TOI Auto got its hands on the BS6 version of the Tata Harrier and we took the SUV for a test run to see if it’s better than the outgoing model or if the hype shouldn’t bother us at all.
The Harrier BS4 started at Rs 13 lakh while the BS6 starts at Rs 13.84 lakh (ex-showroom). The price hike ranges between Rs 34,000 – Rs 69,000. And we help you determine whether the extra Rs 84,000 you shell out is worth the deal or not.
Looks the same yet stronger-hearted
Retaining the looks through the modification year is not always a bad thing and when it is a car like Harrier, the ahead of its time bold and quirky looks still reflect that audacity and confidence as before. We can never get enough of the Harrier’s looks and the SUV is still ages away from a mid-life refresh.
The most talked-about change during the transition has been the automatic gearbox and a full-blown engine. With that same imposing road presence, the Harrier BS6 now comes with an enhanced 2.0-litre Kryotec turbo diesel engine that offers 170 PS of power and 350 Nm of torque. While the torque remains the same, the BS6 offers 30 PS more power than the outgoing model. Paired with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto derived from Hyundai, the SUV packs a performance punchier than ever. Harrier has nothing for petrolheads though.
Now, in the cities, there is hardly a noticable change in how the engine behaves. Take it on the empty motorways, and Harrier doubles up a competent mile-munching machine, with well-spread torque band over 2,000-rpm. Moreover, since day one, engineers had pulled off a brilliant task in creating a well-insulated cabin, keeping NVH levels (other than diesel chatter beyond 4,000rpm) out of the window.
Adopting the OMEGARC architecture, derived from Land Rover’s D8 platform, the SUV is a treat to the eye with features like diamond cut alloys, sleek xenon headlamps, sharp LED headlamps, chrome finishing, aerodynamic ORVMs complement the muscular and bold look of the SUV. We have no complaints about this part and we’re pretty sure the SUV will not disappoint you either. Alloy design and compact outside rear view mirrors, which have greatly cut down blind spots, are latest additions.
Spirited driving experience
The Tata Harrier muscles its way through and with the engine’s full power unleashed, the 6-speed auto seems quite convenient too. It’s not just a spirited experience for the driver but the passengers will enjoy the punch too. The steering is hefty and quite engaging and paired with the automatic, it reduces the chances of driver fatigue. Even though it isn’t a 4×4, the 3 drive modes- Eco, City and Sport – can help you adapt to varied situations. Tata Motors’ partnership Jaguar Land Rover seemed to have benefited Harrier to a great extent. Electronic stability programme now comes as standard and what sweetens the deal are the three selectable modes (normal, wet and rough), which is a part of terrain response system, derived from JLR. The riding and handling are a big plus and the credit partly goes to the OMEGARC platform as it makes the SUV feel more planted. That’s not it.
Even when the roads get tough, the Harrier gets going and takes on the undulations with ease with the least lateral movement inside the cabin. The overall spirited performance amazes you and the strong and punchy engine becomes the unsung hero. Although the turbo engine is lazy to get going under 2000 rpm, it just springs to life when it hits 2500-3000 rpm. The best part in this domain is the effortless cruising and again we have no complaints here and the enhanced engine’s character will wow you too.
Plush interiors that reflect the maturity
Tata Harrier is as tantalizing inside as it is outside. When you step inside, the SUV dumps its young and uber-cool image and flaunts an unrecognizable mature look that sweeps you off your feet. The Harrier boasts a signature oak brown dashboard, seats covered in oak brown upholstery and, leather-wrapped steering and gear knob.
It doesn’t stop there as the Harrier has to prove that is still keeping up with the times on the inside too.
Couple of key changes Tata has undertaken keeping customer feedback in mind are the massive panoramic sun roof and powered driver’s seat. The SUV 8.8-inch floating island infotainment system, 9-speaker system with JBL-tune acoustics, steering mounted controls, 26 native voice commands, and a 7-inch instrument cluster. Definitely not the segment-best features but it does outdo its BS4 version and we can ignore the rivals here. The touchscreen may seem a bit undersized and the tactile response isn’t always instantaneous, we believe the entertainment bit is surely going to improve in days to come, more so with the Nexon BS6 becoming a connect SUV.
The perfectionist’s flaw
The only place where the Harrier is flawed is the powertrain options. A strictly diesel and no petrol SUV might look quite good on paper but it does reduce the practicality a tad bit in the real world. It definitely is a smart move by the automaker, since the trends have been suggesting that the demand is inclined towards diesel-powered offerings, but a petrol option would’ve helped the SUV increase its market share a bit even if it was a small margin.
