Tata Harrier owner's honest review & experience

It makes me entitled to give my opinion about Tata cars, the dealers and TASS. My judgements are not based on hearsay and internet comments.

BHPian Nayan recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I have purchased Tata’s so-called premium (or flagship or whatever) product, the Harrier XZ+ MT (DT). So, it makes me entitled to give my opinion about Tata cars, the dealers and TASS. My judgements are not based on hearsay and internet comments. Others (those who own and those who don’t own Tata products) can disagree with me. Also, those who want to buy Tata products, can do their own fact finding and take decisions rather than an opinion by me alone or someone else. My suggestions are based on my own experience.

Let’s discuss the price of Harrier vs Compass. I reside in Maharashtra, so my price calculations are after considering the taxes in Maharashtra.

I purchased a Harrier XZ+ Manual Transmission (MY February 2021). I paid a total of Rs. 22,63,000 (including ex-showroom, TCS, RTO tax, zero dep insurance, HSRP, accessories - mudflaps & mats and Fastag charges). The Jeep Compass 2021 variant, which is comparable to Harrier XZ+ MT, is the Limited Diesel MT. Its OTR cost in Maharashtra is approximately Rs. 27,50,000 (this was the price Jeep SA offered me). So the difference is about 5 lakhs, which is almost 22% of the OTR cost of Harrier. Now, do you really think that it is only a "few more lakhs"? I believe everyone will agree that the overall maintenance cost (routine + repair) of Jeep Compass is higher than Tata Harrier. To this, add the limited number of service centers available for the Jeep Compass. All this for a car, which provides significantly less space than Harrier. So, I don't agree that a person who is willing to shell out 22 to 24 lakhs for a Harrier will spend a few lakhs more to get a Compass. The Compass belongs to a higher segment. It provides better interior quality, better features, better driving dynamics, better build quality and lesser space at 22% higher price than the Harrier. I feel both can’t be compared. This is my personal opinion, others may disagree.

Now about the Harrier. Is Harrier a good product? Yes. It is a good product. I have clocked more than 5,300 km till now. It includes city drives, highway drives and long trips (covering 1,000 km in a day). There is absolutely no mechanical problem. But, all this is applicable for other 5-seater cars like the Nexon, EcoSport, Creta & Seltos. They are also good products. Even owners of these cars are not supposed to have any problems. Then what is the difference between these cars and Harrier? Then why one should pay extra for Harrier? The difference is, Harrier belongs to a higher segment as compared to the above-mentioned cars. It offers more space, better engine capacity and better road presence. It is also expected to offer better interiors and features. It should offer a premium ownership experience (by dealers as well as service centers) as compared to the above-mentioned cars.

Then with whom can we compare the ownership experience of a Harrier? I feel the only worthy comparison of the Harrier is with the Hector. Now the question is, does the Harrier offer a premium feel over cars from a lower segment? Or at least at par with the Hector? The answer is a big no. The rough edges and poor fit and finish is seen in every corner, whether interior or exterior. You name it and I will show it. Initially, I thought of taking pics and posting them to validate my statement, but then I stopped taking the pics, since there are “n” number of such poorly finished edges. How many pics should I take? Is it the poorly aligned tailgate, rear bumper, front bumper, the rubber lining windows and glasses, the fabric which covers the frame of the sunroof, the small rubber caps (which cover the holes on the inner door panel) coming out, the ICE niggles which have not been solved even after 2.5 years, the Bluetooth mic making rattling noise while driving the car, the driver door plastic making rattling noise as per its own whims, the asymmetrical alignment of the dashboard in the area where the controls of ORVM are located, the ergonomics of the driver seat in MT model (one can refer the Team-BHP official review for this), the rubbing of the left knee, the very small size of the dead paddle in the MT model, the poor quality of reversing camera, the rough edges of the interior plastics wherever two or more plastic panels meet each other or the poor alignment of the fuel lid? All the metal parts and screws bear some prominent colour markings which are easily visible from the outside (this may be present in other vehicles of this segment, but I am not sure). Compare all this with the Hector (I feel Hector is the only comparable car to the Harrier at present, considering price, features, size and specifications). Forget the Hector, please compare this with a car from a lower segment like the Creta, Seltos, etc. Even the Maruti Wagon R at our home has better fit & finish. The only word I can use for this is “crude”. Nowhere close to the premium experience expected at this price point that is being offered by the Hector and vehicles from lower segments. The steering response, although better than the 2019 model, is still scary at high speed (>80 km/h on curves) and it is dangerous. The car of this size needs a front camera, or at least front sensors, rather than a fancy handbrake. Although available as an accessory, we need to trust the dealer for fitting such accessories and there are more chances that the dealer will screw it up and we will end up repenting.

