Since 2001, few comparable vehicles have outsold the increasingly popular Toyota Highlander. Referred to as the Toyota Kluger outside of the United States, the Highlander is considered a midsized crossover sport utility vehicle, meaning it has characteristics of both SUVs and minivans. As one of the first crossover vehicles made available, the Highlander still compares well to others in its class. Despite its SUV-like size, the Highlander has managed to maintain excellent fuel efficiency and a handling ability that rivals many smaller vehicles. While the Highlander model is still fairly young, Toyota recently reinvented their vehicle and even introduced a hybrid version.
- Unlike many other vehicles during the same period of time, the Toyota Highlander remained fairly stable from 2001-2007. The Highlander’s body was mostly unchanged during this time period, though its engine received some upgrades and consumers were given the option of adding a third row seat. Here’s a look at some of the major changes the Highlander has undergone:
- 2001 – Original Highlander introduced in Base and Limited models.
- 2002-2003 – Added an integrated center console
- 2004 – More powerful 3.3L V6 engine. Third row seating options made available.
- 2005 – New standard features such as roof rack with crossbars and cargo cover.
- 2006 – Sport model introduced. Highlander Hybrid made available in Basic and Limited editions.
- 2007 – Revised headlights and other cosmetic changes.
For 2008-2009 models, the Toyota Highlander received a major face-lift. Targeted more at families than previous models, the Highlander is now significantly larger and more powerful. The three basic types remain Basic, Limited, and Sport. Every Highlander now features third row seating, while the Sport and Limited editions receive a standard rear-view camera. As for the engine, the Highlander now sports a powerful 270-horsepower 3.5 liter V6 engine. Toyota has also made a more fuel efficient 4 cylinder engine available, but only on the two-wheel-drive base version. Some other new options for the Highlander also include leather seats, heated seats, a DVD entertainment system, and touch-screen navigation. Although there were never any reported issues, some 90,000 2008 Toyota Highlanders were recalled due to issues with rear seat belts securing a rear facing child’s seat.
Looking to satisfy those in need of an SUV with even better fuel efficiency than the Highlander, Toyota rolled out a Highlander Hybrid edition in 2006. With real world gas mileage in the twenties, it truly offers the best of both worlds. Paired with a 3.3L V6 gasoline engine, the Highlander Hybrid doesn’t suffer from slow acceleration, poor top speeds, or other problems that plague electric-only cars. In 2008, the Highlander Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid Limited received the same improvements as the non-hybrid model. Despite its larger size and weight, the 2008 Highlander Hybrid was able to maintain its great gas mileage. Newest models even allow the vehicle to run solely on electricity for periods of time.
Current Colors Available
- Blizzard Pearl
- Blue Streak Metallic
- Classic Silver Metallic
- Cypress Pearl
- Iced Amethyst Mica (Hybrid Models Only)
- Magnetic Gray Metallic
- Salsa Red Pearl
- Sandy Beach Metallic
- Wave Line Pearl