2021 Toyota Harrier Hybrid Review: Very Talon-ted

Derryn Wong

Driving Experience

As mentioned in our launch story, the Harrier loses the unique turbo 2.0-litre engine it had before, and is now offered with a 2.0-litre non-turbo, or this car driven here, the 2.5-litre hybrid.

We’ll say it now, and probably be repeating it throughout the year: VES makes hybrids far more competitive in 2021. In the case of the Yaris Cross, the petrol-only version is a total no-show for that reason. In the Harrier’s case, even though the hybrid is S$7k more than the standard model, it’s more than worth the extra outlay.

The hybrid system is Toyota’s latest and very similar to the one found in the Lexus ES 300h hybrid (there’s that Lexus link again), the basis being a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine with a 118hp/202Nm motor adding motive force or driving things when needed.

The car’s coupe styling means the A and C pillars do eat into a driver’s view, though the rear is offset by the digital mirror, but the tall seating position still spells for an easier time of it, even in carparks.

Around town, the Harrier does live up to its ‘almost a Lexus’ billing at least when the going is easy. Under electric power and below 70km/h, it glides along in almost total silence. Like Toyota and Lexus’ larger hybrids, it does have a slightly firm ride, so it doesn’t quite insulate ground chatter as much as its image implies. Once the speed rises above 70km/h though, there’s more tyre and road noise, as well as slight vibes coming through the steering wheel – all stuff you wouldn’t find on a Lexus.

We’re more than willing to forgive the Harrier though, because it claws back points in so many other areas.

For one, it actually drives like it looks, in some ways. There’s the usual Toyota predictability and linear-ness to the steering, but the car remains obstinately planted and supportive even when ripping through corners at very un-SUV speeds – it’s surprisingly similar to a Lexus IS 300h, in this respect.

Also with 215hp on tap, it’s also accelerates with real gusto. There are three drive modes – Eco, Normal, and Sport – and the latter makes the drivetrain considerably more peppy, it’s good to see Toyota doing less of the bore-you-to-death-think-of-the-children hybrid drive here.

For two, it’s ridiculously frugal and proves the point that if you want to get on the electric bandwagon, shrink your fuel bill, help save the earth and reduce local pollution right now, hybrids are the way to go. 

The car’s quoted fuel consumption is 4.7L/100km, and over 200km of driving we easily bettered that at 4.3L/100km mostly in the Normal drive mode. In fact, the car could have been even more efficient, as we saw figures as low as 3.8L/100km when driving smoothly.  

While the official consumption of the 2.0-litre petrol Harrier doesn’t seem like much more, at 6.5L/100km, in real life, the hybrid is able to better its quoted figure, but the opposite will almost certainly be true for the petrol. 

Continue to Page 4: Pricing, competition and conclusion

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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