Now coming to the dealerships and service centers of Tata Motors. I simply refuse to accept that Tata should not be held responsible for the dealers' behaviour. The dealers are appointed by Tata. They are limited in numbers in a particular area and customers have to buy Tata products from them only. Tata cars are not some Parle G biscuit packs which one can purchase from any shop at his will. You have to buy the car from dealers only and get them serviced only from the authorized service station. Now it is entirely your luck what kind of treatment you will get from a Tata dealer. If we consider the number of cars sold by Tata, the dealership numbers and the complaints against them, then one can only imagine the number of complaints we will come across against Maruti / Hyundai dealers & service stations. Forget about Maruti and Hyundai, please compare them with the numbers of Hectors sold till now and the number of complaints against MG dealers/service stations, and the extent to which MG goes to rectify the problems faced by customer.

In my case, I purchased car from Keshva Motors, Mulund, Mumbai. One of the BHPians has mentioned his experience with this showroom. According to him, there was not even enough parking place to park his car. That is absolutely true. The dealer is giving deliveries from a shop the size of a big kirana store. There is no place to park visitors' cars, forget about space to deliver new cars. On the day of delivery of my car, his driver wanted to fit two new cars (my Harrier and one Nexon) side by side in the small place in front of the shop. After parking, he opened door of the Harrier without checking outside and banged it on a steel ramp kept outside. All this he did even after a warning by my father that this can happen and can damage the door. Was the dent small? Is the Harrier's door so delicate that just by touch of the ramp and it will develop deep dent with loss of paint? But it was there. He was not even bothered to inform anyone. He just left from there. When my father later went there to check if any damage occurred due to the ramp, we came to know. I asked the SA and then the driver confessed. Is this the so-called "professionalism" shown while selling a car costing 23 lakhs? Then their sales manager appeared and told me that this is a "chotisi baat" and it will be repaired free of charge! This is a real deal-breaker. Being the senior-most person in-charge of the showroom, doesn't he understand that it was a dent that needed repair and repainting of the whole door? Even I knew it. But he was not willing to accept. He kept on telling me that it is "chotisi baat". He sent the car to the workshop and started work on it without my consent. I had to literally fight with him to let me enter the workshop and see the work going on. After finishing the work, even I could see that the paint job was not matching. I called their body shop in-charge and just told him to touch and feel the difference between that door and other door. Then he accepted with shyness and instructed the person to do it again.

Now it is the same dealer who indirectly suggested that if I don’t pay all the amount by the next day, my car will be allotted to another person. I had to take one day's leave and finish all loan processes on an emergency basis, so that I could pay the full amount immediately the next day. They did not give me an invoice even after payment of the full amount. I received the invoice 10 days after taking delivery and that too after making multiple phone calls. If the dealer is not even willing to compromise a little regarding money, then why should I accept a car with a repainted door for no mistake of mine. Forget about compensating, their attitude was very casual – chotisi baat, free mein ho jayega, kuch nahi dikhata hai, pata bhi nahi chlega. Will anyone pay the full price of the car after knowing that the car has had such damage? Why did I do a PDI for 1 hour before full payment if this is what was their attitude? It is common sense that it is very a small place to give deliveries and a similar incidence must have happened before and will happen again. But does Tata care? No. Otherwise, they would have compelled the dealer to shift to a better premises.

