When it was launched in January 2019, the Tata Harrier was easily one of the most highly anticipated launches in the midsize SUV space. However, compared to the competition, the Harrier lacked a few key options at launch. It didn’t have a petrol engine or 4x4 to offer, but these were small misses compared to the absence of an automatic variant and a sunroof, which are now must-have features for high-end car buyers. With just a single diesel engine and manual gearbox option, Tata Motors sold over 17,000 units of the Harrier, which was certainly below expectations.
Now, more than a year later, Tata Motors is looking to make up for lost time and opportunities with the updated 2020 Harrier, which packs in a 6-automatic gearbox option and a largest-in-segment panoramic sunroof.
Speaking to Autocar India, Vivek Srivatsa, the marketing head of Tata Motors' car division, said the company expects more than half of all Harrier sales to come from the new diesel-automatic variant.
“As a company, 25 percent of all cars we sell are automatics. The convenience offered by an automatic is finding an increasing number of takers, and we expect over 50 percent of all Harrier sales to come from this new diesel-automatic version.”
Srivatsa stated the customers in the midsize SUV space look for a manual, an automatic and a petrol option, and with the updated Harrier, the company is covering a big section of the market. Tata wants to democratise automatic cars, and Srivatsa highlighted how the company has chosen to provide an automatic option in the mid-spec variants as well, and not solely with the more expensive top-spec trims.
A 1.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine – a derivative of the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder Revotron petrol – is in the works for the Harrier but that won’t come for another two years. Srivatsa added how with a petrol engine, it’s key to strike a balance between fuel efficiency and performance befitting an SUV of the Harrier's size.
The panoramic sunroof is another key addition for the Harrier, and Srivatsa pointed out how it has quickly become a highly desirable feature in the segment.
“Two years ago, we wouldn’t have considered a panoramic sunroof, but today, it is perceived as a value-add, and the Indian customer has evolved fast.” He also added that the improved quality of the sunroof means customers are no longer worried about leakages, safety or about the large sunroof affecting in-car cooling, and that demand for sunroofs is here to stay.
Tata has also decided against offering the 140hp version of the 2.0-litre Kryotec diesel engine for the entry-level Harrier, as the company aims to provide a desirable package even at a lower price point.
“We’re moving away from the idea of an entry-level variant being a poorer version of the vehicle. There’s no point in offering a less powerful engine for the base model, and we’re now wanting to provide a good package even for entry-level variants across our model line-up. Even the most affordable variant of the Harrier comes with Electronic Stability Programme as standard”, Srivatsa added.
With the help of these additions, Tata Motors hopes sales of the Harrier will pick up and propel it to the upper half of the midsize SUV sales charts.
Do you think the additions make the Tata Harrier a more appealing buy than before? Let us know in the comments.
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