Cars/ First-drive/ Tata Harrier | Call It An Urus, Call It A Bumblebee | First Drive Review

Tata Harrier | Call It An Urus, Call It A Bumblebee | First Drive Review

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For

Looks menacing, features are plenty, rides confident

Against

Fingerprints on panels, screens conking off, finish around edges of plastic

Overview

The Harrier's new face is more appealing, and its beautiful shape is accentuated by the new colors, such as Sunlit Yellow.

Say hello to the Tata Harrier, a car that's strong on character and even stronger on emotions. It's strong on character because of its bold design, with prominent creases on the sheet metal and attention to detail. While the design may not be to everyone's taste, it gives the Harrier a unique Tata character that you'll either love or hate.

The Harrier is also strong on emotions. If you love the Tata brand or are planning to buy one, you're sure to be excited about the Harrier. But even if you're not a Tata fan or haven't considered buying one before, the Harrier is sure to evoke some strong emotions in you. Maybe you'll be envious of those who own one, or maybe you'll be inspired to reconsider your stance on the Tata brand.

You'll be envious of the Tata Harrier, no matter what you drive. It's an imposing SUV with really good design elements, like the dual grille with beautiful detailing, the lower-positioned headlamps that don't look out of place, and the connected DRLs that give the Harrier a new identity and greet you with a cool welcome animation every time you approach it.

Now that's the kind of attention you'd expect from a high-end SUV like the Tata Harrier. And the Harrier doesn't disappoint. Even at the rear, you'll find new tail lamps that match the front's bold design, as well as a convenient gesture-controlled tailgate. My only gripe is that the tailgate doesn't open wide enough, which means taller passengers may need to duck when accessing the boot. But other than that, the boot is massive. Like, more than you'd ever need

The Tata Harrier is now so modern that you'll wonder if there's anything missing from it. But honestly, there's nothing. From the twin screen arrangement, both of which are supremely impressive (as long as they work), to the textured dashboard inserts that make the Harrier look more youthful than the Safari, the Harrier is packed with features. The fit and finish levels have also been improved, with tolerances that are now acceptable for the price. However, if you inspect the dashboard closely, you may notice some rough edges.

The Harrier's cabin is mighty impressive, and it's now more impressive than the XUV700's. But there are still some issues that need to be addressed. For example, the central console still has limited storage space, and the wireless charger is hard to access. Additionally, the touch-sensitive AC control panel picks up plenty of fingerprints and doesn't always respond to inputs. And the drive mode selector seems overly complicated for no reason. For example, I would have liked for the mode change information to be displayed on the central screen only. Despite these issues, the Harrier's cabin is a major step up from the outgoing version. It's well-designed, well-built, and packed with features

Can the same be said about the way the Harrier drives? Mechanically, the big change is the swapping of the hydraulic power assisted steering unit with an electric one. This is a welcome change, given the many complaints about how heavy the old steering was in the city and how light it was on the highway.

I'm happy to report that the new electric power steering is much better. It's lighter and more responsive in the city, and it's more stable at high speeds. The Harrier still isn't the most agile SUV on the market, but the new steering makes it a much more enjoyable car to drive overall.

In fact, the Harrier's steering is one of its most likable qualities, especially compared to other SUVs in this class. It's still on the heavier side, which provides more feedback, something that enthusiasts appreciate. It's also mapped to the driving modes, weighing up even further when you switch to Sport mode. The ride has been tuned to be softer, but it's nowhere near as wallowy as the XUV700's, which is another great thing. And the throttle responses have been sharpened, which means the Harrier feels a lot quicker off the line. Overall, the Harrier's driving experience is a lot of fun. It's not the most agile SUV on the market, but it's comfortable, responsive, and rewarding to drive. And its Urus-inspired exterior matches its sporty personality perfectly.

Not only is it gruntier, it is also quieter. The same has been achieved by better cabin insulation and engine refinement. Yes, these aren’t major upgrades but sum them up together and the Harrier now feels a lot more accomplished. Even in terms of the safety - six airbags are now standard across the range and there’s an option to have a seventh airbag too. Additionally, the ADAS suite has an additional feature - adaptive cruise control with start and stop functionality. The way I see things, after a long day of work you’re going to be welcomed into a calm cabin with autonomous driving features that take away all the stress of driving in bumper to bumper traffic. 

Is the new Tata Harrier everything you would expect from an SUV of this cost? On paper, yes. But some of the reliability concerns with Tata Motors haven't been fully resolved. The screens are still susceptible to blanking out, the tailgate electric motor can still stop functioning due to excessive heat and repeated applications, and some areas around the car aren't finished entirely.

But given how much better it has become, it surely is very desirable. VERY. Hope Tata Motors get these few niggles fixed before final deliveries for the customers begin. And if that’s the case, you’re in for an extremely good, five-seater full size SUV. Something that could be compared with the Tucson, but at a much lesser asking price.



TopGear Magazine May 2024