I paid the booking amount (Rs. 40,000) to the dealer and exchanged my old car for Rs. 4,40,000. Now this dealer kept the money of my old car with him saying that it will be added in booking amount. He gave me the booking receipt of Rs. 4,80,000 as well. No issues. Since my loan was sanctioned for 85% of the OTR price (Rs. 20,00,000 was the amount sanctioned), the dealer promised me that he would refund the excess amount (Rs. 3 lakhs) within 1 week of complete payment for the Harrier. I paid the full amount on 26th Feb and took delivery on 4th March. Now it took a whole one month and daily phone calls to the dealer to get the excess amount (Rs. 3 lakhs) back from the dealer. Each time the answer was, you will get refund in the next 2 days, next week etc. I was tired of their excuses. Is this the way one does business?

Since my hometown is different, I requested them to do CRTM and give the documents to me and I would get the car registered with my hometown RTO at my expense. But the dealer was not willing. Why? Because he wanted to earn the commission which is paid to the RTO agent to get the car registered with the local RTO. It took him 12 full days and numerous phone calls from me just to apply online for the registration and pay the RTO tax. The car was standing in front of my home unused. Why? Because the dealer had not paid the RTO charges. And why had he not paid? Because he had outsourced it to another RTO agent, who wanted to work at her own pace. For her, the customer was non-existent, just like a sarkari company. She would not talk on the phone, she would not commit anything, but she will not hand over the documents either, because she wanted her commission.

For the first service, I contacted the Tata Motors service station in my hometown. It was newly opened. The response by the service center was excellent. They followed up with me regularly. I will rate them equal or better compared to Maruti and Honda service stations (as per my experience). The service manager was very cooperative and explained everything to me. However they have a very steep and curved ramp, up which, the vehicle needs to be driven carefully to reach the service area. When I saw it for the first time, I was sure that sooner or later someone’s vehicle (especially bigger vehicles like Harrier) will definitely get damaged on this ramp. Service was over, however, the USB issue was not resolved and I had to visit again the next day for a software update. This time, I insisted that they let me also into the service area. But, I was not allowed. Then the vehicle was handed over after a software update (USB has not given any hiccups thereafter). However, when I went to fill fuel on the same day, the petrol pump attendant asked me about the scratches on the bumper. I immediately knew these scratches were due to the edges of the ramp. I called up and informed the person who took the vehicle on the ramp. He immediately accepted that the vehicle was damaged while driving on the ramp and requested me to come to the workshop. It would be rectified free of charge. I was so disappointed - why couldn’t he inform me about the damage at the time of delivery? What was he thinking? Will a customer not come to know or he will be able to escape the blame if a customer comes to know later? Doesn’t such behavior spoil the reputation of the TASS? Here, I will not disclose the name of the service center and I don’t blame them. They were very attentive and whatever damage happened, it was by mistake and not by neglect. But again, why should I bear the damages?

Why can't there be minimum professionalism practiced by Tata dealers and service stations? They could have easily delegated the responsibility of taking the vehicle on the ramp to an experienced driver, knowing that it can damage customers' vehicles. I am not willing to visit the service station, for rectification of niggles and rattling sounds (mentioned above). When my car is driven in 6th gear, I can feel a jerk in the gear knob whenever I press or release the accelerator pedal. Even though I was requested to visit the service center for those scratches, I don’t have the courage to visit them, because then, I may have to accept the vehicle with another form of damage caused by TASS. And I will not give them permission to open the door panels etc to stop the rattling or work upon the gear knob problem. I will not, unless and until these issues become a big nuisance and create a problem while driving. I believe, this is what a Tata car owner should learn. Live with all sorts of niggles, ICE problems and rattling or scratches, but don’t think of rectifying them as long as your car is driving well, otherwise you will end up getting another new problem in your vehicle, purely because of your visit to the dealer / TASS. My family has owned cars from Honda, Hyundai and Maruti, but we never had such experiences. I don’t think it is bad luck in my case. It’s just that one should have good luck to have a pleasant experience with Tata Motors, its dealers and TASS.

Am I repenting my purchase? Yes I am, because I could afford a Jeep Compass S trim Diesel MT @ 29.5 lacs OTR. But, I thought that the Compass was overpriced. But now, I understand where that extra money goes in the Jeep Compass. It is the premium feel whenever we are with the vehicle (in every aspect like looks, interior quality, exterior quality, ergonomics, hardware used, driving dynamics etc.) & overall experience that we purchase from the company and not just the car which takes us from point A to point B.

