That the Tata Harrier SUV – scheduled to go on sale in January 2019 – will use a Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre diesel engine is common knowledge now. What is an interesting development, however, is Tata Motors’ choice of an automatic gearbox for the diesel variant of the Harrier. The SUV won’t use Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ nine-speed automatic gearbox (as was widely expected) but will instead get a six-speed auto from Hyundai.
It is understood that the FCA nine-speed auto was proving to be too expensive for the Harrier project, which has been developed to meet strict cost targets. Notably, the nine-speed gearbox will make its India debut on the Jeep Compass Trailhawk towards the end of 2018. Sources tell us Tata Motors has found a good (and cost-effective) match for the 2.0-litre engine in Korean carmaker Hyundai’s six-speed torque converter automatic.
“The Hyundai transmission is well suited to the power and torque characteristics of the 2.0-litre Fiat diesel, and is significantly cheaper than the FCA transmission, so it made more sense for us to use it,” said a Tata Motors source. This six-speed automatic currently does duty on the Tucson and a number of other models in Hyundai’s portfolio.
The six-speed auto will be offered on the five-seat, 140hp Harrier, as well as on its as-yet unnamed, seven-seat, 170hp sibling that will go on sale at a later date.
Tata Motors’ decision to give due priority to an automatic transmission option on the Harrier is in line with the steady rise in demand for automatics in India. Interestingly, in the past, the demand for the automatic variant of the Hexa exceeded the company's internal projections.