Why would I buy it?
- Grand road presence
- Feature additions
- Strong performance
Why would I avoid it?
- Notchy manual gearbox
- No alternate powertrain options
What is it?
After numerous spy shots, speculations, and finally after an official unveiling last week, this is the 2023 Tata Harrier and it’s the first major facelift that this Tata flagship SUV has received since its launch in 2019! It gets a major styling overhaul, a thoroughly revamped cabin, and loads of new features and now we have also driven this SUV to give you our opinion.
The new Harrier continues to have a tall and butch stance and with the introduction of the new Sunlit Yellow shade, the Harrier has an enhanced and imposing road presence. The highlight at the front is of course this new connecting LED DRLs with sequential turn indicators and I really like this new front grille which unlike other SUVs in the segment is not chrome studded but instead prefers a contrasting colour combination. Towards the side are upsized to 19-inch in size. There’s also a new ‘Harrier’ badging on the front doors.
The Harrier is wider by 28mm and now has sleeker housing for the projector headlamps and the minuscule LED fog lamps. Tata has also smartly integrated air curtains on the new bumper to aid aerodynamics. The posterior looks properly modern with the new and chiselled tail lamps that are now connected by a light bar. And, the fun bit is these get a cool light show with a welcome and goodbye function each time you unlock and lock this car.
Is the cabin of the Harrier Facelift any good?
Now, earlier this year, the Harrier did receive significant updates in the form of a bigger infotainment system, a new digital instrument cluster, and even ADAS! But with this facelift, Tata has taken things a notch further!
The dashboard is all new and this particular theme is offered with the top-spec Fearless trim and thebright yellow accents are scattered on the dash, centre console, and also on the grab handles. We also like how Tata has continued to offer the illuminated logo on the steering wheel but this one instead of Nexon’s two-spoke is a four-spoke design that goes well with the cabin theme. We are now familiar with the 12.2-inch touchscreen unit. It’s easy to use and also supports wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, has an integrated air purifier, and even controls for all driver assistance features.
The cabin is well put together and everything feels premium and upmarket. Sure, there are a few rough edges here and there and the wireless charging pad is still tricky to operate. But the improvement in the cabin is surely up to the mark to compete against its primary rival, the Mahindra XUV700. We would have also preferred the touch panel on the dashboard to provide a bit more feedback but then including physical buttons for the blower and temperature has retained the essence and convenience of the conventional setup.
Besides this, the fully powered driver seat with memory and cooling function, a voice-assisted panoramic sunroof, ambient lights on the dashboard and ceiling, 45-watt fast charging ports, and the amazing sound of the JBL stereo system truly elevates the cabin experience in the new Harrier.
In the second row of the Harrier, the occupants are in for a pampering experience. Firstly, the Harrier is slightly wider now and can easily seat three with ample of leg and shoulder room. But wait there’s more! These rear-row sunshades and cleverly designed rear headrests that adjust from the side along with the armrest mean that being chauffeured around in this SUV would absolutely be comfortable.
Safety and Tata cars go hand in hand and the Harrier takes things to the next level as it offers 7 airbags! While 6 are standard across the variants the Harrier also gets front parking sensors, a tyre pressure monitor, a 360-degree camera, three-point seat belts for all passengers, and a suite of ADAS features that now include adaptive cruise control, doze off alert, over speed assist, and cornering assist.
Is the Harrier Facelift nice to drive?
Mechanically, there have been no changes and the Harrier continues to be a diesel-only SUV. It is powered by the same 2.0-litre diesel engine that puts out 168bhp and 350Nm of peak torque. The transmission duties are handled by a six-speed manual and a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
Now, we drove the manual guise besides this, Tata has also added three drive modes and two terrain modes. The drive modes are Economy, City, and Sport whereas the terrain modes are Rough and Wet. Starting with the Economy mode, the throttle inputs are slightly dull but is best suited for city use and while tackling bumper-to-bumper traffic. Slot to the city mode and this is the mode is best suited for most of the driving conditions. The inputs are linear and power builds gradually. Shift the Harrier in the Sport mode, and this mode truly unleashes the capability of the diesel engine. The throttle responses are sharp and the power delivery is instantaneous.
Now, the steering on the new Harrier is electrically operated and that has made a major improvement! It is lighter than the previous generation and evidently, weighs up as you switch between the different drive modes. Like all Tata vehicles, the ride quality of the Harrier is spot on. It may feel slightly stiff at lower speeds, but build up pace, and cross the three-digit speeds, and the ride improves significantly. It tackles the rough roads and bumps with ease.
Another noticeable difference in the Harrier are the improved NVH levels. Tata says that they have added insulation and dampening and that clear reflects in the quite cabin experience when on the move.
Should you buy the Harrier Facelift?
The new Tata Harrier is a big and positive jump over its predecessor. It looks thoroughly modern while retaining its SUV essence, gets oodles of new features, and a powertrain that is properly potent. However, the Harrier’s appeal is somewhat restricted by the fact that it is only available with a diesel engine. So, if you are specifically looking to buy a diesel SUV, then this is a worthy option. But, if you are seeking a petrol or a hybrid SUV, then you will have to look elsewhere
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi