Toyota Harrier 2.0t test drive review
Lexus would have been proud of this Toyota SUV
Text and Pictures by Daniel Fernandez
Since the model’s launch in 1998, the Harrier nameplate has proved immensely popular with those needing the flexibility of a sport-utility vehicle combined with the driving comfort of a luxury sedan, all wrapped in an attractive, elegant package. This all-new Harrier’s mix of sharp creases and curves represents a bold evolution in the model’s styling, sharing the same design DNA with one other recently-launched model in the Lexus lineup (Remember, Lexus is the child of Toyota). Moreover, this perennial best-selling luxury crossover features sophisticated safety features, driver aids and welcome new convenience and technology features to make this one of the best Toyota luxury utility vehicles offering to date.
The all-new Harrier comes to market as the brand’s first entry into the luxury SUV segment and with the first turbo in the line-up.
The Harrier was developed to have the agility of a luxury sedan whilst carrying with it a bold, eye-catching exterior and a low profile and unique roofline. As with all new Toyota vehicles, the aggressive exterior starts with the slim and sharp LED headlamps and daytime running lamps firmly express the current Toyota bold styling.
The front and rear wheel arches add to the Toyota’s wide and low, muscular stance with bold flares. The arches houses attractive 18-inch wheels. The profile is accentuated by a roofline peak set towards the back of the vehicle to create a tight silhouette and provide ample head-room for rear seat occupants.
The Harrier’s cabin combines the structural beauty of a high-performance machine with luxury materials that maximizes functionality. The combination of hard metallic surfaces and contrasting soft materials help create a unique interior.
Black trim dominates but the quality looks and feels more up-market, particularly the leather upholstery which is standard-fit on all Malaysian versions. The array of instruments is very comprehensive and well laid out, and adds to the refinement offered by this new generation Harrier.
All the usual features are included: electric windows and door mirrors, roof rails, daytime running lights and front fog lights, auto lights and wipers, smart entry with push-button start, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery (plus leather trim for the steering wheel and part-leather for the dashboard and door panels), 18-inch alloys, rear parking sensors, rear-view camera, and paddle-shift controls for the auto gearbox.
Five adults will fit snugly inside the Harrier even with its rather compact dimensions. The front seating positions a great with good al round view and easy reach of all features. Rear passenger comfort is good where even a six-foot tall passenger will get in and out easily.
This Harrier has an array of innovative on-board technology, including a Wireless Charging Tray to enable a mobile phone to be charged. Other available technology includes the Remote Touch Interface with a touch pad; and a comprehensive Multi-information Display, including a Toyota-first G sensor and boost meter, All-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
This Harrier introduces an innovative all-new 2.0-liter petrol turbo and this is the first Toyota in Malaysia to use a turbocharged engine. With 235bhp ready to work for the driver this Lexus is no slouch from standstill where it feels relaxed to reach 100km/h in just 7.1-seconds. Power delivery is smooth and the 6-speed semi automatic gearbox swaps gears with little felt. It is seamless and smooth in its delivery and the engine never feels out of breath when you push past 200km/h on the open highway (this speed was tested on a deserted highway). For a tall vehicle, the Harrier does not fuss when you take a fast corner nor does it feel flustered when you exit a highway off-ramp at speeds. In fact it feels as surefooted as its sporty sibling the Camry sedan. Of course, if you push the Harrier hard, its height will be felt and you will need to ease of the throttle.
To further enhance driving performance as well as feedback to the driver, a number of updates have been made throughout the structurally sound and highly-refined platform of this all-new Harrier. Although this new Harrier utilizes basically the same underbody platform of its predecessor, it has been given revamped front engine mounts to the sub-frame structure. The side engine mounts have been relocated to enhance the vehicle’s lateral responsiveness, resulting in the engine sitting tight in the compartment, which provides for sharper steering feel and enhanced overall cornering reaction of the chassis. And, this newfound agility comes at no sacrifice to the Harrier’s trademark smoothness and quietness.
For its asking price and the available safety features and comfort accessories, the Harrier seems like a good company car to have and throw in the impeccable Toyota reliability and efficient after sales and the company accountant will be happy they picked the Harrier for the long haul.
Toyota Harrier Turbo Specification
Engine: 4-cylinder Twin-scroll Turbocharger
Transmission: 6 A/T, AWD
Max Power: 235hp @ 4800-5600rpm
Max Torque: 350Nm @ 1650-4000rpm
Top Speed: 250km/h