fiat sourced engine. So it’s definitely not going to be an easy fight and we hope Tata Motors also brings a petrol engine in the Harrier sooner than later to tap that side of the segment as well.
Picture Courtesy: Pawan Dagia