Highlander, Toyota’s largest hybrid SUV, is to go on sale in the UK and Western Europe for the first time, from early 2021. It will be offered exclusively with a full hybrid powertrain and will extend Toyota’s hybrid SUV line-up in the region, joining the established D-segment RAV4 and C-segment C-HR and the new B-segment Yaris Cross that will also be introduced next year.
The Highlander is built on Toyota’s GA-K platform, and the company says it brings together the Toyota SUV qualities of comfort, drivability and safety with a fuel and emissions-efficient hybrid powertrain, intelligent, all-wheel drive, a flexible interior and a two-tonne towing capacity.
The Highlander measures 4,950mm long and is fitted with striking 20-inch alloy wheels, designed to create “an urban SUV look that is sleek, dynamic and sophisticated, matched with the power, durability and rugged appeal of a versatile AWD vehicle”.
A kick-sensor allows hands-free access to the 658-litre luggage area. There’s also underfloor storage space, while fully flat-folding the third and second row seats can bring the load capacity up to 1,909 litres.
Premium equipment features will include a multimedia system, satellite navigation, head-up display, wireless phone charging, smartphone connection via Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto, ventilated front seats and a digital rear-view mirror that provides a wide image unobscured by rear passengers or headrests. Details of UK specifications and pricing will be announced nearer the time of launch.
Highlander’s fourth generation full hybrid powertrain features a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with front and rear electric motors. The rear motor provides the vehicle’s AWD-i intelligent all-wheel drive. A high-voltage nickel-metal hydride battery is located beneath the second row seats.
Total system power is 241bhp and WLTP combined cycle CO2 emissions are 146g/km with 42.8mpg fuel consumption. This gives the hybrid Highlander the best balance of power and CO2 emissions in its segment.
The driver can use the vehicle’s Drive Mode Select system to switch between Eco, Normal, Sport and Trail modes. Each of these can also be used when Highlander is running its separately switchable EV all-electric mode.
Toyota says that the GA-K platform allows for a lightweight and highly rigid body shell and a low centre of gravity, giving the SUV nimble handling and comfortable motorway cruising performance.
Noise reduction measures to maintain a quiet cabin environment include an acoustic windscreen, silencers in the roof, dashboard and floor, and liners in the wheel arches and load space.
The new Highlander is equipped with the latest Toyota Safety Sense package of active safety and driver assistance systems. These include a Pre-Collision System with active steer assist, to provide further collision avoidance support. The PCS can also detect pedestrians in the vehicle’s path by both and day and night, and bicycle riders in daylight. Other features include full-range Adaptive Cruise Control with Road Sign Assist, Lane Departure Alert and Lane Tracing Assist, and Automatic High Beam.