How we chose Harrier to replace our Grand i10: Our overall experience

Our car hunt started & ended with the Harrier. During the process, we checked out multiple vehicles including the XUV700 that we really liked.

BHPian Mayank Gaur recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello Friends,

I’m a proud owner of Harrier XZA Daytona Grey color. Having clocked 17,000+ Kms in the last 9 months. I must say, the experience has been AWESOME! No regrets whatsoever. That said, here are the positives and negatives (nothing is perfect in this world).

Positives

Power delivery

Punchy at the same time consistent. 170 horses do their job pretty well and are tuned to perfection with the 6-speed AT gearbox. I haven’t switched to manual mode at all as I did not feel the need. Eco-mode is good when I switch to Cruise Control, else City Mode is what is most used (80% of the time). Sports mode takes the car on steroids and is the best for overtakes etc. In fact, my wife gets a bit nervous with the punchiness of Sports mode.

Ride comfort

It chomps over potholes and speed breakers like nobody’s business. I always tell my wife that in India, we don’t need SUVs for highways, they are usually well paved, it’s the cities where we need them, and the Harrier doesn’t disappoint. The space is humongous all throughout. Note for Compass buyers – Harrier trumps Compass when it comes to rear seat spacing. The Oakwood finish is classy, AC is sufficient and the music is out of the world. My wife and I go on drives just to enjoy the music.

Fuel economy

Like all ATs, this one is also highly sensitive to the driving style. But for the size and power of the car, I’ve been able to extract an easy ~15 on long runs and 12-13 in cities with this. For an automatic, I feel that’s pretty good. I recently drove on the entire stretch of Hyderabad ORR on cruise control (100 kmph) and managed to get 19.5 as FE. Sports Mode guzzles a lot of diesel, but that’s a no-brainer.

Safety

Loaded with tech safety features and airbags, but also gives a sturdy feel overall. Tata has a reputation for safety and Harrier doesn’t disappoint. The electronic brake distribution program and drive modes are really good and provide confidence at high speeds.

Emotional value and satisfaction

I honestly think this is the reason most people actually buy Harriers. It’s an absolute head-turner, gives that feeling of ‘I own the best car on the road’, gives you bragging rights like nothing else. We have had a fantastic feeling ever since I bought it. But yes, this is subjective, and may not hold for others

Negatives

  • Lacks features like ventilated seats, wireless charging, 360-degree camera and TPMS which competition provides. I don’t like Tata giving these features in special editions like Kaziranga and Jet edition. These should be table stakes in a car north of 20 Lacs.
  • Service is a hit and miss – had both good and bad experiences till now.
  • Dead pedal should’ve been better in the AT. Also, the left knee touching the dashboard takes time to get used to.
  • Horn pad is the biggest letdown, why did Tata put such cheap plastic on it? And despite feedback, never bothered to change it.

Options explored before buying Harrier & the reason for buying it

I had owned a Hyundai Grand i10 Sportz for nearly 7 years and had clocked ~65K kilometers on it. Had been thinking of upgrading the car but was in two minds. Finally, my wife, a road-trip enthusiast and an excellent driver, expressed the desire too and supported the decision and hence the great hunt began.

Our car hunt lasted 4-5 months and had various options explored therein. But let me start with the ask we had:

  • An SUV or even a crossover build (I was done with hatchbacks, and sedans weren’t appealing anymore)
  • Automatic (that was non-negotiable)
  • High on safety, and that too not just tech gizmo safety but build quality safety (became a father in 2020 and the sudden urge to have a safe vehicle for my child to travel in)

The cars which I explored while on the hunt – Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Mahindra XUV 700, Volkswagen Taigun, Skoda Kushaq, Mahindra XUV 300, MG Hector (briefly) and Tata Harrier. Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of all the cars and then I’ll go deep into Harrier.

Interestingly, it all started with a Harrier and indeed ended with it. My wife and I were always in love with the car, but it was beyond our budget (automatic top-end touches 24 L on-road). We were advised to not test drive it if we are so emotionally invested in it, we did just the opposite and started with Harrier. A 1.5 hours long test drive and we knew that this is the car to go for. But going beyond 4-5 lacs on budget wasn’t comforting so we dropped the chase.

Anyway, let’s get to the other options explored.

Hyundai Creta

If you are not fussed about build quality strength, I believe this is the best car on Indian roads. Ticks all the boxes in terms of features and design. Hyundai Service is pretty good compared to peers. The new variant has decent power to deliver, both in petrol and diesel.

Why did I not buy Creta – I was not sure about its build quality. No crash testing and Korean maker Hyundai generally doesn’t score well on build quality of the car in India. Also, Creta had a 8 months waiting period, so that further made it easier for me to drop it.

Kia Seltos

Amazing features and looks. Certainly looks sportier than Creta. However, build quality continues to be a concern. That ill-fated accident where the car split in two didn’t help. Also, it did not give a sturdy feeling. Moreover, another con of Seltos is the narrow rear seat. So, it was easy to drop this one.

MG Hector

Full marks to their sales and marketing team, exceptional showroom experience. The car is also loaded with a lot of appealing features and makes for a value-for-money buy. The body roll is a bit high due to build quality, also the petrol variant felt lacking power for its size and weight. Diesel is certainly good.

But, on this one, I had an emotional reason to not go for it. I simply couldn’t justify myself buying a Chinese product. Make no mistake, I don’t refer to Chinese products as poor quality, my iPhone is manufactured there and I am sure Hector does well on quality. It’s just that I didn’t want a car owned by a Chinese maker.