I have used Maruti, Hyundai, Honda cars before. My brother uses a Storme. He had told me very clearly not to go with Tata Motors. The SA of Jeep and MG told me that Tata Motors cars are not worth spending more than Rs. 20 lakhs on. Another known person (who owns a Storme and Tata Zest) suggested buying a Creta and told me one should not spend such an amount of money on a Tata car, but, I believed that now, Tata had changed. However, it seems that Tata has not, at least not for the product costing Rs. 20 lacs and above. It may be good for Tiago, Nexon or Altroz, but not for harrier or new Safari. After all these bitter experiences, I even thought of going to cars24 and putting the Harrier on sale to see if I can get enough money (for example, 1 lakh less than what I paid), but then I restrained myself thinking that it’s just waste of money under emotional thoughts.

I didn't purchase the MG Hector. I never liked its looks. It’s subjective. If given chance again, I will still not purchase the Hector. I will definitely go for a Compass (provided I can afford it at that moment) or Creta / Seltos (if I can’t afford the Compass). But this is my personal opinion. Others may differ in their choices.

About suggesting others after purchasing a Tata car - I will always recommend against buying a Tata car, especially a costly one (like more than Rs. 15 lakhs). I sincerely pray that as an Indian company, Tata should succeed and become an aspirational brand. But, that time has not arrived yet. Let them improve their QC, dealers and TASS quality, then one might consider. If a new company like MG can achieve it in such a short time in India, then it should not be very difficult for Tata. But, I doubt that Tata will be able to do it as long as they recruit people on someone’s recommendations and accept poor quality from vendors and dealers / TASS because they are known to higher-ups. If anyone is ok with the crude ownership experience, substandard quality of build, sarkari attitude of the company as well as its dealers and TASS, then they can have a Tata car (Harrier) with specifications similar to higher segment cars (Compass), but at a lower segment price. The moment Tata Motors, its dealers and TASS will be equally professional like Maruti, Hyundai or Honda, Tata won’t need to price its products lower than competitors. That Tata needs to keep prices low to sell their cars is proof of them being uncompetitive.

What about complaining to Tata Motors? I have got 2 calls till now regarding feedback for my purchase from Keshva Motors. Both times I have narrated my experience. Both times they promised that I would get a call from Tata Motors. But, as anyone can guess, nothing happened. If anyone is suggesting that I should create noise on social media platforms, then I believe they know what is the difference between ownership of Tata Motors' cars and other cars - one has to do such things to get noticed by Tata.

If you are aware, only automatic Harrier is available for test drive at Tata showrooms (at least 3 showrooms I visited). One can’t imagine the ergonomics of the MT car compared to the automatic car. Also, this issue has been well documented in the official review as well as in the thread. This is only one negative issue about the Harrier. It is and was never a deal-breaker at least for me. But it adds to the list of problems. Other than the Harrier, I considered only Hector & 2021 Compass. So, regarding the premium feel, I think the other two are better than the Harrier. But I didn’t like the Hector and as I said, for me Compass is a higher segment car. My interpretation of premium feel is not only the plastic quality, it is the overall experience as I have clarified above. Regarding taking care of the car, I meant, we take a lot of precautions while using our new cars like searching proper parking space, avoiding crowded places, parking in a shadow whenever possible, etc. All this to avoid scratches and other damages to the car. Why should a Tata car owner do it as such a casual, sarkari attitude of the TASS is damaging the car when we hand over to them? What is the point in taking care of a car if the dealer/TASS don’t care enough and damages the car?

An Update on the ownership experience

I will like to update the recent development in this regards.

As mentioned in my post, I received two calls from TaMo and both times I narrated my experience, however, I did not receive any update. But after my post on Team-BHP, there seems to be some activity happening in TaMo. I am really happy that Team-BHP has achieved this status and the opinions expressed in the forum are considered valuable.

