2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2008 Highlander Hybrid UnveiledAs promised (Toyota Presents the 2008 Highlander Hybrid), Toyota unveiled the 2008 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid today.

The biggest change is the EV button, allowing the driver to run on electric mode only. But it probably isn't the most useful of tools. As autobloggreen points out, you can only drive a mile on electric motor power alone before the battery gives out.


  • brake assist,
  • anti-lock brakes,
  • traction control,
  • active head restraints
  • electronic brake-force distribution,
  • enhanced vehicle stability control, with electronic power steering.
  • a new hood and fender system designed to crumple on impact with a pedestrian
  • a stand-alone backup camera with a multi-information screen, not tied to a navigation system
2008 Highlander HybridBigger:

The Highlander SUV is built on the Camry base. So, since the Camry is a little bit bigger, so goes the Highlander. The Highlander is nearly four inches longer and three inches wider. They've added another inch to the clearance and overall the wheelbase is about three inches longer. All that extra space comes in at about 500 lbs.

More Room:

The second row seating can be converted from captain's chairs to a bench seat capable of seating three. The center seat can be hidden in a compartment under the front center console. There is also:
  • a third-row bench seat,
  • a rear glass hatch (optional)
  • Smart Start and Entry for the Limited and hybrid models.
More Power:

The Hybrid Synergy Drive system has been updated and compensates just enough for the extra weight. The fuel economy is being rated at 31 city and 27 highway. The 3.3 Liter V6 hybrid engine is capable of 270hp, net.

I'm left wondering about the mileage. I believe the new system for the EPA fuel economy ratings is being rolled out on all 2008 models(?). So, you would think that if the Highlander was able to "maintain" it's fuel economy on the new system, despite adding 500 lbs, they would be trumpeting that fact.

Photos courtesy of Toyota

Press Release follows:

CHICAGO, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc.,
unveiled the all-new next-generation Highlander and Highlander Hybrid
mid-size sport utility vehicles (SUV) at a press conference today at the
2007 Chicago Auto Show.
"Highlander holds a unique distinction within the Toyota brand and
within the industry," said Don Esmond, TMS senior vice president,
automotive operations. "Along with the 4Runner and the FJ Cruiser, it
anchors one of the industry's only three-vehicle, mid-size SUV line-ups.
Equally important, along with Prius and Camry Hybrid, it is a key component
in the industry's only three-vehicle hybrid strategy."
The 2008 Highlander is significantly larger, roomier and more powerful
than the vehicle it replaces. Yet its fuel efficiency will be virtually
unchanged. It is noticeably quieter, smarter, with improved versatility and
ride comfort. It will offer the highest level of standard safety equipment
in a segment where safety is at the top of purchase considerations. And,
it's all wrapped in a package designed for buyers who want to stand out and
make a statement.
Highlander will have no equal to its comprehensive list of standard
safety features. It will provide a segment-leading total of seven airbags,
including a driver's knee airbag and roll-sensing side curtain airbags for
all three rows.
As with all Toyota SUVs for the last three years, Highlander will
provide Toyota's STAR safety system, featuring:
* anti-lock brakes,
* traction control,
* electronic brake-force distribution,
* brake assist,
* and for the first time, enhanced vehicle stability control,
* with electronic power steering.
On all models except the base models, it will provide a stand-alone
backup camera with a multi-information screen, not tied to a navigation
system. And, Highlander will have the distinction of being the first Toyota
division vehicle to feature both active head restraints and a new hood and
fender system designed to crumple on impact with a pedestrian.
On the outside, Highlander moves away from traditional SUV styling cues
with a statement of strength instead of ruggedness; of intelligence over
toughness. Calty Design Research in Newport Beach, Calif. sculpted clean,
crisp lines, a wide, stable stance and muscular contours to give Highlander
an advanced, contemporary, forceful and dynamic personality.
Highlander rides on an all-new chassis derived from the current Camry
and Avalon. It is nearly four inches longer and three inches wider, with an
inch more ground clearance and three inches of additional wheelbase.
Interior designers took full advantage of Highlander's substantial
dimensions. Design intelligence is carried through to the refined interior,
where smart and sophisticated blend with practical, flexible and versatile.
The passenger compartment is open and airy. Convenient and innovative
interior features such as flexible seating arrangements, and ease of entry
and exit, were directly related to customer input.
For example, Highlander's second-row features captain's chairs with
armrests that, if needed, can be converted to a bench seat for three
passengers. A "Center Stow" seat, when not in use, is hidden in a
compartment under the front center console. In its place, passengers can
easily snap in the provided center stow center console or choose to leave
the area open as a walk-through to the third row. The second row also
slides forward and back 4.7 inches and reclines.
Clever and convenient standard features include:

