As the premium SUV segment space in the Indian auto market heats up with Jeep’s Compass, Ford’s Endeavour and Mahindra’s Alturas making inroads, the much-awaited Tata Harrier has now made its first appearance at Tata Motors showrooms across the country. This head-turner from Tata stable is not just value for money but seems like a never-before-offered high end luxury package from this company.
We took this machine for a test drive for a couple of days, mainly on highways and also on city roads, and found its performance stunning. If your next vehicle is going to be a luxury SUV and size is no bar for you in terms of your concerns over parking space at home or workplace, then this one is for you. Some things like incredible smoothness in ride quality and amazingly smooth steering for this size of an SUV, which results in effortless driving, are worth checking out.
Tata Motors announced earlier that the design will be close to H5X Concept. This is one of the most stunning SUVs in terms of its looks. Many reviewers and experts thought of its similarities with Xenon but in fact, the design is new and it really works well. The sharp LEDs at the top do double duty as daytime running lamps and indicators, and look very aggressive — especially leading up from the gloss-black ‘Humanity Line’ grille.
The rear appears to have stayed truest to the H5X Concept, and there’s even an air of Jaguar about it. There’s a slim, high-set, rear windscreen which perhaps could have been a little wider.
Once you step inside, you sense the luxury. The upholstery is top class with wooden finish and the leather claddings work very well to add that plush look for the interior of the cabin. The room around you is incredible. Only thing you badly miss is the sun-roof which is pretty much standard when you talk of this segment of SUVs.
A key piece of kit is the dual-screen system comprising the 8.8-inch touchscreen and the 7.0-inch screen in the instrument cluster. The big screen uses the latest version of Tata’s interface, which is very user-friendly. It gets the features you expect, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and the best part is you can still access the car’s functions while using either smartphone’s interface.
The front seatbelts aren’t height-adjustable. The handbrake has a unique aircraft throttle type of look and feel which adds value. The seatbelt notch is placed a little oddly and so is the USB port.
The clutch and gearshift action are impressively light, considering the size of the car and it’s quite responsive off the line. Like other Tatas, it gets three drive modes — Eco, City and Sport, and the Sport mode really ramps up the power when you need it on steep climbs.
The instruments panel is very similar to an aircraft cockpit with floating indicator for fuel capacity which indicates distance to empty quite accurately and tachometer is digital which is fun to monitor.
If your budget is Rs15 lakh plus and you do a fair bit of highway runs, this is the car for you.
One would have loved to have an automatic version of the Harrier available in the market for which we perhaps have to wait for a while. Still, Harrier may be termed as the new definition of aspiration.