Does this new red shade suit the Harrier? At least the new colour enhances the SUV’s persona.
Apart from the missing petrol option, nothing has managed to prove to be a deal-breaker and we settle with the fact that automatic transmission with a diesel unit isn’t a common sight to see in the segment. Tata Harrier is a no-nonsense SUV, that remains a bit old-school in terms of tech, but looks good and feels great and it shows in its spirited performance too. The highways are a playground for this homebred beast and you can blindly go for the Harrier if you aren’t a literal ‘petrol-head’ and we guarantee that it won’t be a disappointment at all. Do you wish to see a 7-seater Harrier? Do hit the comment box to reach out to Tata Motors directly.
Hyundai rides high on SUV wave, bets on innovation to gain market share
High waiting periods, on the other hand, seems to be a happy headache for the Koreans. With initiatives upfront like the democratization of turbo engines and the introduction of iMT (clutch-less manual), TOI Auto got into a conversation with Tarun Garg, Director of Sales and Marketing, Hyundai Motor India to understand how exactly the automaker dodged the Covid crisis. Along those lines, Garg also shed light on the future of electrification in Hyundai, the strategy for 2021 and upcoming launches.
Ending 2020 on a high note
Hyundai Motor India’s performance in 2020 alone became the key take away from the conversation. Just before the lockdown in India, the automaker had already rolled out the Hyundai Aura and Creta. Even after the pandemic hit the nation with full force, Hyundai became one of the first automakers to resume production after a brief shutdown. During the lockdown the period, the automaker rolled out the Hyundai Venue iMT, Venue Sport and the Tucson to expand its line-up and bank on the high SUV demand. In late 2020, the 3rd-gen Hyundai i20 made its way to the market to cater to the demand in the highly competitive hot hatch segment.
By the end of CY2020, Hyundai emerged as the top SUV maker selling a little over 180,000 units capturing around 25% of the SUV market. While Creta became the best-selling SUV in 2020, Venue also contributed a good share to the overall sales.
“Hyundai banked on the current SUV trend as the segment held a market share of 29% and became the number one SUV maker in the country. Creta also became the bestselling SUV in the country again,” said Garg.
Keeping up with the evolving customers’ demand
During the conversation, Garg emphasized on the fact that customers need to be pampered with new features, new tech and versatile engine and transmissions. According to the data presented, Hyundai Creta holds an upper hand in the market due to the number of engines offered (turbo-petrol, petrol and diesel), transmissions (IVT, AMT, MT and DCT). The creature comforts offered are all a bonus. For the Hyundai i20, around 30% of the bookings are for variants with a sunroof. Connected car tech, air purifier, wireless charger and ventilated seats have also resulted in increased demand.
12:31Hyundai Creta review: Decoding diesel demand
The way Hyundai managed to offer most of the trendy features and add-ons at quite on aggressive price tag worked out pretty well for them and it reflected in the CY2020 sales figures especially in H2 and the decent increase in market share. Hyundai currently has a market share of 17.4% against 17.3% in 2019 and 16.3% in 2018.
“Our decision to offer the customers with so many engines, latest tech, and new features combined with other factors made Hyundai gain market share. Customers are much more evolved now and they’re looking at new tech and they want all this at a very reasonable price. Features like air purifier, wireless charger, connected features, ventilated seats are being appreciated now,” added Garg.
Turbo-engine democratization and the iMT demand
Hyundai has banked on the demand for the turbo engines as now customers look for performance-oriented offerings that offer a good fuel-efficiency at the same. According to the data presented, Hyundai did observe a huge adoption rate for turbo variants in 2020 and introduction of a turbo variant in the entry-level segment (Hyundai Grand i10 Nios), compact sedan segment (Hyundai Aura), hot hatch segment (Hyundai i20) and the SUV segment (Hyundai Venue and Creta) did boost the Korean automaker’s sales in the market up to some extent.
“We introduced our first turbo variant when we entered the sub-4m SUV market with the Venue. And now more than 30% of our customers opt for a turbo variant and the adoption rate is very encouraging too. Now we have a turbo variant across all the segments.”
The iMT gearbox is still a rarity in the market and is currently being offered in just three cars in India out of which two belong to Hyundai- Venue and i20. The Hyundai Venue was the first car in India to offer the iMT and the clutch-less transmission is a hit.
04:27Hyundai Venue iMT first drive review
“Customers don’t purchase an auto variant because of the pricing, fuel efficiency and some choose to stick to the manual transmission because of the feel. The iMT was introduced to bring the two-pedal tech to India to make the driving experience much more convenient and it only costs an extra Rs 22,000 compared to the MT variant. The iMT also helped Hyundai boost the sales of the Venue,” added Garg.
