Seven months after the new Toyota Harrier was introduced in Japan, the premium SUV is now filtering into export markets in Southeast Asia. The fourth-generation model has been launched in Singapore with a choice of two engines and three trim levels.

Two of these variants are currently offered on sale, starting with the Elegance that is priced at S$160,888 (RM489,200) with a non-guaranteed Certificate of Entitlement (COE). The range-topping Luxury retails at S$173,888 (RM528,700); a mid-spec Premium model is also available, but the price has yet to be revealed.

Only the base model gets the petrol-powered 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated Dynamic Force four-cylinder engine, producing 170 hp at 6,600 rpm and 203 Nm from 4,400 to 4,900 rpm. Drive from the direct-injected mill is sent to the front wheels through a Direct Shift-CVT, enabling the Harrier to get from zero to 100 km/h in 9.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 190 km/h. Fuel consumption is rated at 6.5 litres per 100 km.

The Premium and Luxury models, meanwhile, are hybrids that receive a 176 hp/221 Nm 2.5 litre Dynamic Force engine and a 118 hp/202 Nm electric motor to deliver a total system output of 215 hp. The petrol-electric variants are quicker to 100 km/h (8.1 seconds) but have a lower top speed (180 km/h); the main benefit, however, is a combined fuel consumption figure of just 4.7 litres per 100 km.

Based on the same Global Architecture – K (GA-K) platform as the Camry and RAV4, the Harrier continues to utilise MacPherson strut suspension at the front and double wishbones at the rear. However, the suspension geometry has been optimised for increased rigidity and handling balance, while the retuned dampers improve smoothness at lower speeds. Increased sound insulation also reduce noise and vibration.

On the outside, the new Harrier is slightly larger than the outgoing model, albeit quite a bit lower for a sportier look. Details include slim LED headlights, a closed-off upper grille, a large lower grille, a sleeker coupé-like roofline and full-width LED taillights. All models are fitted with the same mid-range 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels.

Inside, the Harrier is dominated by a diamond-shaped centre console inspired by a horse’s saddle, sitting within the wraparound faux leather-trimmed dashboard. A freestanding infotainment panel sits on top; on Singaporean models, it houses an eight-inch touchscreen instead of the 12.3-inch unit available in Japan, retaining Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

Standard features include keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone auto climate control with rear air vents, Nanoe air ioniser, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, fabric upholstery, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, auto lights and wipers, a 10.5-inch head-up display, a Qi wireless charger, six speakers, a reverse camera and a hands-free powered tailgate.

The Premium model adds genuine leather upholstery, front seat ventilation, eight-way powered passenger-seat adjustment and driver’s seat memory, while the Luxury throws in a body-coloured rear spoiler (instead of black on the other variants), illuminated side sill scuff plates, a cargo scuff plate, a digital rear-view mirror camera and a new electrochromic panoramic glass roof.

Safety-wise, all models come with seven airbags and traction control, plus a full range of Toyota Safety Sense systems. The latter includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, lane centring assist, lane departure warning and adaptive high beam.

With Singapore being the first country outside Japan to receive the Harrier (aside from the United States, where it is badged the Venza), could Malaysia be next? It’s certainly possible, though it remains to be seen if the new model will be as well-received as its predecessor, given that the turbocharged engine is no more.

GALLERY: 2020 Toyota Harrier in Japan