Why would I buy it?
- Strong diesel engine performance
- Looks handsome
- Modern features
Why would I avoid it?
- No petrol or hybrid powertrain
- Inconsistent quality of materials
Engine and Performance
Under the hood, there have been no updates and the Harrier continues to be powered by the same 2.0-litre diesel engine that is tuned to produce 168bhp and 350Nm of peak torque. The transmission duties are handled by a six-speed manual and a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission. We sampled the manual iteration!
Now besides this, Tata has also added three drive modes and 2 terrain modes. The drive modes are Economy, City, and Sport whereas the terrain modes are Rough and Wet. Starting with the Economy mode, the throttle inputs are slightly dull but are best suited for city and while tackling bumper-to-bumper traffic. Shift to the city mode and this is the mode which is best suited for most of the driving. The inputs are linear and power builds gradually. Slot the Harrier in the Sport mode, and this mode truly unleashes the capability of the diesel engine. The throttle responses are sharp and the power delivery is instantaneous.
Talking about the electrically-assisted steering, it is well weighted and there is a perceptible difference while manoeuvring the Harrier in different modes. Like all Tatas, the ride quality of the Harrier is spot on. It may feel slightly stiff at lower speeds, but build up pace, and cross the three-digit speeds, and the ride improves significantly. It tackles the rough roads and bumps with ease.
Ride and Handling
The steering now feels lighter than the previous generation and evidently, weighs up as you switch between the different drive modes. Another noticeable difference in the Harrier is the improved NVH levels. Tata says that they have added insulation and dampening and that clearly reflects in the quiet cabin experience when on the move. There is almost no road or tyre noise and we like the satisfying sound while closing the doors.
The new Harrier continues to have a tall and butch stance and with the introduction of the new Sunlit Yellow shade, the Harrier has an enhanced and imposing road presence. The highlight at the front is of course this new connecting LED DRLs with sequential turn indicators and we really like this new front grille which unlike other SUVs in the segment is not chrome studded but instead prefers a contrasting colour combination.
The bright Sunlight Yellow exterior hue is a bold move by Tata and really suits the Harrier. The posterior looks properly modern with the new and chiseled tail lamps that are now connected by a light bar. And the fun bit, these get a cool light show with welcome and goodbye function each time you unlock and lock this car.
Comfort, Convenience, and Features
Now, earlier this year, the Harrier did receive significant updates in the form of a bigger infotainment system, a new digital instrument cluster, and even ADAS! But with this facelift, Tata has taken things a notch further!
This particular contrasting yellow theme is offered with the top-spec Fearless trim and the bright accents are scattered on the dash, centre console, and grab handles. We like how Tata has continued to offer the illuminated logo on the steering wheel but this one instead of Nexon’s two-spoke is a four-spoke design that goes well with the cabin theme.
The cabin is well put together and everything feels premium and upmarket. Sure, there are a few rough edges here and there and the wireless charging pad is still tricky to operate. But the improvement in the cabin is surely up to the mark to compete against its primary rival, the Mahindra XUV700. We would have also preferred the touch panel on the dashboard to provide a bit more feedback but then including physical buttons for the blower and temperature has retained the essence and convenience of the conventional setup.
Now, in the second row of the Harrier, the occupants here are in for a pampering experience. Firstly, the Harrier is slightly wider now and can easily seat three with ample of leg and shoulder room. But wait there’s more! These rear-row sunshades and cleverly designed rear headrests that adjust from the side along with the armrest mean that being chauffeured around in this SUV would be comfortable.
Safety and Tata cars go hand in hand and the Harrier takes things to the next level as it offers 7 airbags! While 6 are standard across the variants the Harrier also gets front parking sensors, a tyre pressure monitor, a 360-degree camera, three-point seat belts for all passengers, and a suite of ADAS features that now include adaptive cruise control, doze-off alert, over speed assist, and cornering assist.
The new Harrier in its 2023 avatar looks modern while maintaining its true essence of being a reliable diesel SUV. And with the inclusion of new features and a thoroughly modern and well-equipped cabin, this proposition from Tata is hard to ignore. But then, it still misses out on a petrol or hybrid powertrain and we would have appreciated consistency of the quality of materials used inside the cabin.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi