Click above for our high-res gallery of the 2008 Toyota Highlander

Toyota has just announced pricing on the 2009 Highlander SUV with its new 4-cylinder engine. The latest entry-level model in the Highlander lineup will arrive at the dealership with a base MSRP of $25,705. That figure cleanly undercuts the price of the Highlander V6 FWD ($27,600) and the Highlander Hybrid ($34,700). The new 4-cylinder engine displaces 2.7-liters and is rated at 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. Mated to an all-new 6-speed electronically-controlled automatic, it's enough motivation to get the SUV to 60 mph in a claimed 9.7 seconds, yet still return an EPA estimated 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway (22 MPG combined). For comparison, the Highlander V6 is rated at 18/24 and the Hybrid at 27/25... yes, the new gasoline-fed inline-4 is more efficient than the hybrid on the highway. Look for the new four-cylinder Highlander at Toyota dealers in January.

Related Gallery2008 Toyota Highlander

[Source: The Auto Channel]



TORRANCE, Calif., December 5, 2008: Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., announced manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) today for the 2009 Highlander Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) equipped with an all-new 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. With improved fuel efficiency and performance, and an array of standard convenience and safety features, the new four-cylinder model will carry the lowest MSRP in the Highlander lineup at $25,705, offering buyers an excellent value.

Pricing for Highlander V6 and Hybrid models were previously announced with MSRP for V6 models ranging from $27,600 for the front-wheel-drive to $34,520 for the full-time four-wheel-drive Limited. Highlander Hybrid MSRP ranges from $34,700 for the four-wheel-drive with intelligence base model to $41,020 for the 4WD-i Limited.

Also, six new Extra Value Packages will be offered on Base, Sport and Limited grades containing many of Highlanders most popular stand alone option features at substantial savings. Savings on Extra Value Packages for all three grades range from $300 on Base, up to $1,200 on Sport grades and up to $1,500 on the Limited. Three additional Extra Value Packages will be offered on Highlander Hybrid models with savings of $700 on the Limited and up to $980 on the Base grade.

Toyota's new 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder engine will help make the Highlander mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) one of the best in its segment in the areas of fuel economy, low emissions, performance, and value. It is expected to appeal to value-driven, mid-size SUV buyers seeking these characteristics without the price premium of a V6.

The four-cylinder Highlander will be among the leaders in fuel efficiency in the gas mid-size SUV segment with EPA fuel economy estimates of 27 MPG highway, 20 MPG city and 22 MPG combined. In addition, it will be EPA-rated as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEVII).

Highlander's new four-cylinder powertrain will produce impressive power, while greatly reducing noise and vibration to levels normally expected in a V6 or larger engine. It will generate 187 horsepower at 5,800 RPM and 186 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,100 RPM on regular 87 octane fuel.

The new engine will be mated to an all-new six-speed electronically-controlled automatic overdrive transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) that is one of the lightest and most compact in its class. The new transmission delivers a smooth shifting, remarkably quiet ride that is on par with a V6, and acceleration that is surprisingly quick for a four-cylinder. Internal preliminary 0-60 mph testing was timed at 9.7 seconds, nearly one second quicker than the average four-cylinder mid-size SUV. When equipped with a tow package, the new powerplant will achieve a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

Highlander's new 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine will come standard on the well-equipped Highlander grade two-wheel-drive model with two rows of seats, contributing to its all-around excellent value. The two rows of seating features an innovative and versatile 40/20/40 second row seat with the industry's first Center Stow(TM) seat or Center Stow(TM) center console.

Adding to the four-cylinder Highlander's appeal is an array of standard convenience features that include air conditioning; an AM/FM/CD audio system with six-speakers; front seats with height-adjustable active head rests and eight-way adjustable driver's seat; power door locks and windows with driver's window jam protection and auto-up/down feature; cruise control; a multi-function keyless entry system; UV-reduction windshield and rear privacy glass; a digital clock; dual sun visors with vanity mirrors and sliding extensions; a conversation mirror; an illuminated entry system; manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel; scheduled maintenance indicator light; full-size spare tire; and much more.

All Highlanders are equipped with one of the most comprehensive list of standard safety features in its class and include the Toyota Star Safety(TM) system (with enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, Brake Assist, and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), driver and passenger active headrests, a direct tire pressure monitor system, and seven airbags (including dual front, side and curtain roll sensing, and a driver knee airbag).

The 2009 Highlander four-cylinder will begin arriving at Toyota dealers in January 2009.