Do not adjust your eyes. This is not the next Lexus NX, but it's close. Toyota releases a new Japanese market Harrier SUV.
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Toyota has revealed its fourth-generation Harrier crossover for the Japanese domestic market, showing what could be possible to fill the gap between the mid-size RAV4 and seven-seat Kluger.

While the first two generations of Harrier were badge-engineered twins of the first and second generation Lexus RX, the previous model struck out with styling of its own, as does this new model, which evolves its predecessor's style.

Positioned as a more luxurious alternative to the RAV4 range, the new Toyota Harrier lists a number of upmarket features including an increased use of sound deadening material inside the cabin, the Toyota-first adoption of a digital interior mirror which can record front and rear images, and an electrochroamatic panoramic sunroof which can be ‘dimmed’ to diffuse light.

The interior features a wide wrap-over centre console, inspired by a horse's saddle said to “present a generous ruggedness with an emphasis on individuality”. The use of low-contrast brown, grey and black interior tones and extensive use of leather, faux-leather and “bentwood-inspired” wood details also play to the Harrier’s premium aspirations.

Anchoring the interior is a 12.3-inch infotainment screen with touch input for the inbuilt navigation, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. A nine-speaker JBL premium audio system is also available.

Under the skin, the Harrier utilises the same Toyota New Generation Architecture platform as the RAV4 and the still-coming new Kluger. The GA-K chassis also underpins the current Camry and Lexus ES.

The latest generation of Toyota Safety Sense systems is incorporated, including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, and Parking Support Brakes which – as the name suggest – can prevent the car from colliding with stationary objects at parking speeds. Active Corner Assist also features, designed to reduce understeer via brake inputs to help keep the car on its intended line.

At 4740mm long, 1855mm wide and 1660mm tall, the new Harrier is 140mm longer from nose to tail than a RAV4 but is 25mm lower. The Harrier shares its width with the RAV4 along with its 2690mm wheelbase, meaning despite sitting midway between RAV4 and Kluger (which is 210mm longer still) doesn’t stray too far from its smaller sibling.

Under the bonnet, the Harrier opens with a 126kW and 207Nm 2.0-litre four cylinder naturally aspirated petrol power, paired with a direct shift CVT automatic which features a dedicated first gear before graduating to traditional CVT operation. Front- and all-wheel versions are available.

The flagship powertrain is a 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid, like the RAV4 it combines a petrol engine with front and rear electric motors providing all wheel drive capabilities and combined outputs of 163kW and 221Nm. Again a front-wheel drive version, without the additional rear motor, is available with a 160kW output.

The previous Harrier could be optioned with the same 2.0-litre turbo engine seen here in Lexus products, but there’s no mention of turbo power appearing in the all-new car. On the other hand hybrid models feature a 100-volt AC/1500-watt power outlet and can be used as a household power generator during a blackout, arguably much more useful for disaster-prone regions.

Speaking of Lexus, while the Harrier and the RX may have parted ways in terms of design direction, the new Harrier gives some idea of the powertrain and packaging that are likely for the next Lexus NX.

While Lexus will pen its own exterior, the mid-size Harrier points to the dimensions (give or take a few millimetres here and there) of the new NX. Like the Harrier, and as with the current model, the NX will favour aesthetics over utility so it's fair to assume the trimmed-down roofline and fastback rear glass will be part of the NX design.

Will the Toyota Harrier be coming to Australia?

Although the occasional Harrier can be seen on Australian roads, having been brought into the country under the Special and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme (SEVS) grey import program, the model has not been officially offered by Toyota Australia.

A Toyota Australia spokesperson told CarAdvice, "The Harrier is, traditionally, a product not offered locally. As such the new Harrier is not on our radar for introduction to Australia."

Given the relative similarities to the Lexus NX in positioning, this comes as no surprise. Hgh-spec versions of the current RAV4 and an all-new new Kluger (due in early 2021) will instead cover the Harrier's market position.


Toyota Harrier, though the generations: