Toyota Harrier Review (Updated 2021)

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Much like the pioneering spirit that shaped Singapore, the Harrier transcends boundaries as it pursues perfection.
Toyota-harrier-1.jpg

Introduction

The all new 2021 Toyota Harrier has been revealed, and before anybody asks what that is, it is the Toyota of the Lexus RX, both riding on Toyota’s latest TNGA-K platform. It is only sold, as an addition to the RX, in Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. Traditionally, it just has been sold as a rebadged RX before Lexus was launched in Asia.

The fourth-generation of Toyota’s popular mid-large sized sport utility vehicle (SUV), the Harrier, is due in Singapore by early 2021.

Exterior

For the all-new 4th generation, the Harrier gains a fresh front fascia with sharp LED headlights and taillights. The new Harrier has a front view that emphasizes its sharp and fearless styling through the continuity of lines flowing from the front upper grill through to the headlamps.

The height has been lowered 30mm to compliment that as well as having an almost sloping roof design. The signature lamps emphasize the individuality and technical advancement of the new Harrier, enabling it to be easily distinguished from a distance.

Toyota says part of the Harrier look is the ‘clean coupe form’, and the new model brings the Harrier’s styling right into the contemporary era with a large grille, slender and narrow headlights, and a shapely rear end which has a very in-fashion element, the near-full-width taillight bar, not unlike the Porsche Cayenne’s.  The combination of a narrowed coupe cabin with sports car-like wheel housings extending from both sides of the body gives a generous ruggedness to the rear view. The light from a thin, sharp line of tail lamps and stop lamps gives it an overwhelming sense of presence.

The car looks more coupe-like not only because it’s slightly less tall than before, but also because it eschews contrast-coloured fenders for a contrast-coloured lower half. Visually, that makes the car appear slimmer, especially when seen from the side.  Despite a simple structure, the side view offers a dynamically changing body cross section that creates a rich expressiveness while giving a powerful sense of movement.

Both the premium and luxury variants come in at 4,725mm long, 1,835mm wide and 1,690mm high. A wheelbase of 2,660mm also translates into more legroom for the occupants inside. The Toyota Harrier 2.0 Turbo Luxury does come in slightly heavier on the scale at 1,705kg as compared to the 1,665kg on the premium model.

 

Toyota Harrier 4th-gen 

Toyota Harrier 3rd-gen

Toyota RAV4

Honda CR-V

Mazda CX-5

Length

4,740mm

4,725mm

4,600mm

4,591mm

4,550mm

Width

1,855mm

1,835mm

1,855mm

1,855mm

1,840mm

Height 

1,660mm

1,690mm

1,685mm

1,679mm

1,680mm

Wheelbase 

2,690mm

2,660mm 

2,690mm

2,660mm

2,700mm

As mentioned, the car is less tall than before, but it’s also incrementally longer, wider, and with a 30mm increase to wheelbase. Like before, the Harrier is the same size as the RAV4 SUV, also sold here, which is no surprise given both share the same TNGA/GA-K platform.

Interior

Inside this cabin is where the significant changes are for the new Harrier to distinguish it from the 3rd gen. Extending out from the instrument panel to the door trims on either side, the rich and full dashboard presents a generous breadth, wrapping around the occupants to give a sense of security and comfort. The interior employs tactile synthetic leather to create the image of a natural-looking silhouette wrapped in thick leather, and bentwood-inspired* 2 wood tones and piping throughout, presenting a casual air of quality.

Image credit: Toyota

The all-new infotainment system is what Toyota calls the ‘T-Connect SD’ with a 12.3-inch touchscreen display with smartphone connectivity/mirroring through SmartDeviceLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Interestingly, the 2.5L Hybrid Luxury variant spots a panorama roof with electro-chromatic windows, used for the first time by Toyota, which uses a large sheet of electro-chromatic glass that covers the front seats and as far as back as overhead for the rear seat passengers. The electrochromatic panoramic 5 layered moonroof is able to dimming the glass fosters a feeling of quality as soft light penetrates the cabin, as if through traditional paper windows. This option itself cost as high as over $20k as a top up option for some luxury brands but comes fitted for the 2.5 Hybrid Luxury variant.

