It’s not a Lexus for Toyota money, but it’s close, delivering a gripping proposition for Singaporean SUV buyers by pairing premium-ness with unbeatable fuel efficiency
Now that the Toyota Harrier midsized SUV is in its fourth-generation it’s much improved and fits its name less than ever before – which is a good thing.
The Oxford dictionary defines ‘harrier’ as a person which attacks persistently, or a bird of prey. In that respect, if the Toyota Harrier can be accused of attacking anything, it’s the barrier between luxury and mainstream cars.
For its first two generations, the Harrier was essentially a copy of the contemporaneous Lexus RX. You might be old enough to remember some Harriers owners slapping a Lexus badge on the front, with nobody none the wiser but for the extra fender mounted mirror.
The third-gen Harrier took a different tack as a Toyota-only model, and it was able to do very well here – despite being halfway through its life cycle – thanks to an exclusive Singapore-only 2.0 turbo model sold by official dealer Borneo Motors.
This model is the all-new fourth-gen, now running on the Toyota TNGA GA-K platform. As usual we have the full story and spec details in our launch story, and here we’re testing the top-spec model, the Hybrid Luxury variant.
Toyota actually has two mid-sized SUVs on sale now, the other one being the Toyota RAV4, remember that? That car adheres closer to the old-school boxy SUV style, which is making a small comeback with some cars.
But it’s clear the Harrier owes its success to its coupe-like styling, something which it already ‘did-before-it-was-cool’ in the previous-gen that debuted a light-bar style taillight before it became the rage in the past few years.
The new one doubles down on the coupe styling with good results. In dimensions, the new car isn’t radically different, but it’s clear the design team sought to add in as much swoop-iness as possible (geddit? Harrier? Swoop?).
Like the current Camry, Toyota now makes cars that are exciting and enjoyable to look at, and the Harrier surely is: the squinting LED lights and sculpted bonnet (shades of the Lexus IS, anyone?), the raked windscreen, the even more dramatic taillight-bar that sits on its own promontory of bodywork.