2021 Toyota Harrier Hybrid Review: Very Talon-ted

Derryn Wong

Interior and Features, Space and Practicality

The other key to the Harrier’s success has been its higher implied positioning. Because of the Lexus connection, it’s always been perceived as getting a Lexus for Toyota money.

With Lexus evolved massively over the last decade-plus, that’s no longer as true in sheer cabin quality terms, but the Harrier still has a noticeably nicer interior and equipment list than mainstream midsized SUVs. 

Our test car came slathered in two-tone grey and brown leather, there were very few touchpoints that hint at cost cutting, and almost no hard plastics to speak of. 

The drive to digitalisation is also obvious with an 8.0-inch touchscreen mounted high and within relatively easy reach. It’s not the brightest nor the slickest-looking we’ve seen, but unlike Toyota head units of yore, it has decently crisp graphics, is easy to use, and lag-free. Like all cars these days, it partners up with your smartphone (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) for increased convenience.

The driver’s instrument display is a 7.0-inch curved unit that sits between two conventional dials – from it you can monitor infotainment, hybrid system scores, and diddle with the safety tech. With Toyota’s newest Safety System +, you get everything from adaptive cruise control, to autonomous forward braking and collision mitigation, adaptive high beams (useful in eventual Malaysia), blind spot monitoring, tyre pressure monitors, and more. 

Other stuff to make life aboard nicer includes ‘Nano-E’ air filtration, air-con front seats,  ambient lighting, wireless smartphone charging, and a mass of safety systems.

All those are things you can find on a well-specced Lexus, and the Harrier even has two things that aren’t. These pair is only in the Luxury variant: An electrochromic panoramic glass sunroof and a digital rearview mirror. The former doesn’t just darken the glass (like Transitions lenses) but actually has a frosted effect too. The latter is like the system on the new Land Rover Defender, and has the benefit of widening your field of vision, though having a widescreen so close to your eyes takes a bit of getting used to.   

Space and Practicality

With the Harrier being a mid-sized SUV, it’s comparable in size to cars such as the VW Tiguan in the mainstream, and the BMW X3 in the luxury segment. With a 2,690mm wheelbase, it has good passenger legroom and should fit three adults in the rear without qualms, although the headroom isn’t super-generous due to the styling.

While most midsize SUVs have at least 500-litres of boot space and, increasingly, flexible second row seating, the Harrier loses points in pure cargo space: It has a quoted 396-litres, and the high-floor of the boot means less room overall, although it’s easier to heave heavy things into the flat floor as a result.

There’s a sizeable underfloor tray, and spare tyre underneath, though. While the kick-to-open and auto tailgate add usefulness, the Harrier is less adept at carrying cargo than other cars in its class, so sporty types who intend to carry bicycles often, for example, should take note. 

Continue to page 3: Driving Experience

Page 1: Introduction, Design and Appearance
Page 2: Interior and Features, Space and Practicality
Page 3: Driving Experience
Page 4: Competition, Pricing / Conclusion

Pages: 1 2 3 4


5 seat 5-door harrier Hybrid Hybrid Luxury SUV Toyota

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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