UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) has officially launched the fourth-generation Toyota Harrier in Malaysia. And while it clearly looks like an improved SUV from every superficial angle, there's a big question mark hovering above the engine bay, which no longer houses a turbocharger. You still get a two-litre four-pot engine as before, but it's of the 'Dynamic Force' M20A-FKS variety - the same naturally-aspirated mill powering the base variant of the Toyota RAV4.
The Harrier's new engine produces 173PS and 203Nm of torque, which gets delivered to the front wheels via a direct shift CVT. Fuel economy is rated at 6.5 litres per 100km based on internal tests. The powertrain is a downgrade on sheer output alone, but Toyota takes pride in the fact that it comes with the most advanced version of the carmaker's dual VVT-i (variable valve timing with intelligence) since the system was pioneered 30 years ago. You could read that as the same tech being recycled for three decades, but if it ain't broke...
Underneath the sharp, new sheet metal is the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-K platform, which occupies a footprint that's 20mm wider than before, with a wheelbase that's 30mm longer than the third-generation Harrier - that's potentially good news for legroom, although the overall height of the SUV has been reduced by 30mm as well.
Inside, the centrepiece is a panoramic sunroof with electro-chromatic glass that can be dimmed at the touch of a button. There's also an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless charger, leather seats and a digital rearview mirror, which props up the live feed from a wide-angle, high-resolution camera; useful for countering glare at night, especially when you're being tailgated by a car with permanent high beams on a pitch-black road.
Being UMWT's premium offering in the SUV segment, the all-new 2021 Harrier is pretty well equipped on the safety front, with features like pre-crash system, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, dynamic radar cruise control and adaptive high beam making up the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) suite that comes as standard in the sole variant on offer.
Yes, there is only one model to choose from and it's called the Harrier 2.0 Luxury. There are five colours to choose from a largely monochromatic palette bar a dark blue metallic hue, and it's yours for RM249,707 while the SST exemption is still in effect. As with all new Toyotas, the price includes a five-year unlimited-mileage warranty.