Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why

Hans · May 13, 2021 12:00 PM

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 01

The weakest link with the all-new XU80 generation 2021 Toyota Harrier, which was launched in Malaysia earlier in April 2021, is its infotainment system.

Unlike Japanese market Harrier models which get a larger 12.3-inch touch screen head unit, our local specifications Toyota Harrier has to make do with a cheaper looking 8-inch one, with thick bezels and not-so premium looking knobs and buttons.

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 02

It’s the biggest shortcoming in an otherwise rather premium-looking interior.

Also readNo more 231 PS turbocharged engine for all-new 2021 Toyota Harrier, this is why

On the upside, at least the infotainment supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 03

Note the different head unit and A/C controls

This 8-inch head unit and digital display air-conditioning panel (integrated into infotainment for models with 12.3-inch screen) combo is also available in Japan, but on lower range variants.

To be fair, the less than stellar infotainment doesn’t bother the Harrier’s target buyers one bit.

In fact, distributor UMW Toyota Motor had grossly underestimated the Harrier’s appeal and its initial allocation of around 300 units for 2021 were sold out within just one week! Don’t worry, you can still buy one as orders have been placed for additional units.

Also readToyota Harrier will fail in Malaysia? It just hit its 2021 sales target in 1 week

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 04

Still, the omission of the more expensive 12.3-inch touch screen head unit is odd considering the Harrier’s upmarket positioning. It turns out that Malaysia is not alone in being shortchanged.

Singapore, the only other market outside of Japan to sell the Harrier (USA calls it Venza), also gets the same downgraded 8-inch touch screen.

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 05

Singapore market Harrier

Don’t let the photos on Toyota Singapore’s website fool you. The actual car’s head unit is identical to ours, and not as depicted in their communication materials released to the Singaporean media.

There’s a simple reason to this – yes, it’s related to cost, but not in the way you think.

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 06

Japanese market Harrier

See, not many realize that all radio communication equipment including your keyless entry key fob, in-car radio, even an R/C toy car, needs to get the necessary approval from the relevant local authorities (but this rule is somehow not enforced on recond cars).

In the case of Malaysia, it is the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). In Singapore, it is the Infocomm Media Development Authority.

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 07

Globally, the Harrier/Venza is developed with only two markets in mind – Japan and USA – and both countries have their own different standards for in-car radio.

Japan uses a very different, and narrower FM frequency range. USA is a very large country and users there require satellite radio and digital audio broadcasting (DAB), so infotainment on cars sold there will have to be equipped as such.

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 08

US market Venza

In comparison with fulfilling demand from USA and Japan, Malaysia and Singapore are just a ‘by the way’ arrangement, and the sales volume of our two combined markets are still too small for Toyota to bother going through the very tedious process of developing yet-another infotainment unit for our market, and applying for the necessary certifications and type approval.

As such, Malaysia and Singapore gets a standard ‘general markets’ specs radio, which in this case, is the 8-inch touch screen unit.

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 09

The 8-inch unit looks the same as the ones used in the lower specs USA market Venza’s ‘Audio Plus’ package (12.3-inch is only for the Premium Audio package), but the hardware and software inside the USA version supports Amazon Alexa, Sirius XM and a different USA-specific telematics services.

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 10

So there you have it, the real reason why we can’t have the Japanese market Harrier’s 12.3-inch touch screen head unit. It’s not because UMW Toyota Motor is skimping on its offering, but that option is not even available for us to choose in the first place, as it’s not compatible with our local standards.

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 11

Or you can just get yourself a Lexus UX for more or less the same money.

Also readRM 249k 2021 Toyota Harrier vs RM 236k Lexus UX: Why Toyota when you can Lexus?

Price Comparison (OTR w/o insurance, with SST discount)
Model & Variant Price (RM)
Toyota Harrier 2.0 Luxury 249,706
Lexus UX200 Urban 236,443
Lexus UX200 Luxury 274,998
Lexus UX200 F Sport 290,335

Not just Malaysia, even Singapore’s Toyota Harrier uses a cheaper infotainment, here’s why 12

Price is without SST discount

Comments

Up to 20% higher than average trade-in price

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