The Toyota Highlander continues to be the best-selling car-based midsize SUV since its launch in large part because it provides such a high degree of safety and ride comfort. Highlander is one of six sport-utility vehicles offered by Toyota (including the new Highlander Hybrid), and all are equipped with the STAR SAFETY SYSTEMâ„¢ that helps provide vehicle control from an array of advanced dynamic handling technology.
The Highlander is available in two-row and three-row models with a choice between two engines, each available with either front-wheel drive or full-time four-wheel drive.
The STAR SAFETY SYSTEM™ includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and traction control (TRAC), an anti-lock brake system (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Four-channel, four-sensor ABS helps to prevent the wheels from locking during severe braking conditions, while EBD distributes proper brake force between the front and rear wheels according to driving conditions.
Brake Assist is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking and, if the driver has not stepped firmly enough on the brake pedal to engage the ABS, the system supplements the applied braking power until pedal pressure is released.
Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) helps maintain direction during cornering by manipulating engine torque and individual wheel-braking influence when it detects tire slippage. The system’s TRAC feature helps reduce tire slippage during acceleration.
"There’s no question that Highlander is a leader, and its popularity is testament to the importance that family vehicle buyers especially put on safety," said Jim Lentz, Toyota Division senior vice president and general manager.
Highlander is available with a four-wheel drive system that distributes engine power 50/50 front-to-rear, with TRAC controlling potential slippage at any wheel. This type of 4WD system helps to handle wet and slippery road conditions with confidence. The tire pressure monitor system alerts the driver with an indicator light if there is a significant loss of tire pressure, reducing the possibility of loss of handling and stability or excessive tire wear.
Freedom of Choice
The Highlander’s standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 155 horsepower, and the available 3.3-liter V6 produces 215 horsepower and 222 lb.-ft. of torque. The two-wheel drive, four-cylinder Highlander provides EPA estimated city and highway fuel mileage ratings comparable to some smaller SUVs — 22/27 mpg.
Teamed to a five-speed automatic transmission with "snow" mode throttle-control start, the V6 yields powerful acceleration and passing performance. The Highlander V6 also delivers admirable fuel efficiency, with EPA city/highway fuel economy estimated ratings of 19/25 mpg with two-wheel drive and 18/24 mpg with four-wheel drive. An electronic throttle control provides highly precise engine response, and the Active Control Engine Mount helps to reduce vibrations when idling.
Third Row Seating Expands Versatility
Highlander combines a roomy and comfortable cabin with generous cargo space and versatility. Cargo volume behind the second-row seat measures 39.7 cubic feet, which more than doubles to 80.6 cubic feet of space with the standard 60/40 split second-row seat folded. The cargo area provides a 12-volt accessory power outlet.Models with a third row seat can accommodate two additional passengers. The seat provides 30.2 inches of legroom plus a four-step reclining feature. When not in use, the seat can be easily folded flat without removing the headrests. Privacy glass, a rear heater system, and additional cupholders are standard on models with third row seating. "Walk-in" steps and a second-row sliding seat make it easy to enter and exit the third row seat. Second-row passengers on models with third row seating are assured of comfort thanks to 36.4 inches of legroom and a seven-step reclining feature that offers 14 degrees of total recline. The seats can also slide forward nearly five inches. In addition, when there are only two second row passengers, there is a fold-down center armrest featuring two adjustable cupholders.
An optional rear-seat DVD entertainment center that plays movies and audio CDs can also be connected to video game players for second- and third-row occupants. A rear seat audio system, two wireless headphones, a 115-volt AC power outlet and RCA input jacks are included in the DVD entertainment system.
Safety Systems for Peace of Mind
Along with its STAR SAFETY SYSTEM? of dynamic handling technology, Highlander provides an impressive array of passive safety, including three-point seatbelts and headrests for all seating positions. The front seats are designed to help reduce the possibility of whiplash-type injuries, and the front seatbelts include pretensioners and force limiters. The second-row seat incorporates height-adjustable headrests, and models equipped with the third-row seat include these, as well.
The driver and passenger advanced front airbags inflate according to collision severity. A front seat passenger sensor is designed to determine if there is a person in the seat as well as the person’s weight category to determine whether the airbag should inflate, and the correct inflation power. The optional front-seat-mounted side airbags include first and second row side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor.
The second-row seat is equipped with a Child Restraint LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) that provides top tether anchors for all three seating positions and lower anchors for outboard seating positions.
Comfortable, Easy to Drive and Well Equipped
Highlander is based on a unibody platform with four-wheel independent suspension. This type of construction provides a smooth, quiet ride like that expected in a high-quality passenger car. The higher ride height provides a commanding view of the road, while a tight 37.4-foot turning circle makes Highlander easy to maneuver.
The Highlander interior offers the option of Ivory or Ash (gray) leather seat trim on the standard and Limited model grades. An available leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter handle add to the refined look, and the steering wheel features controls for the audio system when ordered in conjunction with one of the JBL premium audio options. The steering wheel controls are easy to use, allowing the driver to select system mode, radio stations or CD tracks, and to adjust volume without averting eyes from the road.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning with a cabin air filter, UV-reduction glass, power windows and door locks, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, front variable intermittent windshield wipers, rear window electric defogger and intermittent window wiper, and a deluxe 3-in-1 AM/FM/ETR cassette/CD sound system with six speakers.
For added versatility, all Highlander models also include as standard equipment roof rails with crossbars, a remote keyless entry system and a rear tonneau cover.
Toyota’s attention to real-life vehicle usage shows in thoughtful touches such as multiple interior storage compartments, an illuminated entry system and a full-size spare tire located under the vehicle to help maximize interior cargo room.
Sixteen-inch six-spoke aluminum alloy wheels with a high gloss finish are available on the standard grade model. Standard 17-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels in the Limited model add to its refined appearance and also enhance handling response.
Highlander Limited models add a taste of luxury and refinement. Standard features include an automatic climate control system with outside temperature gauge, an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar, a four-way power passenger seat, leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls, a JBL premium 3-in-1 audio system with eight speakers, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels (including a full-size aluminum spare wheel), rear privacy glass, a HomeLink® universal remote control system, heated exterior mirrors, anti-theft system with engine immobilizer, burled maple wood-grain style interior trim, and a leather-trimmed shift handle.
Additional features on Limited models include fog lights, door scuff plates and an auto-dimming mirror with integrated electronic compass. A leather-trim seat package and heated front seats are also available. Limited models can be equipped with an optional navigation system offering high-speed processing and integrated with a JBL premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer.
The four-cylinder Highlander can tow a 1,500-pound trailer, or up to 3,000 pounds with the available towing prep package. The V6 models provide a standard 2,000-pound towing capacity, which also is increased to 3,500 pounds with the available towing prep package. Toyota dealers offer a wide selection of accessories to enhance comfort and versatility in the Highlander.