A lot many vehicles pass by on the road, but there are a few, which you, even unknowingly, end up laying your eyes on. The Tata Harrier belongs to that category. Such is the presence of this SUV that you just cannot ignore it. The Harrier now gets a black roof, which enhances its appeal even more, making it look meaner.
Looks apart, what sets the Harrier aside, are its highway mannerisms. It is the highway where this SUV truly comes into its own. This we experienced during our occasional runs between Mumbai and Pune. I used to find the Harrier a bit heavy in tight traffic conditions, something which is an inherent part of Mumbai. More so, because of the hydraulic steering setup, which feels heavy at parking speeds. However, my understanding of the Harrier began to change once I took it out on the highway and spent some quality time behind its wheel.
The Kryotech engine that is a 2.0-litre diesel unit, sourced from Fiat and is also found in some other SUVs, is one of the reasons that makes this SUV a superior driving experience. The other reason is the fantastic chassis setup, based on Jaguar Land Rover’s D8 architecture. A truly global SUV in that regard, the Harrier, though has certain flaws in ergonomics and interior quality, impresses very much in the drive department. I wish some bits could have been better, for example, the seat height adjustment lever is as flimsy as it gets. The lower part of the dashboard often fouls with your left knee and drivers with a heavy structure will find it cumbersome. The ORVMS are too big and are mounted high, which obstructs vision, specially on turns.
One big improvement I found in the Tata Harrier now, is the NVH. The cabin feels much more quieter now and there is minimal engine noise entering inside. This goes a long way in making your drive comfortable. I wish Tata had paid attention to this earlier. However, this update is welcome and makes the Harrier a better vehicle. Another factor that adds pleasure to your drive is the infotainment system. Though, I found a bit of lag at times, overall it is quite functional. Then the icing on the cake are the 9 JBL speakers and the 320 watts audio system, which can turn this SUV into a lounge on wheels. Well, almost.
The Harrier is built for cruising and this is evident in the way it behaves on highways. The 6-speed transmission makes cruising better, though an automatic unit is highly desirable in this SUV. The City driving mode moves the Harrier in a relaxed manner from stand still or low speeds, but switch it to the Sport mode and this big SUV comes to life. It offers quite a zippy performance and pulls away strongly to reach triple digit figures, quite swiftly. The Harrier has a strong mid-range performance and feels relaxed cruising at 120 km/h, while there is enough power available in reserve, whenever needed. Overtaking is a breeze in it. Also, the steering response is very good, giving you precise feedback about the road.
As far as road presence is concerned, this SUV is second to none. While you pass or overtake the Fortuners and Endeavours of the world, you hardly feel intimidated. The Harrier also looks more expensive and upmarket than it actually is. Space is abundant and is a much desired feature when buying an SUV. Fortunately, the Harrier does not compromise on that either.
The Harrier is priced between Rs.12.70 lakhs to Rs.16.25 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). So, if you are a highway person, looking for a set of wheels that can fulfil most of your demands and more importantly make you feel safe, comfortable and stylish, the Harrier ticks all these boxes.