With just a month to go before Tata Motors announces the pricing for the Harrier, enthusiasts out there are keen to know if this is the perfect purchase in the Rs 12-16 lakh bracket. This is a tough call as the segment also has the good old Mahindra XUV500 which continues to sell in good numbers. So which one among the two SUVs should be your pick if you are a casual enthusiast?
Harrier vs XUV500 : Street Cred
The XUV500 is a large SUV but the Harrier beats it in terms of length and width, even if by a whisker. But its not the dimensions that has us interested but the bold stance and aggressive front end that overshadows the XUV500. Don’t get us wrong, the XUV still turns heads on the road but the Harrier does it in a better way. Ditto for the rear profile that is sportier – both the SUVs here though offer dual exhaust outlets too.
The XUV earns brownie points in terms of far better looking alloy wheels and a more proportionate stance. This makes it a very close call in this first parameter of design and aesthetics. To be fair, you won’t go wrong with any of the option but the Harrier will announce your arrival in a slightly better manner.
Harrier vs XUV500 : The Inside Story
Tata has broken new grounds with the cabin design of the Harrier. Its the best yet from this company and offers high quality materials including faux wooden inserts and a good mix of features that look good visually – the largest screen in the segment for example. And then there are supremely comfortable seats, the best in class speedometer display with a huge screen for vital information, large inner door handles and a cool terrain response mode selector.
The XUV500 doesn’t lag too much in this department either. While the design is clearly old now, it offers far more features for the causal enthusiast. For example, a larger cooled under-arm storage space, a sunroof, conversation mirror, tyre tropics and so on. Space is more or less similar in both the cars but the XUV has a clear advantage with a 3rd row of seats – if that is vital to you for example.
So while the Harrier feels fresh and modern, the XUV has more features and a 3rd row. If you can live with the slightly dated cabin design and an average audio output, the XUV will keep you happy. It even has ambient lighting, something sorely missing on the Harrier during long night drives.
Harrier vs XUV500 : The drive
An increasing number of enthusiasts are looking at exploring the unknown and also want the convenience of an automatic. This is where the Harrier takes a back seat. Unlike the XUV, it does not get an optional automatic or AWD or even a petrol engine option. The XUV’s 2.2-litre motor has been updated over the years and puts out more power and higher torque than the Harrier’s. It is even a tad smoother with better insulation and the AWD makes it a far better adventure companion.
If you want a manual though, the Harrier’s 2-litre diesel unit will impress you. The same one that powers the Compass (but with more power), the Harrier is made for highway runs. Really has the punch and yet, like the XUV, can take on city traffic at lower rpms. But as we said above, its more audible and has to prove its long term reliability in the market. My own XUV has done 1.1 lakh km and goes on without any powertrain issues at all. The XUV also has a larger fuel tank, giving it a longer tank range in real world conditions. Round three then goes to the XUV
Harrier vs XUV500 : Ride and handling
The important part as we sure a casual enthusiast would want his large SUV to have good dynamics without effecting the ever important comfort factor. This is where the Harrier overshadows the XUV completely. Developed on the D8 Land Rover platform, the Harrier is a very capable vehicle at high speeds and around corners. It has the bulk but performs much better, aiding driver confidence in the process.
Likewise, it offers excellent high speed comfort, absorbing undulations, broken roads and potholes are crazy speeds. The XUV is good in this regard, but the Harrier is two notches above. If you look at the 4×2 versions of both the models, the Harrier again has an upper hand thanks to terrain response modes. I have personally tried the Rough mode that cleverly transfers power to the (front) wheel that has more traction on hand. So even with AWD, the Harrier will manage decent off-roading in my opinion.
Right then, the Harrier wins this hand, being a more comfortable SUV with better dynamics.
Harrier vs XUV500 : The verdict
Do note that we are strictly keeping a casual enthusiast in mind. If you are a family man, read our earlier article HERE. While pricing isn’t out yet, we all know the Harrier will have a starting sticker price of about Rs 12 lakh that puts it neck to neck with the XUV, post the discounts. It looks better with those stunning wide DRLs, has a great engine, is more comfortable and is a better handling SUV. These are all the traits that an enthusiast seeks. If the lack of an automatic and AWD isn’t a deal breaker for you, there is no reason why a casual enthusiast like you shouldn’t walk into Tata showrooms soon. That’s our final verdict.