I will like to add a few details. My booking and delivery of the car from the start to the end was handled by Team leader (Mr. PY) and his assistant (Mr. J) in Keshva Motors. I am deliberately not disclosing their names for privacy concerns at their end. Right from the beginning to the end (even after car delivery), both were very eager to help and were always responsive. The pre-delivery experience was good. I will rate it equal to Maruti/Honda, if not less. My request for PDI was accepted immediately. I was given benefit of price-protection as per the policy of TaMo, without creating any trouble. However, Mr. PY was on leave on the day of car delivery. And I am sure that if he wouldn’t have been on leave that day, everything would have gone smooth. It is just that few things were not in their hands.

I decided to add these details, because today (28/04/2021), I received a call from Mr. PY requesting me to take back my complaint. He requested me that it will affect him and no one else. Now I myself don’t know how to convey to TaMo that both of them (Mr. PY & Mr. J) were very good in their work and it was not their fault at all.

Today even the sales manager (Mr. PS) also called. He mentioned about my post on Team-BHP and requested me to take it back. Now he is the same person who didn’t have courtesy to take my calls when I was struggling to get a refund and to get the RTO registration done. I was so frustrated with the delay in RTO registration that I told Mr. PS clearly, “OK sir, I have done a mistake by purchasing a TaMo car and I did another mistake by purchasing it from you. I accept my mistake and I promise that I shall not make such a mistake in my life again. But please get the registration work completed.” Even then, there was no effect. He used to just pacify me on the phone by promising to look into the matter, but then no effect. Even the dealer’s person involved in the exchange of my old car, Mr AT, was not responsive when I tried to contact him regarding problems in getting a refund. He had promised me that he will take care of any problems related to car exchange and its refund. He attended my first call when I tried to explain the problem and thereafter he refused to attend the calls. Here, I am not saying that these people were doing all this deliberately with an intention to hurt the customer. But then why can’t they be transparent and explain in detail?

I am really thankful for forum members who expressed their support.

And I am again repeating from my previous post on 25th April:

For first service, I contacted the TaMo service station in my hometown. It has newly opened. The response by the service centre was excellent. They followed up with me regularly. I will rate them equal or better compared to Maruti and Honda service stations (as per my experience). The service manager was very cooperative and explained everything to me.

I will not disclose the name of the service centre and I don’t blame them. They were very attentive and whatever damage happened, it was by mistake and not by neglect.

My experience with this TASS was very good and I have recommended it for servicing for at least 2 people who own TaMo cars. I felt bad for the scratches, but I accepted it and didn’t complain to TASS during the feedback call, just because they were very responsive and interested in serving the customers.

Also from another post on 26th April:

Please do not generalize my opinion and experience regarding TaMo and quality of service offered by TaMo dealers and TASS. In my post, I have even praised the other TASS (newly opened in my hometown). Whatever happened was “my” experience which can be one in hundreds. For one negative experience, you can find multiple positive experiences as well.

The intention of quoting lines from my previous posts is, please, please, do not generalize my experience for all TaMo products and dealers. There are many customers, even in this forum, who are very happy with TaMo, its dealers and TASS. They must be feeling sad after reading all the comments. And I personally feel that the discussion is going off-topic and deviating towards the complaints against TaMo in general rather than review of Harrier. The sole intention of my post was to make the forum members aware of my experiences so that it will help them to make a better decision. If anyone asks me my personal opinion about buying Harrier, it remains the same as in my OP.

And regarding Tata as a company. I am 100 % sure that if there is any business house which has helped India the most, then it is Tata and Tata only. Others are nothing compared to them. Right from the generation of employment to nation building, there is no match to Tata’s selfless contribution. Even today, highest share of their profit goes for charity and many charitable institutes will stop functioning if Tata Trust decides to stop their funding and concentrates on profiteering. So please refrain from criticizing Tata as a whole and their policies. It is just that a few business arms are not up to the mark in providing quality to customers. But that does not belittle their contribution to our motherland. Criticize TaMo & its products for not being competent, but not Tata. I am not as wise as rest of the forum members to opine about Tata and their contribution. But I felt that I should express my opinion, so I wrote it. It is not directed at any member’s particular post.

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