Although Tata Motors took ownership of Jaguar Land Rover more than ten years ago, India’s industrial giant has given the British carmaker a great deal of autonomy.
It was the wise thing to do, given that Jaguar and Land Rover know a lot more about building competitive cars than Tata does. It’s safe to say that both British brands flourished during Indian ownership and now Tata Motors wants its namesake brand to benefit from that.
Enter the all-new Tata Harrier, an SUV that uses the same D8 platform as the Land Rover Discovery Sport. It’s the first Tata model with Land Rover underpinnings and that comes with great benefits as this review from Autocar India points out.
Besides being roomy (a seven-seat variant will follow in 2020), the Harrier brings unseen levels of refinement and capability for a Tata vehicle. The ride quality is deemed as excellent on the not-so-great Rajasthan roads, which is high praise especially since the Harrier doesn’t feature the Discovery Sport’s rear suspension. For cost-related reasons, Tata developed a non-independent twist-beam setup.
At launch, it is available with a single engine/transmission combo, a 2.0-liter MultiJet2 turbo diesel and a six-speed manual gearbox that also equip the Euro-spec Jeep Compass.
The oil-burner delivers 140 PS (138 hp) at 3,750 rpm and 350 Nm between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm. While it delivers adequate performance and slightly less turbo lag than in the Compass, the engine is a bit noisy according to the reviewer. Gear shifts are smoother than in the Jeep though, and the old-school hydraulic steering is a blessing in disguise.
As for off-road performance, the Harrier features a Terrain Response system but, strangely, no all-wheel-drive. Tata has no immediate plans to launch an AWD Harrier as packaging the Fiat engine for all-wheel drive in the Land Rover platform would be too costly. An automatic transmission is also missing, although one will arrive in mid-2019. The new SUV will launch in India early next year, with pricing to be announced closer to the market debut.