Off-road enthusiasts waiting for Tata Motors to offer a four-wheel-drive (4x4) system on the Harrier are in for a long wait. This is because while Tata Motors has hinted at the possibility of the Harrier getting a 4x4 variant in the future, the carmaker has stated it’s not a priority at this time.
Speaking to Autocar India on the sidelines of the 2019 Geneva motor show, Rajendra Petkar, Chief Technology Officer at Tata Motors, said 4x4 could eventually be introduced on the company’s OMEGA architecture-based products, but it isn’t a priority for the carmaker as it is focusing its energies on getting its passenger vehicle portfolio to meet the upcoming BS-VI emission norms.
“If you look at it from a requirement and penetration point of view, demand for the 4x2 is the highest, and only a minority of customers want a 4x4 system. We will come up with the 4x4 at a time when it is required, but right now, our workload is high. We're prioritising and focusing on the challenges the upcoming BS-VI emissions norms pose," said Petkar.
Tata insiders had earlier disclosed that equipping the Harrier with a 4x4 system will require serious re-engineering, specifically the position of the propeller shaft. Currently, the SUV – available only in 4x2 form – gets a fairly simple Terrain Response system, with three modes for the electronic stability program (Normal, Wet and Rough). With the addition of a 4x4 system, Tata could equip the Harrier with a more advanced version of the Terrain Response system that’ll have more in common with the system seen in the Land Rover range.
The carmaker is also in the process of developing a new, 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine with direct-injection technology that’s set to debut on the Harrier in 2020. Joining this engine next year will be an updated (and more powerful) version of the current 2.0-litre FCA-sourced diesel engine. Gearbox options for both engines will include a six-speed manual and a torque convertor automatic sourced from Hyundai.
With Tata Motors set to re-engineer the OMEGA platform to accommodate a 4x4 system, it’s possible that along with the Harrier, the recently unveiled Buzzard seven-seat SUV (to be launched in India in FY19-20) could also get it in due course. Tata also recently confirmed it is evaluating the possibility of launching an SUV-coupé and an eight-seat MPV based on the OMEGA platform.
Think the addition of 4x4 and an automatic gearbox will make the Tata Harrier a more appealing SUV? Let us know in the comments.