(Note to readers: The view above is highly personal, kindly disregard if it doesn’t appeal to you and just stick to feature feedback.)

Skoda Kushaq

Good looks from outside, sturdy ride as expected of the German maker but the cabin feels were not that appealing. The rear seat is good only for 2 people. Also, If I recall, during the early months of the launch, the top-end wasn’t getting 6 Airbags which was weird, so dropped it.

VW Taigun

Found this one much better than its cousin Kushaq (though from an external viewpoint, Kushaq looks taller and more SUVish). Cabin and ride quality felt amazingly good and given that I was unclear on the rest of the options, I went ahead and booked Taigun. VW doesn’t charge a cancellation fee on the bookings. Please note, at the time of this search, most cars in this category were clocking a minimum delay of 10 weeks with likes of Creta going up to 10 months.

Mahindra XUV 700

The launch date was announced during this hunt phase and my wife and I went bonkers over this car. The launch price was competitive and it somewhat fit our budget. Mahindra experimented with an online booking (add to cart) feature, and on the day of the launch, my wife and I were glued to our laptops to make a booking. Felt like booking a tatkal ticket on IRCTC for the busy Diwali weekend. The site crashed within minutes and we couldn’t book. Later in the evening, the dealership, Silver Jubilee Motors in Pune sent their reps and collected 21K to make a booking from the backend. Next day, it opened again, and we ended up double booking – online + via the dealer.

Never mind, we were sold on this car. When it was due to arrive at the dealership for a test ride, my wife and I were there at 10 AM before even the entire staff of Silver Jubilee motors came in. Managed to lay hands on the vehicle as we were first in the queue and it was AWESOME! I had booked a diesel AX-5 variant and felt that it was the perfect car I want.

But then began the wait, the never-ending wait. Dealership had no clue about its delivery due to chip shortage and over-booking. Frustration was building up, and finally, my sales rep informally told me that it’s likely that I’ll get an AX5 Diesel only by April-May of 2022.

That was not acceptable to me and I proceeded to cancel my bookings incurring a loss of Rs 4200 (Mahindra deducts a 10% on bookings and I had made 2!)

About the car

It’s a very competitive vehicle on all counts. Here are the things I liked and disliked.

Likes

  • Good ride quality, power and safety features (AX5 which is a mid variant gets curtain airbags)
  • Infotainment screen looks like that of a Mercedes Benz
  • Mid-variant AX5 also gets a massive sun-roof (though I’m not a big fan of sun-roofs)
  • Mid-night blue color is one of the best on the roads after BMW
  • Amazing visibility all through the cabin

Dislikes

  • One is forced to buy a 7-seat option for a top variant. They should’ve had a fully loaded 5-seater.
  • Service is not equipped to handle fancy gizmos and tech like ADAS and Memory feature loaded seat adjustments
  • Their ability to deliver diesel cars on time – a big letdown.

So with that, the XUV700 journey came to an end.

Harrier

With curtains down on XUV700, we were left with either Taigun OR Harrier.

Though Taigun was fun to drive, it didn’t give that fulfilment despite spending 19+ Lacs on it. I was going for 1 Ltr top-end. Strangely, 1.5 Ltr in Taigun didn’t come with ventilated seats. VW-Skoda has a knack for shooting themselves in the foot somehow. Eventually, I withdrew my booking.

I read almost all posts on Harrier on TeamBHP and there were many like me who were smitten by the car despite all its flaws and dealership challenges.

One of my friends, who is quite elder than me then advised that we like to do road trips and have the energy to drive long now, so it will be worth spending a little extra and getting what we want, instead of carrying a buyer’s remorse later. His specific point was that you can afford it later in life but the zeal and energy to drive may go down with age.

So, after a lot of thought and discussion, we made up our mind that it is going to be the Harrier. (Initially, Jeep Compass was also on the wish list, but with Harrier itself going above budget, Compass was out of the question, so didn’t even bother test-driving it).

From here on, I’ll switch to the buying experience and ownership review of Harrier.

Harrier’s buying experience

Many TeamBHPians had noted that contact with senior people at the dealership is a smart thing to do. I followed the advice and found someone who knew the dealership owner at Rudra Motors in Pune.

Made the booking on 10th Nov 2021, and was told that it will take 8-10 weeks, but I pushed for super early delivery. The contacts at the top helped and to my utter surprise, I was confirmed for delivery on 20th Nov 2021 (Magic!). To those who don’t have any such contacts, I later learnt that Tata in general has been able to deliver Harrier in 2-3 weeks’ time, at least in Pune.

So came 20th Nov 2021, we were at the dealership in the morning and the Beast adorned in Daytona Gray color was being readied for the handover.

Must say that Tata Dealerships may not have smooth and suave sales reps like MG or their showroom quality may not be top class, but the experience overall is pretty good.

The sales reps, even though not so polished by western standards, were extremely polite and willing to help. At one level, the external glossiness doesn’t matter.

Got some accessories like 5D mats, sun shades, additional HARRIER badging on the front in Black etc.

So all in all, full marks to the dealership on the promptness, speed and quality of sales and delivery.

Here are some pics from the day of delivery

First press on the pedal

Maiden drive on Mum-Pune expressway

Here are some clicks of fun times with the beast

Boot is big enough to have camping chairs and a mini stove in it all the time.

Decked up for my cousin’s wedding

Beast giving mean looks on a rainy day: Pune – Hyd trip

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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