* a third-row bench seat with foldable headrests for a flat rear cargo
* a rear glass hatch for quick access to the back (optional on base
* and Smart Start and Entry for Limited and all hybrid models.
When Highlander arrives in July, it will be offered in Base, Sport and
Limited grades. All three grades will be powered by a new 3.5-liter V6 that
delivers an impressive 270 horsepower -- a 55 horsepower gain over the
previous generation's 3.3-liter engine.
Two months later, the all-new Highlander Hybrid will arrive at
dealerships. Offered in both Base and Limited grades, all Highlander
hybrids will feature Toyota's advanced VDIM stability system. The system
* full-time four-wheel drive with intelligence,
* electronic brake and throttle control,
* with true electronically-controlled active steering.
Highlander's advanced Hybrid Synergy Drive system has been extensively
upgraded and refined for 2008 for both power and economy. The new
Highlander gained about 500 pounds, growing significantly in every
dimension and receiving extensive body and chassis reinforcement, aimed
specifically at achieving best-in-class crash ratings. Not only were
engineers able to increase output to 270 net horsepower, they were able to
maintain Highlander Hybrid's impressive fuel economy at 31 city and 27
The Highlander will be loaded with standard-equipped comfort and
convenience features. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels will be standard on both
Sport and Limited gas models and both hybrid models.
An array of options and accessories will be offered, such as a power
backdoor that can be opened and closed with a key fob, a navigation system
with an eight-inch screen, a rear-seat entertainment system with a
nine-inch screen, and three-zone air conditioning.
Other options include:

* JBL audio with six-disc changer and nine speakers with Bluetooth,
* third-row seat delete to create a second-row model,
* leather seat trim and heated seats,
* and a tow package with a 5000-lbs. maximum towing capacity
(class-leading for car & van-based mid SUVs).
"The 2008 Highlander takes the car-based SUV concept to a new level,"
said Esmond. "I say that with conviction, because it's a category we
The Toyota RAV4, now in its third generation, was the world's-first
car- based SUV. In 1998, Lexus established a whole new category of
car-based luxury SUVs when it launched the RX300. The debut of Highlander
in 2001 marked the beginning of a shift in the mid-size SUV segment, from
truck platforms to car platforms.
"As you can see, the new Highlander has raised the bar significantly,"
said Esmond. "Last year we did the same with RAV4. And in about a year,
we'll do the same with both Land Cruiser and Sequoia. The Toyota division
now markets a six-vehicle SUV lineup that appeals to specific buyer
demographics and life-stages. It is a lineup that gives us enormous
flexibility in responding to shifts in the marketplace. We are committed to
keeping our products fresh and at the front of the pack."
Public Web site: http://www.toyota.com


3.5 Liter V6 -- 270 hp
249 ft.-lbs. torque
5-speed automatic
4WD or 2WD

3.3 Liter V6 Hybrid -- 270 net hp
Torque not available for hybrid powertrain

Overall Length: 188.4
Overall Width: 75.2
Overall Height: 69.3
Wheelbase: 109.8
Ground Clearance: Gas 8.1 / Hybrid 7.3
Seating Capacity: 5 or 7 passengers
Wheels: 17- or 19-inch wheels

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at Edmunds.com

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