The Tata Harrier has been selling quite well in the Indian market, but the brand has been quietly working on a facelift to keep the competition on its toes. Tata recently introduced the new Harrier, and we drove the car for a short while to find out what the changes feel like in the new model.
Ever since Martin Ulharik took the reins at Tata Motors, the design of Tata cars has become the talk of the town. The Harrier, even though it never felt timid, has now become bold and loud. While it retains its silhouette, the changes at the front, including the new grille and bumper, add a touch of modernity that was missing. The Harrier now truly looks like a global car and would not look out of place on European roads.
The design of the alloy wheels, though, looks a bit disappointing and does not match the extroverted design lines of the SUV. The rear also gets a new treatment with an angular tail lamp setup, similar to the new Nexon, and a LED lightbar as well.
The lightbars, both at the front and the rear, play animations to welcome the person who presses the unlock button on the remote key. Overall, the design, the color palettes, and the stance of the Harrier stand out in the crowd. It looks fresh and rekindles the onlooker’s interest in the vehicle when it first came out in 2019.
But Tata has used a lot of glossy finish on the Harrier. You will find it on critical parts like the front grille and the bumpers. A glossy finish and dusty Indian weather will not be good friends, to say the least.
The cabin of the new Tata Harrier now comes alive with vibrant color schemes. The top-end variant that we drove came with a splash of sunburst yellow, and it looks like a very interesting choice. The seats also get contrasting stitches. The all-black cabin of the Harrier feels youthful with the changes.
Right in the middle sits a 12.2-inch infotainment system, which is bright and crisp with almost no bezels around it. The response of the infotainment is top-notch, and it is bright enough to be operated under direct sunlight. There are various connectivity options like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which can be used wirelessly. Additionally, Tata has now added the Alexa to Home feature, which allows you to control Alexa-connected devices straight from the car. It is a useful feature, especially for millennials who automate most of the menial tasks like switching lights on at sunset.
There is more. The instrument cluster of a 10.25-inch size is also bright and crisp, showing various information and allowing you to customize the view according to your preference. There is a full map view that displays the map on the instrument cluster and works as well as a head-up display (HUD).
The feature list is massive. From a dual-zone climate control system to convenience features like a rear sunblind, the Harrier has it all. It also gets a capacitive touch-based climate control system and a glossy finish on the dashboard. Maintaining the shine on this gloss will require some extra care. There is more gloss on the steering wheel as well. The new digitized Tata logo now glows on the four-spoke steering wheel.
For the young generation, there are 7 charging points in the Harrier, including a wireless charging pad and a 12V charging socket. Tata has also added a 45W charging socket that you can use to charge the batteries of your laptops as well.
The car is spacious, and with comfortable seats, it is a family car that everyone would want to have. However, it is more suited for a family of four because the fifth member does not get a headrest in the rear middle and also misses out on leg space because of the high transmission hump.
While the cabin has become all modern and premium, the manual gear lever looks out of place. It does not match its surroundings at all, and we hope that Tata addresses this sooner rather than later.
The new Harrier has also become safer than before, with 6 airbags as standard across the variants. The top-end variant, though, gets an additional knee airbag, offering a total of 7.
Driving it around
Under the skin, the new Harrier remains identical to the pre-facelift model. It gets a 2.0-litre Multijet diesel engine that generates a maximum power of 170 PS and a peak torque of 350 Nm. It provides ample power for the vehicle. It can overtake easily, cruise at lower RPMs because of its six-speed transmission options, or participate in a drag race.
However, the setup of the engine and manual transmission does feel crude. Perhaps Tata could have used some more insulating materials to make it quieter. Also, the travel of the clutch pedal is massive. It has not changed, but we wonder if Tata could do much about it since they source the engine and do not make it in-house.
The suspension has been tweaked, and the ride quality has become much better compared to before, but there is still ample body roll. The new steering wheel system, though, has made a great impact on the handling. Tata Harrier now offers electric power steering with variable weight. The new steering ensures that the Harrier is now a much better handling vehicle than before.
There are different modes like before, including Sport, Economy, and City. While it changes the engine mapping, with the new steering wheel system, the weight of the steering itself varies. So, the confidence that may be lost due to the body roll might get negated with the new steering wheel system.
Should you buy it then?
The Harrier has become better than before in every aspect – looks, features, and safety. However, the vehicle still feels like a typical Tata with a few uneven panel gaps and rough edges. But such things fail to concern most buyers, and we think that most buyers would prefer to have the butch and badass Harrier in their garage instead of measuring the small, ignorable quality issues. And we all know how well Tata plays the price game. We will get to see the price of the new Harrier on 17th October. But regardless, we believe that the sight of the new Harrier will become common on the roads in the coming few months.