2021 outlook: Upcoming models and electrification
Hyundai currently has the Kona EV in its electric portfolio and the automaker is already working on boosting its EV offerings. While Garg was quite tight-lipped about the future projects, he did confirm that the Indian market would be seeing the first mass-market EV from Hyundai in the next 3 years. Until then the drive towards cleaner mobility and achieving technology leadership remain to be the key agenda for the automaker.
When asked about the 7-seater version of the Hyundai Creta, Garg said that Creta is a strong brand with 5 lakh units already sold, and the automaker considers opportunities in all segments.
“Creta is a strong brand and it has done very well in the market. I will refrain from giving any guidance on the future products but we as Hyundai have always looked for opportunities in almost all segments and we are always to open to expanding. We have done it before with Creta in the C-SUV segment, Santro in the tall-boy segment, Getz in the hot hatch segment and we’ll continue to look for opportunities in new segments,” said Garg diplomatically.
Any challenges yet?
Hyundai cars, precisely after the festive season, have been coming with an enormous waiting period. But according to the automaker, all’s well in that domain. Hyundai won’t be going ahead with an increase in production and it already has a reliable network but Garg did add that the Korean automaker is making changes in its production and supply chain to cut down the current waiting periods.
When asked about the semi-conductor shortage that has slowed the global auto industry down, Hyundai Motor India seems to have barely been touched by the crisis. Again, Garg positively said that their supply chain is quite comprehensive and all’s well at the automaker’s camp.
“Our supply chain has been very proactive and so far, the situation has been good and the demand is being met seamlessly.”
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari okays “Green Tax” for older, polluting vehicles
According to the proposal, transport vehicles older than eight years could be charged Green Tax at the time of renewal of fitness certificate, at the rate of 10 to 25 % of road tax, while personal vehicles to be charged Green Tax at the time of renewal of registration certification after 15 years.
The proposal will now go to the states for consultation before it is formally notified.
“We are empowering the state government to levy a higher road tax for older, polluting vehicles. The green tax will be part of the road tax collected by the government,” a senior government official told ET about the development.
These are draft guidelines which will go for stakeholders consultation, and will be implemented after approval from State governments, the official added.
A higher green tax, to the tune of 50% of road tax for vehicles being registered in highly polluted cities will be levied, the Centre has proposed.
Vehicles like strong hybrids, electric vehicles and alternate fuels like CNG, ethanol,LPG, besides those used in farming, such as tractors, harvestors, tillers, will be exempt from such tax.
“It is estimated that commercial vehicles, which constitute about 5% of the total vehicle fleet , contribute about 65-70% of total vehicular pollution. The older fleet, typically manufactured before the year 2000 constitute less that 1 % of the total fleet but contributes around 15% of total vehicular pollution. These older vehicles pollute 10-25 times more than modern vehicles,” the statement from the ministry of road transport and highways said.
Gadkari also approved the policy of deregistration and scrapping of vehicles owned by government department and PSUs, which are above 15 years in age. It is to be notified, and will come into effect from 1st April, 2022.
Revenue collected from the Green Tax will be kept in a separate account and used for tackling pollution, and for States to set up state-of-art facilities for emission monitoring, the ministry has proposed.
Evergrande’s electric car unit gets funding to compete with Tesla, Nio in China
Evergrande Group Chairman Xu Jiayin attends Evergrande New Energy Auto Global Strategic Partners Summit on November 12, 2019 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China.
VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images
GUANGZHOU, China — Shares of the electric vehicle unit of Chinese property giant Evergrande surged as much as 67% on Monday after the company raised significant funding through a new share sale.
China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group surged to an all-time-high of 50 Hong Kong dollars before paring some of those gains. Shares of the company closed at 45.35 Hong Kong dollars.
The stock rocketed after the Chinese electric car company issued 952.38 million shares to six investors at a price of $27.30 Hong Kong dollars and raised net proceeds of 26 billion Hong Kong dollars ($3.35 billion).
Last year, Evergrande showed off six new electric vehicles under a brand called Hengchi, with the hope of starting production this year. The company has not sold a single car yet.
In September, the company raised around 4 billion Hong Kong dollars through the sale of shares to investors including Chinese internet giant Tencent and ride-hailing service Didi.
China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group is also preparing for a listing on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style Science and Technology Innovation Board, or the Star Market.
China’s electric car companies have been aggressively raising capital to ramp up production and take a lead in the competitive market.
This month, BYD — the Chinese electric carmaker backed by American billionaire Warren Buffett — said it raised 29.9 billion Hong Kong dollars through the issuance of new shares.
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