The cockpit sees a strong central area, what Toyota says is a ‘wide and imposing impression of a horse’s saddle’, there’s a high-mounted infotainment system above it, and a dash that appears to extend even to the doors, giving a wraparound feeling.

One other interesting feature is the digital rear view mirror – not only can it beam a clear view of the front and rear via cameras, it can also record footage to SD card.

Performance

The 2021 Harrier comes in 2 models: the hybrid model, which uses a 2.5-liter inline-four direct-injection engine supported by either one or two electric motors depending on the layout. The FWD version has a peak output of 215 horsepower. It uses an e-CVT transmission.

Instead, the Harrier has another option powered by a 2.0-liter engine generating a maximum of 170 hp and 207 Nm of torque. The four-cylinder engine is mated to a direct shift CVT gearbox. The Harrier will be available in front-wheel drive. All engine choices are paired with a CVT gearbox like all other new Toyota models.

Image credit: Toyota

Handling

The new Harrier uses the TNGA (GA-K) platform for its basic structure. This creates a highly rigid body with a low center of gravity in pursuit of both ride comfort and vehicle driving performance with a focus on driver sensitivity.

The suspension system benefits from MacPherson struts at the front and a double wishbone setup at the rear. The front and rear suspension geometry has also been optimized to produce a well-balanced rigid body. The front and rear suspension geometry has also been optimized to produce a rigid, well-balanced body.

To improve steering convergence in the new Harrier, from the first moment driving off and then on the highways, shock absorbers that ensure smooth pedal stroke even in very low speed ranges are used. This enables the driver to feel the tires gripping the road.

Active Cornering Assist (ACA) is employed for braking control to prevent understeering at corners. Coupled with an electric power steering system that responds quickly to steering wheel movement and provides light steering, this creates a feeling of comfort in the vehicle’s responsiveness.

Through the effective placement of sound-absorbing and vibration-controlling materials and use of highly efficient sound-absorbing windows, as a result, the Harrier now achieves even greater comfort and quietness over a range of road conditions.

Safety

Image credit: Toyota

The new Harrier will also come with an array of safety and assist systems, including Toyota’s Safety Sense family of technologies, which includes a pre-collision safety system that detects pedestrians during the day and at night, as well as cyclists during the day. Toyota also proudly mentions that the 2021 Harrier will become the brand’s first model to feature a digital cabin mirror.

The new Harrier also comes with Toyota’s latest safety systems, compromising of a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians in day and night, and cyclists in day. Lane departure assist, auto high beam, road sign assist are other examples included with the car. Adaptive cruise control will be standard across all the variants of the car.

In addition, it is fully equipped with safety equipment for safety and peace of mind, such as Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Parking Support Brakes (Stationary Objects) that helps reduce and/or mitigate damage from collisions during low-speed driving in parking lots, etc.

Summary

A total of six muted colors are available, including Precious Black Pearl, to show off the beautifully changing shades.

It’s also clear that Toyota, which used to be an ‘MPV company’ with five MPVs in its lineup (Sienta, Wish, Previa, Vellfire, Alphard) is now shifting to reflect the market popularity of SUVs and could see as many as six models here in 2021 – the Yaris Cross, Corolla Cross, C-HR, RAV4, Harrier, and Fortuner.

Verdict

What we like
- Superb torque and acceleration due to its twinscrolled 2L turbo engine
- Solid ride quality and suspension
- Sufficient space for rear passengers
- Good boot space
What we do not like
- Not much improvement in design over the years
- Lack of auto rain sensing wipers for the base variant
- Small audio head unit
Editor’s recommendation
A fantastic car to drive. You will absolutely love its smooth pick up and acceleration. Being an iconic model range, you can't go wrong with the Harrier!

Specifications

Features

Toyota Harrier 2.0T Premium

Toyota Harrier 2.0T Luxury

Engine

1998cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbocharged

Power

227bhp at 5200rpm

Torque

350Nm at 1,650rpm

Gearbox

6-speed automatic

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