Nine months after going on sale in Japan, the all-new Toyota Harrier has finally arrived in Malaysia. This photo was shared by our reader VT, who spotted a trailer with 6 units of lightly masked SUVs. The C-pillar and silhouette clearly mark it out as the TNGA-K platform 2021 Toyota Harrier.
The latest generation Harrier will ditch the previous model’s 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder 8AR-FTS VVT-iW for a 2.0-litre Dynamic Force M20A-FKS naturally aspirated 4-cylinder (172 PS / 203 Nm).
There’s also a 2.5-litre hybrid version of the same engine, the A25A-FXS (218 PS). Both engines are paired to a CVT-type automatic, the latter a planetary gearset e-CVT.
The move to drop the turbocharged engine for a hybrid and a naturally aspirated one is necessary as Japan has now enforced a fleet-wide average CO2 emission cap limit for all vehicle manufacturers.
Malaysia, being a small market, will have to accept whatever that’s available in Japan.
Unlike previous generation Harriers, the current Harrier is no longer a Japan-only model. It is also sold in the US as the Toyota Venza, which is only available as a hybrid.
While the previous generation Harrier shared platform with the Lexus NX (relation with Lexus RX has been severed long ago), the latest Harrier will share the same TNGA-K platform with the Toyota Camry and Toyota RAV4, so taut handling and a pliant ride is a given.
As an imported (CBU, Japan) model, the Toyota Harrier won’t sell in big numbers but whatever little units that’s allocated to Malaysia will certainly be snapped up very fast.
In Japan, the orders collected within the first month of the Harrier’s launch was 15 times higher than Toyota’s projection – 45,000 orders versus its monthly sales target of 3,100 units - leading to long waiting period, which has since eased.
We expect the Toyota Harrier to be launched in Malaysia sometime around May or June 2021.
The previous generation Harrier was last sold at RM 234k. Expect this all-new model to not stray too far away from it.
Despite the switch to a simpler naturally aspirated setup, the Dynamic Force engine is equally sophisticated, operating at 40 percent thermal efficiency, one of the highest for any combustion engine. Malaysians, with our cheap subsidized petrol and non-existent CO2 emissions regulations / carbon tax won’t appreciate it but that’s the direction the rest of the world is heading to now.
By the way, some Japanese press say the latest Harrier is no longer as luxurious, while the all-new Honda HR-V has moved the goal post so far that it actually feels more expensive inside than the Harrier.