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Harrier vs Creta: Which is the better SUV?

Tata Harrier vs Hyundai Creta

It’s the question on most Indian car buyers’ minds: Hyundai Creta or Tata Harrier? There are other SUVs, of course, but we chose the best selling one as the benchmark with which the Harrier needs to compete. The Creta sells way more than any other 5-seater above-4m SUV and the Harrier is the newest launch, one with a hype matching that around an about-to-be-released Salman Khan film.

So, naturally, a fair fight is in order.

Tata Harrier vs Hyundai Creta

Looks

You do not need a measuring tape to figure out that the Harrier is the bigger SUV of the two. There is no beating around the bush, the Harrier is the best looking SUV you can buy below Rs 25 lakh. Looks are the biggest USP of the Harrier. It is not over styled but a modern-day interpretation of a tough and rugged SUV. Bits like the DRLs connected to the grille, the fancy headlamps, the floating roof, the beautiful tail-lamps all make this one a stunning vehicle visually. However the 17-inch wheels look pathetically small. The Harrier  needs bigger shoes.

Tata Harrier vs Hyundai Creta rear styling

The Creta is smaller and being successful means it is a common sight on the roads. A recent facelift, however, has made it better looking. The bigger grille and the nice 17-inch alloys make it a handsome SUV. Still, the Tata takes the looks department. It is to be noted that both cars feel solid in their build quality.

Tata Harrier interior

Interiors

Here the Harrier feels suitably plush and the Land Rover influences are unmistakable. I like the brown leather and overall materials like the wood finish which does not look tacky or even the overall design. The fit and finish is a new high and it’s amongst the best looking cabins in a car priced under Rs 25 lakh. The instrument cluster with the 7-inch TFT display is again nice while the floating touchscreen (8.8 inches) looks good and is biggest amongst SUVs in this price range.

Tata Harrier touchscreen

So far so good. However there are a few places where it could have been better ergonomically (things such as the placement of the USB port – you can’t see as it’s hidden away – and the fiddly aircraft style handbrake and lack of multiple charging sockets.) That said this is by far the best Tata cabin yet.

Tata Harrier seats

The Creta is more serious and has a more conservative look. It is functional and does the job- comes without the pomp of the Harrier with a straightforward design, but it works. The Harrier’s cabin feels more spacious and airy while the Creta’s, due to the small and higher placed rear windows, feels a bit cramped. Both will seat 4-5 in comfort but the Harrier feels bigger inside. and also has the bigger boot.

Hyundai Creta interior

Features

Both cover the basics with climate control, cruise control, touchscreen, rear ac vents, 6 airbags, leather, 17 inch alloys etc. There are differences though. The Harrier has multi drive modes and also cool Land Rover-style terrain response modes, plus a superb 9-speaker JBL audio system along with logo projection, which is really cool.

Hyundai Creta touchscreenThe Creta hits back with features such as inbuilt navigation, sunroof, wireless charging, powered driver seat – stuff that is missing in the Harrier. The Creta has a more consistent quality and the touchscreen is slightly more responsive (better rear camera display quality too) while things like placement of the USB port/practicality is looked at than just the design.

Hyundai Creta interiors

Driving

The Harrier gets only one gearbox and engine. A 2.0l diesel with 140 bhp/ 350Nm with a 6-speed manual. No petrol or automatic. The engine has grunt with a good amount of torque. In the city, you can amble around in a higher gear and ride on the torque. The clutch is light and the gearshift is decent. The steering is not electric but is not painfully heavy to use in city. That said, clearly the engine is a bit noisy.

Tata Harrier vs Hyundai Creta

In the city the Harrier is not as intimidating to drive despite its dimensions but has a massive blind spot due to its huge ORVMs. Out on the highway, the Harrier feels the best with its torque – it cruises well. Off-road the Harrier is better than you expect though a 4wd option would have been a bonus. The drive modes work well but we would stick with City/Sport as its best for use in the, er, city. The Harrier rides very well and while there is roll, it is well controlled.

Tata Harrier vs Hyundai Creta

On to the Creta. Here you get both petrol and diesel engines with manual and automatic variants. The diesel automatic is superb and makes sense being one of the few such variants available. The Creta has done so well because it drives like a car and has the usability of an SUV. It is refined, more efficient and easy to drive with a light steering and is both good on the highway and in the city. It feels nimble with a good balance of ride/handling (slight choppiness in the city aside) though it has a more car-like feel compared to the big-SUV feel of the Harrier.

Tata Harrier vs Hyundai Creta

Verdict

The Harrier is priced from Rs 12.7 lakh to Rs 16.4 lakh. That is good pricing when you take in those fabulous looks and the overall package. It looks fantastic inside out, drives surprisingly well and has personality. There are drawbacks and some rough edges namely the engine noise/ lack of some features or an automatic variant, but that said this is better than an XUV or Hexa or any of the ‘big’ SUVs. If you want that big SUV feel this is a good choice – especially considering the price.

The Harrier has the feel-good factor and looks better than the Creta but the Hyundai continues to be a true all-rounder. Its prices start at Rs 9.6 lakh to Rs 15.7 lakh. The whole range of petrol/diesel and so many trims means it appeals to a wider audience; it has an automatic too plus all the features you need.

Tata Harrier vs Hyundai Creta

The Creta is also more refined and goes about its job with clinical precision. As a overall package the Creta still rules. Thus while the Creta sales won’t be affected by the Harrier, sales of the XUV/Hexa or Compass will be, as the Harrier is likely to eat into ttheir market share.  space more. The Harrier will expand the SUV segment and is for those who want a bigger SUV look and feel without paying a big price.

Thus, if you  want a burly SUV without paying a bomb, head for the Harrier! If you want an easy to use/drive, well-equipped SUV that does it all, get the Creta.