One of the biggest downsides of the Tata Harrier, at the time of its launch in January last year, was its engine. The Harrier’s gargantuan size and robust body were a bit too overwhelming for its 138bhp mill. After receiving the same feedback from both customers and experts, Tata, thankfully, addressed that problem by unlocking 168bhp from the engine. As the lap time suggests, it still isn’t a car to set the track on fire, but, honestly, it doesn’t have to be either. However, there’s no denying that the new Harrier is a noticeable improvement in terms of overall performance. It’s not indolent in terms of outright acceleration and manages to maintain higher speeds with enhanced comfort. It loses points when you really push it though because the electronics intervene at even the slightest hint of slip.
The 2020 Harrier has also made progress in terms of refinement. The use of softer engine mounts and better sound insulation materials has been an advantage, but it’s still nowhere close to being as smooth as a Hyundai or a Kia. The Hyundai-sourced 6-speed torque converter works well in urban settings, and is quite smooth but clearly isn’t the quickest shifting gearbox in town. The steering continues to lack precision and adequate feel, meaning that it doesn’t really inspire confidence.
It isn’t all bleak for the Harrier though. In this 2020 iteration, Tata has also addressed some of the ergonomic issues that plagued it previously. The ORVMs are now smaller in size, which makes visibility from the driver’s seat a tad better. The USB port is no longer tucked deep under the centre console and is now easier to access.
In all other aspects, the 2020 Harrier remains largely unchanged, and that’s absolutely fine. It continues to score well in terms of design, space, and practicality.
Tata has addressed most of the shortcomings in this update. But, while that’s well and good, Tata could have used this opportunity to bring the Harrier on par with the competition in terms of features and equipment – it still lacks LED headlights, ventilated seats, and connected tech. On the whole, Tata has done well to smooth out some of the rough edges, but the Harrier is still far from perfect.