Tata Motors seems to be plotting a serious, model-driven assault on the Indian passenger vehicle market. While January will be the month when the carmaker will launch the snazzy-looking premium Altroz hatchback which rolled out in production-ready form yesterday, February will see it introduce the Harrier-based, seven-seat SUV – called Tata Gravitas –most likely at the Auto Expo 2020 in Delhi.
The Tata Gravitas' face looks more or less the same as the Harrier’s. However, with its roof-rails, the Gravitas looks notably taller and also sports running boards and bigger alloy wheels in a different design than the Harrier.
At the rear, the Tata Gravitas has a boxy, more upright rear section designed to liberate more headroom for third-row passengers. The rear spoiler is more prominent, while the boot lid is new, with a larger windshield and mildly revised styling for the tail-lights.
Based on the same Land Rover D8-derived Omega platform as the Harrier, the Gravitas is 4661mm long, 1894mm wide and 1786mm tall. This makes the Gravitas is 63mm longer and 80mm taller than the Harrier, but the Gravitas gets a larger rear-quarter glass, replacing the stylish ‘pinched’ window line. At 2741mm wheelbase is identical to the Harrier's.
As showcased in Geneva, the Tata Gravitas’ interior will also be largely identical to the Harrier but with a third row of seats. The Tata Gravitas could get a large panoramic sunroof; and while the Gravitas showcased in Geneva had 19-inch wheels, the model spied testing in India ran 18-inch wheels borrowed from the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Expect to see the latter on Tata’s upcoming SUV.
The Gravitas will also be equipped with a more powerful, BS6-compliant version of the Harrier’s 2.0-litre Kryotec diesel engine, producing around 170hp and 350Nm of torque. Transmission options for the Gravitas will include a 6-speed manual and a Hyundai-sourced 6-speed torque-convertor automatic gearbox.
With the five-seat Harrier priced between Rs 13-16.86 lakh (ex-showroom), one can expect the Tata Gravitas' sticker price to be around Rs 100,000 more than the Harrier's when it is launched in February 2020.
When it goes on sale next year, the Tata Gravitas will compete with other seven-seat midsize SUVs like Mahindra’s XUV500, and also MG’s upcoming six-seat Hector, which is also due for launch in early 2020. However, Mahindra is currently developing the next-gen XUV500 too, which is slated for a mid-2020 launch. This should heat up things in that segment next year.
Plotting a new-model assault in 2020
The ongoing fiscal has not been kind to Tata Motors, as also to other PV makers. With sales of 81,576 units in the April-October 2019 period, the company's sales are down a substantial 41% year on year. With the SUV segment being the sole one to record growth (0.14%) in the first seven months of the fiscal and robust in October 2019 (22%), Tata Motors will be looking to ride on gradually growing consumer demand.
Early 2020 will also see the Tata Harrier BS VI automatic roll out (early 2020). Meanwhile, a mid-cycle update for the Tiago and the Tigor is in the works. Expect the facelifted models of the Tata hatchback and sedan to launched around Q2/Q3 2020. The company has also begun work on the updated Nexon. While its date of unveil is not known yet, expect the compact SUV to get all-new front styling for a more modern look. Tata Motors is all set to unveil its first electric SUV, which is based on the Nexon, most likely on December 16, 2019