With the updated BS6 Kryotec 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel, output has increased from 140bhp to 168bhp, but the torque remains identical at 350Nm. Likewise, the new Harrier also gets a six-speed automatic version to accompany its six speed manual transmission variant. Upon cranking this engine, those familiar with the older Harrier will instantly appreciate the overall drop in NVH.
Keen on knowing how this automatic felt to drive, I slotted the shifter into ‘D’ and released the brakes. The Harrier crept ahead progressively, after which, as I applied some throttle, it nudged ahead smoothly and purposefully. I immediately appreciated how this six-speed automatic torque convertor unit did a good job of sensing the throttle input to provide a linear power delivery.
And, as soon as one crosses 1500rpm, there’s a noticeable surge in response, post which it pulls cleanly to the 4600rpm redline. In reality, this engine only gets vocal if you keep the pedal pinned to the floor beyond 3500rpm. As for the shifts, they are actioned seamlessly, and actually facilitates driving this automatic all-day-long without breaking a sweat.
And since we’re talking convenience, there’s no need for constant braking or slotting into a lower gear while going downhill since it holds a favourable rpm to prevent freewheeling (coasting). What’s more, we admired the stress-free nature of the motor when we glanced at the rev-clock to see it managing under 2000rpm at over 100kmph. Going ahead, slotting into tiptronic mode (manual) automatically summons the ‘Sport’ mode to give you swifter responses.
All you need to do now is feather the throttle for the Harrier to ride the torque curve, and cover ground like an aerial combat vehicle. And, if you ever miss upshifting yourself, the system will automatically upshift for you at about 3600rpm to save the gearbox. But having said that, ‘City’ mode is more than what you’ll ever need, as it delivers enough response for most driving circumstances. And, for those who are low on fuel or are anal about fuel efficiency, ‘Eco’ with its relaxed response, does the job; 14.63kmpl to be exact.
Let’s talk about the manual version now. With the 30-odd extra horses, there’s no need for downshifting to access more performance from this motor anymore. You just need to hover around the 1500rpm mark so that a simple tap on the accelerator pedal will gain you access to the meaty portion of the power band; like for a quick overtake. So much so, that we never felt the need for more from this engine.
Also, even if you are not driving in the optimum rev-range, it doesn’t bog down or anything. The flexibility of this powertrain allows you to lug along in the same gear. So, one can easily amble around in third gear through slow moving city traffic without a fuss. Which brings us to a welcome change. The six speed gear shifter is much smoother to go through now, and coupled with the short lever and light clutch, allows for easy shifts.
Now, although the NVH is better contained than before, we could feel some buzz creep through the pedals and gear shifter once the motor revved beyond 3400rpm or so. As is the case with the automatic, the manual also gets the drive modes which lend the same behaviour we discussed earlier. And, when the going gets tough, the ESP terrain modes such as ‘Normal’ ‘Rough’ and ‘Wet’ come handy too. And lest we forget, Tata Motors claims the manual version to return 16.35km to a litre of diesel.
As for the steering, the two-and-a-half turns from lock-to-lock make for good response in most driving situations. Moreover, being light with good progression around the centre makes manoeuvring the Harrier that bit easier. Even when it comes to braking, despite the drum brake setup at the rear, there’s no dearth of confidence even under hard braking.
We have to admit that this monocoque with Land Rover underpinnings lends it clean handling manners with minimal roll. In terms of ride, the strong suspension setup feels indestructible even when you plough through our road hurdles. Sure, the ride is taut at lower speeds, but as you venture into three digit ones, the Harrier simply decimates everything that our Indian roads throw at it.