Performance – Powering the Harrier is a Fiat sourced 2.0-litre Kryotec diesel engine that has been retuned and produces 140 PS of power and 350 Nm of torque. This oil burner has some lag lower down with good mid range grunt. However, as you rev past 3000 RPM it gets quite vocal but pulls cleanly. It has a fantastic mid-range pulling strength and the power tapers off in the top-end. The NVH of the engine could have been slightly better as it sounds coarse at higher revs but it is overshadowed by the performance it offers, quite a tractable engine it is.
The engine offers strong performance and comes with usable driving modes
Mated to this engine is a 6-speed manual transmission and yes there won’t be an automatic transmission option at the time of the launch. This gearbox feels slightly notchy to what we expected and even the clutch travel is relatively long which makes it prone to stalling if you aren’t familiar with the setup. The first and second gear ratios are short while third onwards the SUV stretches its legs with impressive in-gear acceleration. There are three driving modes – Eco, City and Sport. Each of them affect the throttle response and it really makes you feel the difference. Expect real world fuel efficiency of 12-15 km/l.
Driving Dynamics – The suspension of the Harrier gets a sweet balance of ride and handling thanks to the Land Rover monocoque architecture and even their suspension setup. While driving the Harrier you can feel the maturity in the way it handles the rough and smooth. It soaks up bumps very well and the damping is so good that you barely feel the thuds inside. The high speed stability is also very confidence inspiring, haven’t witnessed this kind of stability from a Tata since a while. Then there is the handling, which comes as a surprise, offering you good feedback from the hydraulic steering wheel and precise change in directions, even when you push it hard. The body roll is well under control. This is a car that can munch miles effortlessly keeping the fatigue level very low.
A front-wheel drive SUV that is surprisingly quite capable off-road
No all-wheel drive option in a Tata SUV based on a Land Rover platform was a disappointment. What surprises us though is the capable front-wheel drive with the smart ESP offering impressive mild off-road performance. The ESP Terrain Response comes with Normal, Wet and Rough driving modes. We went for some dune bashing in a front-wheel drive SUV, imagine! The Harrier did very well over soft sand in the Rough mode, taking you out of tricky situations easily. The ESP provides optimum traction to the front wheels that helps it keep moving. Surprisingly there are no disc brakes at the rear but the braking performance is good enough to provide ample stopping power.