2023 Tata Harrier Facelift: Updates Explained
2023 Tata Harrier Facelift: Introduction
The long-awaited Tata Harrier facelift is here and before we dive into the styling updates and the updates to its interior, I want to bring to your attention to the one big dynamic flaw that is pointed out on the earlier Harrier and the Safari. And that's the steering on the Harrier used to be very light, very lifeless, it was difficult to place it with accuracy. And when you were driving it fast, which the chassis is capable of, the steering, it would rob you of a little bit of confidence. It needed to be more planted, and it definitely needed more weight. And that has finally been addressed on the Harrier facelift with a big mechanical update, out goes the earlier hydraulic power steering and in comes a smoother, more precise, less reactive, electric power steering. It really transforms the driving experience of the Harrier.
2023 Tata Harrier Facelift: Electronic Steering
If you recall the steering on the Harrier and the Safari used to constantly fidget and squirm in your hands. In some cases, it was too heavy, in some instances, it was too late. And overall, it just didn't feel properly sorted. Plus, if you had undulations on the road, it would kick back a fair bit. This was a particular problem while going around corners and strangely for the hydraulic power steering, you didn't get much in the way of feel, just a lot of reactions of very reactive steering that wasn't calm. It is now calm. The EPAS has made it so much smoother, and so much easier to drive. It no longer fidgets, and it no longer gives you those weird sensations. It just feels normal. And that is transformative in the driving experience of the Harrier. In fact, that gives you so much confidence now that you can go around corners without having to be at eight-tenths or nine-tenths. You don't have to be fully aware, or fully concentrating because it just goes through smoothly. It makes direction changes easily. It's zero effort and that's what you want. In an SUV of this category. This is not a sports car, where you want all that feel and sensations. This is not a 911 where you want the steering to kick back. You want something that can cover speed calmly, safely and in confidence and the Harrier does that now. I'm amazed how the steering change has elevated the driving experience of the Harrier.
2023 Tata Harrier Facelift: Styling
This is a third facelift on the Harrier and if you ask me this is the most impressive facelift. Now the hard parts and the metal parts remain the same so the bonnet is unchanged. The fender is unchanged. The bumper is new and that is the big update. These LED eyebrow DRLs are carried over but now they get a connecting strip which makes them full-width LED DRLs. At night, It has a really good road presence. As for the rest of the styling updates, the Harrier gets the split grille treatment whereas the Safari does not have the split grille and that is the big visual identifier. Tata Motors calls it the parametric grille. You have these air curtains for better aero and you have these vertically stacked LED lights. Gone are the early halogen lights. Overall the effect is very impressive. Bold, in your face and very distinctive.
Over on the side, the wheels. These are the new alloy wheel designs. The wheel sizes start at 17 inches and go up to 19 inches which are on the dark edition. The Sunlit Yellow is a new colour, which looks really striking. You get the Harrier lettering on the doors with a new font. The mirrors are carried over, but compared to the first-generation Harrier these have a better profile so you don't have those big blind spots. You get the two-tone paint effect. Earlier, this C-pillar element used to be in chrome or a metal effect. Now it has been blacked out. But otherwise, the profile remains more or less unchanged. The tail lamps are connected by a full-width LED light and the Harrier now gets a powered tailgate. Below the bumper, the fake exhausts are also taken out. In terms of the visual appeal, I would give it a nine and a half, maybe even a 10 on 10. Tata Motors’ designers have really done a damn good job.
2023 Tata Harrier Facelift: Mechanical Updates
I love the Harrier's robust suspension. It goes over speed breakers with proper authority, it doesn't throw your passengers around, it protects your back, it keeps you comfortable over broken patches of road, you can just thunder down it without thinking at all without worrying about anything good to happen to either the car, or your passengers screaming, and then it's got diesel torque. So this engine is unchanged; it’s the two-litre diesel engine, the same engine that is made by Fiat. It makes 168bhp and 350Nm, and this one is the manual. It's actually been a while since I drove a manual Harrier. And I have to say, go for the automatic. I don't know the prices, but I'm assuming it will be Rupees one / one and a half lakh more expensive, the automatic that is the six-speed automatic that they buy from Hyundai. And that is a far better transmission, far better suited to the overall character and makeup of the Harrier. One big problem with this, actually, two big problems. The first one is the clutch – you depress it into the floor pan and not straight. So that feels a bit odd. Normally, you press the clutch straight, but here, you're pressing it a little down, which is a little awkward, it's not very ergonomic. The second is the armrest. It fouls with your elbow while you're shifting. So to shift I have to actually lift my elbow. Of course, these are things that when you live with a car, you actually get used to it.
2023 Tata Harrier Facelift: Features
You get wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. It’s got a 45-watt USB C. So that fast charges your phone, which is very cool. Your Apple Maps can be projected onto your digital cluster. At a point out it's not Google Maps. Everybody in India uses Google Maps so Google Maps still remains on your infotainment screen. This is a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, the digital cluster is 10.25 inches. This blind spot warning is part of the whole ADAS suite. So you'll put on your indicator and the full centre screen is taken over by the camera, which is a nice safety move. But you can't see the maps out here. On the ADAS front, the Tata Harrier gets all the features that we're seeing on the Harrier Red Dark and the Safari Red Dark now with the addition of adaptive cruise control with stop and go.
The interiors are designed really well. The new Tata Motors steering wheel design is not the same steering wheel as the Nexon. This is larger in terms of diameter and this is four-spoke. So this looks nice, but again in terms of the finish that last five per cent is missing. You see the edges, they're not aligned properly, the gaps are not equal. The tactile feel is not there. And to operate, say the volume toggle, the indent for it is not deep enough. So most often I ended up using my nails to operate it. And you have to use these because there are no physical volume buttons out here. They've removed it all.
So your aircon panel is new. Luckily for the air-con panel, there are physical toggle switches for the temperature and the blower, but everything else are these touch buttons. The volume control is on the screen. So it's not very intuitive. This is something that customers will crib about in the long run. Your passenger for instance, how do they adjust the volume? They will have to go to the touch screen and fiddle around with that. It's obviously never accurate because you depress it exactly. A physical knob just works so much better.
2023 Tata Harrier Facelift: Summary
It's been five years since the Harrier was launched, and it's already on its third update which just shows the speed at which Tata Motors is implementing changes to the Harrier. But it also does show that Tata Motors didn't get the Harrier right the first time around and had to quickly implement updates to the SUV. But all that is in the past and better late than never. Right now the Harrier is in the best shape it has ever been. Changing the steering has really sorted out the only real dynamic flaw to it, it now becomes much better to drive much smoother. It also has the power from the engine, it does need the petrol engine; that is one miss and that is going to come but right now it's only got the diesel engine. The interiors are updated. The infotainment is very nice. The sound system is banging. It's got the ADAS features, it's got the safety features, it's got everything packed into it.
To know the verdict on the 2023 Tata Harrier, check out the video below.