Toyota's revamped Highlander has been trickling onto dealer lots for about a month now, and Toyota's released details of the new hybrid version of the thoroughly improved midsize CUV. There are two trim levels available: base and Limited. Both will have the 3.3 liter V6 along with the 4WD-i system kicking out 270 horsepower. There are a couple different modes now, like ECON and EV, which should boost fuel economy in some cases.

There are now three rows of seats available, with a trick center position for the second row seats that can hide away. The Highlander has grown a lot, adding four inches in length, and three in width and height, too. Limiteds add nearly full-boat details to an already well-equipped base model. Things such as leather seats, six-disc changer, a power hatch, third-row bench, and more become part of the deal. Even with a newly designed vehicle carrying more standard equipment, the base model has seen a $190 price drop, to $33,700. If you must have all the goodies, the Limited increases in price by $3400, ringing up a bill of at least $39,950. The last Highlander Hybrid we had in the Autoblog Garage was $37,000, and failed to feel like such an expensive vehicle. The new Highlander Hybrid's appearance and equipment should help it pull off the crushing weight of its sticker price.

press release after the jump

[Source: Toyota via The Car Blog]

Toyota Announces Prices For 2008 Highlander Hybrid
08/20/2007 Torrance, CA

August 20, 2007 - Torrance, CA - Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., announced manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) today for the all-new 2008 Highlander Hybrid.

A best-in-class fuel economy and emissions leader, Highlander Hybrid with Hybrid Synergy Drive™ has been enhanced for power, roominess and economy in 2008. It is noticeably quieter, larger and smarter, with significantly improved versatility and ride comfort. The 2008 Highlander Hybrid will have one of the most comprehensive lists of standard safety features in the mid-size SUV class where safety is at the top of purchase considerations.

Highlander Hybrid will be offered in Base and Limited grades, powered by a 3.3-liter V6 with four-wheel drive with intelligence (4WD-i) that delivers an impressive 270 horsepower. Newly-added, technological innovation features such as an EV Mode, ECON Mode and Hybrid System Indicator assist the driver to enhance fuel economy and driving experience.

EV Mode allows the driver to operate the Highlander Hybrid in electric mode for a limited distance at low speeds, or in stop-and-go driving conditions. ECON Mode activates a throttle-control program that smoothes out throttle response; thereby, limiting excessive acceleration. A Hybrid System Indicator provides the driver with a visual guideline for optimizing fuel economy.

Highlander Hybrid has an impressive list of standard safety features. It features seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag and roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all three rows in addition to active headrests for the driver and front passenger and Direct Tire Pressure Monitor System.

As with all Toyota SUVs for the last three years, Highlander Hybrid will provide Toyota's STAR™ Safety system with Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management, Vehicle Stability Control, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist as standard equipment.

Highlander Hybrid rides on an all-new chassis derived from the current Camry and Avalon. It is nearly four inches longer, three inches wider, and has three inches of additional wheelbase than the Highlander it replaces. Key standard equipment includes AM/FM/CD with six speakers, two rows of fabric-trimmed seats, and a leather-trimmed tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls.

Highlander Hybrid's flexible second-row seating features captain's chairs with armrests that 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 put in the Center Stow™ 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.

Key standard equipment on the Limited model includes: three rows of leather-trimmed seats, multi-stage heated front seats, rear glass hatch, power rear door, AM/FM/six-disc in-dash CD changer , nineteen-inch alloy wheels, puddle lamps on outside mirrors, fog lamps and a third-row bench seat with foldable headrests for a flat rear cargo area.

A stand-alone backup camera with a 3.5-inch LCD multi-information screen, not tied to a navigation system, along with Smart Key System with Push Button Start are standard equipment on both grades.

With new standard equipment and convenience features, the 2008 Highlander Hybrid base grade 4WD-i model will carry an MSRP of $33,700, a decrease of $190, or 0.6 percent over the previous generation comparably-equipped Highlander Hybrid.

The well-equipped Limited grade 4WD i-model will carry a base MSRP of $39,950, an increase of $3,400 or 9.3 percent.

The Highlander Hybrid will arrive in dealerships in early October.


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