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The new Toyota Harrier has been announced in Japan

And we continue to be content just drooling over the photos

This looks very much like a Lexus. Well, the Harrier has had a Lexus alter ego anyway (RX). PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

If you want a Toyota crossover in the Philippines, you’re basically stuck with the RAV4. While there’s nothing wrong with this model, some people are looking for other options from the Japanese automaker. Customers have had that luxury in Japan since the late 1990s, when Toyota first launched its “urban SUV,” the Harrier. And now the company has announced plans to release the vehicle’s fourth-generation model in its domestic market in June this year. Just how much are we missing?

The bluish Toyota badge indicates this is a hybrid unit. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

The new Harrier, like the RAV4, is available with either front- or four-wheel drive, and sits on the same TNGA (GA-K) platform. Standard models use a 2.0-liter, 169hp Direct Shift CVT power unit, while hybrids are propelled by a 2.5-liter engine paired with a single or twin electric motors good for up to 219hp. The Harrier is 130mm longer (4,740mm) but 10mm narrower (1,855mm), and has 5mm less ground clearance (195mm) compared with the RAV4.

Such a sharp-looking car. This will turn a lot of heads. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

Styling-wise, the front has sleek, flowing lines from the grille to the headlights. These lines continue to the sides and end at the back. An all-LED lighting system is used up front and at the rear. Elongated taillights stretch from end to end, while the roof rises and tapers down smoothly on the flanks. Nineteen-inch wheels are wrapped in 225/55 tires.

Inside, you’ll find generous amounts of leather and wood trim in a black-and-brown theme. For the first time, Toyota has used an electrochromic panoramic roof with electric shades to control the degree of exterior light being allowed into the cabin. The manufacturer also claims to have worked hard to minimize noise, vibration and harshness by using vibration-controlling and noise-absorbing materials.

Finally, a cabin that is not light-colored. We hate easy-to-smear (and hard-to-clean) surfaces. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

There’s an abundance of creature comforts and safety bits, too. These include the Toyota Safety Sense suite, active cornering assist, a digital rearview mirror, a 1,500W power outlet and a nine-speaker JBL premium audio system. A T-Connect SD navigation system comes with an attention-grabbing 12.3-inch touchscreen display located atop the dashboard. You connect your smartphone via SmartDeviceLink or the more popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

In an SUV-crazy market like ours, more choices are most definitely welcome. The new Harrier included.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.