Thursday, February 8, 2007

Toyota Takes Wraps Off the '08 Highlander

CHICAGO — Toyota upped the ante with its redesigned 2008 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid models on Wednesday, showcasing an SUV that is considerably larger, roomier and more powerful than the outgoing model. The new Highlander, which has a chassis derived from the Camry and Avalon, hits showrooms in July, and the Highlander Hybrid will follow in September.

2008 toyota highlander hybrid2008 toyota highlander hybrid 22008 toyota highlander hybrid 3Toyota said all trim levels of the Highlander will be powered by a new 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, a gain of 55 horses over the previous 3.3-liter engine. The new 3.5-liter V6 delivers 249 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

The Highlander Hybrid will be equipped with a 3.3-liter V6 that the automaker said has 270 net hp. Torque numbers were not available for the hybrid powertrain. It is mated to a CVT transmission. Despite the upgrades in size and performance, Toyota says it was able to maintain the Highlander Hybrid's fuel economy of 31 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

Toyota said the Highlander has been stretched significantly. It is nearly 4 inches longer and 3 inches wider, with an inch more ground clearance and 3 inches of additional wheelbase versus the outgoing model. It is also 500 pounds heavier. Designers say they intentionally moved away from "traditional SUV styling cues" in the redesign of the Highlander, offering a vehicle with more sculpted lines. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels will be standard on Sport and Limited gas models and on the two hybrid models, Base and Limited.

The Japanese automaker noted that the Highlander will have a segment-leading total of seven airbags, including driver's knee airbags and roll-sensing side curtain airbags that protect outboard passengers in all three rows.

In the cabin, the Highlander's second row is equipped with captain's chairs with armrests that can be converted to a bench seat for three passengers. The second row slides forward and back 4.7 inches and reclines. All models except for the base models will have a stand-alone backup camera not tied to a navigation system.

Options will include a JBL audio system with six-disc changer and nine speakers with Bluetooth, leather seat trim and heated seats, and a tow package with a 5,000-pound maximum towing capacity. The third-row seat can also be deleted.

Prices have not yet been announced on Highlander or Highlander Hybrid.

© Source: article on insideline
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