- Toyota has launched a new generation of the Japan-market Harrier SUV.
- The Harrier used to be closely related to the Lexus RX but is now a standalone model, which makes us think it could—and should—come to the U.S.
- If it ever comes to our shores, the mid-size Harrier would slot in between the RAV4 and Highlander in the lineup.
The Toyota Harrier is not a familiar nameplate to most Americans. Previously sold in Japan as an identical twin of the Lexus RX with a Toyota badge, the Harrier has recently diverged from the Lexus. And now that there is a particularly attractive new Harrier launching in Japan this year, we are starting to think that it should come to the U.S.
As a mid-size crossover, it would fill a gap in the Toyota SUV lineup last occupied by the Venza sold from 2009 to 2015. The fact that Toyota filed for a U.S. trademark for the Harrier name in August 2018, hints that this may be a real possibility.
At 186.6 inches long, the Harrier is 5.7 inches longer than the compact RAV4 but 8.3 inches shorter than the three-row Highlander. It has two rows of seats and would hypothetically compete with models such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Edge, and Honda Passport. Toyota does currently offer the 4Runner as its two-row mid-size SUV option, but that model is truck-based and more off-road-oriented while the Harrier is based on the same TNGA unibody architecture as many other Toyota passenger-car models.
Powertrains for the Japanese-market Harrier include a 2.0-liter inline-four with 169 hp paired with a CVT and a hybrid system that uses a 2.5-liter inline-four and electric motors to produce a total output of between 215 and 219 hp. If it comes to the U.S., we might expect to see the hybrid drivetrain offered along with a more powerful turbo-four or V-6 option.
Toyota USA representatives aren’t commenting on the Harrier at this point, so we don’t have any official word on its possible U.S. availability. But check out the images of the new model and let us know if you think it’s a good idea for Toyota to bring it here.