While the Lexus RX is often regarded as the model that took SUVs into the premium segment, its sister model, the Toyota Harrier, also did the same. The only thing was that while the RX was marketed globally, the Harrier was primarily for the Japanese domestic market as the Lexus brand was not introduced there in 1997 when the RX was launched. However, in a number of places, including Malaysia, the Harrier was brought in by private importers and became very popular. It was never officially sold by UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) until 2018 and with the popularity built up over 20 years, it met with strong response with initial shipments from Japan quickly sold out.
Today, the all-new fourth generation is officially launched with a price of RM249,706.50, excluding insurance for registration in Peninsular Malaysia. Only the 2.0 Luxury version is available, and customers can choose from 5 exterior colours (extra charge for White Pearl CS and Precious Black colours).
5-year warranty and aftersales support assured
According to UMWT, Malaysia is one of only two countries outside Japan where the new Harrier is sold officially with full warranty and aftersales support. The 5-year unlimited mileage warranty and assurance of parts and service are something that were not available from private importers which has been a strong selling point for the model. Furthermore, the company also provides owners with Toyota 24 Seven Road Assist for peace of mind.
Like other recent Toyota models, the new generation (incidentally, Lexus no longer shared the model since the previous generation and the Harrier is an independent development), is designed around Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) with the GA-K platform. TNGA’s versatility and flexibility allows it to be used for sedans like the Corolla and also SUVs like the RAV4 and Harrier, and even electrified models like the Prius. Besides creating a highly rigid body structure, the centre of gravity is also lower which enhances stability, handling, agility and ride comfort.
Wider but lower body
The overall size of the new Harrier is almost the same as before but the width has gained 20 mm while an extra 30 mm has been added to the wheelbase, both increases obviously benefitting interior space. Although there is still good ground clearance, as would be expected of a SUV, the overall height is now 30 mm lower.
The profile follows the same coupe-like form with a design concept Toyota calls ‘Dignified Elegance’. The front end has a sharper appearance with the eye-catching slim Bi-LED headlamps on either side. The L-shaped Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) also provide a strong and distinctive visual signature apart from enhancing daytime visibility. The rear has a clean design, defined by a thin LED strip for the full width, while twin exhaust pipes with oval baffles add a sporty touch.
The ‘Dignified Elegance’ concept is also adopted for the interior which gets a more premium feel. The occupants are welcomed with the Illuminated Entry System at the front door sills which is complemented by blue LED illumination inside. Premium materials used include thick black leather with woodgrain and silver ornamentation.
Any driver should be able to get the right and comfortable seating position with 12-way power adjustment for the seat, and for ease of getting in and out, the steering wheel automatically rises out of the way when the engine is switched off and the door opened.
The Automatic Dual-Zone Air Conditioning system has nanoeX technology which generates ions. First introduced with a previous generation of the Camry, nanoeX technology is known to deactivate viruses which is, of course, a very welcome feature in these times. It also keeps the air fresh and clean.
Besides the bright and clear Optitron instrument panel, the driver can also refer to the standard Head-Up Display (HUD) which is projected on the windscreen. Information show includes road speed, gear position, Driving Support System (directions, ACC display, LDA Display, Parking Sensor), audio mode with song titles, and warning alerts. That’s certainly a lot more than the early HUDs which showed only the speed.
The new Harrier has Panoramic Sunroof with electrochromatic glass which can alter the intensity of light passing through at the touch of a switch. The effect is like that of traditional paper windows found in Japan, enhancing comfort. The glass panels cover almost the entire length of the roof so a lot of light can be allowed in when sunlight conditions are not too harsh or at night.
The other high-tech feature is the new Digital Display Rear View Mirror. This shows live images from a wide-angle high-definition camera at the back to give greater night-driving clarity and eliminates glare from oncoming headlights.
Other standard features include a wireless charging pad, USB ports, Kick Sensor Powered Back Door, Electric Parking Brake, and an advanced infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The 8-inch capacitive touchscreen serves the infotainment system as well as shows the images from the rearview camera. Front and rear digital video cameras are also fitted while a Vehicle Telematics System can keep track of the vehicle’s location at all times.
One area that Toyota engineers paid special attention to was reduction of Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH). The new Harrier is claimed to be much quieter than before, thanks to the use of highly-efficient sound-absorbing glass on the windows. Sound-absorbing materials and their placement were optimized to lower NVH as well while sealing at the doors is improved to stop wind noise from seeping in.
New Dynamic Force engine
The Harrier is powered by Toyota’s latest Dynamic Force (M20A-FKS) 4-cylinder DOHC engine with Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) that operates electronically for quicker response. As before, it is a 2-litre engine but now has improved output of 173 ps/203 Nm without turbocharging.
A Direct Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Sequential Shiftmatic, allows the seamless shifting of gears. The driver can choose from three modes – ECO, Normal and Sport – to suit driving conditions or personal preference. ECO and Sport modes will prioritise fuel economy or acceleration, respectively, while the Normal mode offers a good balance of performance and fuel efficiency.
The TNGA chassis has front MacPherson struts with trailing wishbones at the rear, with optimized suspension geometry for balanced and predictable handling, while maintaining a high standard of ride comfort. The 18-inch alloy wheels at each corner are fitted with 225/60 tyres.
Toyota Safety Sense
Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) is the suite of integrated active systems that help the driver to avoid an accident, especially front collisions. Most of the latest Toyota models have TSS but the systems vary depending on the model. In the case of the new Harrier, there is a Pre-Crash System, Lane Departure Alert, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Adaptive Highbeam System. These use a camera and radar to scan the road ahead and identify vehicles and the data is analysed by a computer to determine if there is any danger of a collision. The Pre-Crash system has autonomous capability, meaning that it will activate the brakes if the driver does not take corrective action if a possible collision is detected.
Additionally, there’s a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Braking, and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. The 4-wheel disc brake system is managed by ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, while Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control will help stabilize the vehicle on slippery surfaces.
Even with the best active safety systems, an accident can still occur and to minimize injuries, there are 7 SRS airbags around the cabin (one for the driver’s knees). These include curtain airbags which deploy downwards over the windows and besides providing cushioning, they also reduce the chance of ejection from the cabin during violent crashes. ISOFIX points are provided in the rear seats for compatible childseats which are now required by law.
For more information or to locate a showroom, visit www.toyota.com.my or call the Toyota Freephone at 1800-8-TOYOTA (869682).