TATA H5: Elegant yet ruggedBased on Land Rover’s OmegaArc platform, the compact sports utility vehicle is built to take a beating and shine no matter the conditions.
TATA Motors have come a long way since its establishment in 1945. From their first generation vehicles to their recent launches, TATA Motors have demonstrated many noteworthy improvements. Lately, TATA’s compact sports utility vehicle, the H5, has been creating quite some buzz and looks to be the most optimistic vehicle from the manufacturer till date.
The H5 is based on the OmegaArc platform, a re-engineered version of the platform commonly used by the mighty Land Rover. You have to see it in person to admire the character it exudes. It has a mighty road presence and it could very well be the most attractive Indian manufactured CSUV I’ve ever driven.
I took the H5 for a spin to Sundarijal and tested its performance and handling, and it would be an understatement to say it pleasantly surprised me.
The vehicle’s front looks futuristic, with its LED DRLs and a menacing black grille, and while that might not appeal to some buyers, the front definitely has more fans than dislikers. The body is huge and muscular, however, the large wheel arches make the 17-inch rims look babyish. A bigger set of wheels could go more in flow with the muscular design of the H5. The rear is neat and tidy with a glossy back strip and tail lights on either ends completed with an embossed harrier badge in the centre.
Like the exterior, the interior of the H5 is classy. Its chocolate dark seats feel and look premium and paired well with a thick woodshaded dashboard. The fit and finish is perfect—without any jagged, loose edges. The seats, both in the front and back, are well padded, spacious, and comfortable. There is adequate headroom as well as legroom for both the driver and the passengers. Adding to that, there is adequate storage for water bottles and cell phones. TATA has also been generous and provided the H5 with a massive 425-litre boot space.
The H5’s instrument cluster feels refreshing. Its 8.8 inch infotainment system loaded with information is a welcome feature and supports both the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but the system lags while working on the screen. For sound geeks, the premium speakers and subwoofers from world class JBL will be a value added delight. But despite its load of features, the H5 misses out on amenities like electronically controlled driver seats, sunroof, lock-open entryway button, and above all, rear temperature control AC vents. Can we ask for more features for the price of Rs58,55,000?
The H5 is a 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel turbo Kyrotec engine with 16-valves producing 140 horses and 350 Nm of torque. Its engine is produced by Fiat, the same power plant is also used by the Jeep Compass. Considering the weight of the vehicle and the power produced, it is safe to say that the H5 isn’t the most exciting vehicle when it comes to outright performance. However, the performance feels more than adequate for its segment. The different drive modes available also lets you choose the way power is delivered. The engine felt best in the highways, but in stop and go traffic, I was left yearning for more mid range torque. The engine felt smooth and quiet in the lower RPMs, but once revved and pushed, I could feel the vibrations kicking in and the sound getting pretty buzzy.
The six-speed gearbox feels light and shifts pretty well but the gear shifts could’ve been smoother for a better riding experience. The clutch is light and comfortable, but stalls pretty easily if you’re frugal with the gas pedal.
On the comfort side of things, the OmegaArc platform combined with chunky tires does a stellar job of absorbing the shock even on large potholes and broken roads. The H5 felt right at home while on the rough terrain, with its ample ground clearance and long travel suspensions. It is a vehicle prepared to take a beating and shine no matter the conditions.
The stopping duty of the massive H5 is taken care of by front disc brakes combined with rear drum brakes. The brakes felt decent at best and I would happily welcome more feedback. Hopefully, TATA will upgrade the rear brakes to discs, which could significantly improve the feel and bite of the brakes.
Sharing the all-new platform with Land Rover, wrapped in a confident new-age design by TATA, the H5 looks stellar and an all rounder performer. And the H5 felt great for most part, but there were a few instances when it felt rough around the edges. For some offroaders, the absence of an automatic transmission could be a deal breaker, despite that, the H5 has definitely set a benchmark for Indian manufacturers and left us expecting more.