• Dec 6, 2008


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.

[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.



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  • 42 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Even though GM has 4 similar CUVs(Traverse,Acadia,Outlook, Enclave) none of them is remotely as good as the Highlander.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Unless you need third row space and cargo volume behind the third row.
        The Highlander is a great 5-passenger crossover.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Still doesn't make up for styling reminiscent of the last generation Hyundai Santa Fe. What's worse is the prestigous Land Cruiser shares a very similar look.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is the even drearier version of the already dreary car that we get in Japan
      • 6 Years Ago
      0-60 in 10 seconds isn't bad at all. My SRT-4 (which is heavily modded) will run the quarter in the 11's and does 0-60 in under five seconds. However, unless I'm at the strip or need to get around someone, chances are my usual acceleration speeds put my 0-60 in 10 seconds or more.
      • 6 Years Ago
      how the hell is this economical?

      Look at some of the european mid-size SUV's.... the BMW X535d or X335d are a good example.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Quite a nice deal for the price. Performance is quite adequate for a family vehicle. No one is going to go racing in it anyway.
      • 6 Years Ago
      25k for a nice large SUV like that, it's a bargain!!!

      Yeah gas prices are low, but people also have less money so I doubt people will return to buying huge cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The EPA says your 2002 CR-V (and I'm assuming FWD) gets 23 combined. So you would likely get ~29 "easy" in the Highlander, if their conversions between the new and old ratings are accurate.
        • 6 Years Ago
        pshhhh.. 22 combined? My 2002 Honda CR-V gets almost 30 mpg easily! Also, it's more reliable than that crap Camry I had a few years before that... 256,000 km's (Canadian) and no problems so far.. just did regular dealer suggested maintenance and checks:-)
        • 6 Years Ago
        260k and you're still on the original rear drive shaft?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Seems like a rip off when you can walk into any GM dealer and get a $44K SUV like an Acadia or an H3 with all of the discounts for $25K. Now that's a bargain!
      • 6 Years Ago
      All this rubbish about 0-60 in 9.7 beeing to damn slow. Please shut it.

      Probably 75% of the cars sold in Europe do 0-62 around 10-12 seconds which is enough for normal driving.
      Also more then enough for merging and overtaking on the highway, and considering speed limits are higher here then in the US it's good enough for the US.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's great, but doesn't the large displacement put a strain on the engine and its power & torque output potentials? Why not use a 2.7 L V6?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Toyota should have just offered the 3.291 axle ratio (with front drive) keeping the V6 (instead of 3.478)

        The Highlander didn't need a big 4.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hear Toyota is about to resurrect the four-cylinder 4Runner also. It must be hard to strategize these things when gas prices are so volatile.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A more basic 4Runner would be cool. Toyota needs a REAL four-wheel drive vehicle smaller than just about everything they have right now. The FJ cruiser is still HUGE. I really dug my friend's old 80's 4Runner...durable as hell, small and the roof was removable. Something like a wrangler but with better gas mileage.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Any info on a four-cylinder Toyota Tacoma crew cab? That would be nice.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Toyota should upgrade the transmission in the 4Runner.
        Where is the 6 speed auto.

        If they were going to put the 2.5/2.7 in the 4Runner, it better have the 8 speed auto behind it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think the reality is car makers need to plan on decisions made today will hit the market with $200 oil. Anything less than that is a bonus - what is happening right now is a fluke.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Whats the rational for this when there is the Venza around?

      Still, bravo to Toyota for adapting to the rise in gas prices. But it seems to me that they're slicing the CUV market into too many bits and pieces with all the models they're offering.
        • 6 Years Ago
        While they definitely seem to overlap an awful lot, I think the Venza and Highlander mostly differ in the demographic they're going after. That is, the Highlander mostly goes for people who want an "SUV", and it's interior and exterior have a much more SUV-esque look to them. The Venza seems to to go for a more luxurious feel with no real pretense of SUVness.

        I honestly think they won't be cross shopped as much as the specsheets would lead you to believe. The Venza is basically going for those Ford Edge, Murano, etc. shoppers. The Highlander seems to go more after SUV shoppers who want better mileage and car-like handling. Whereas on the Venza they kind of drop the pretense of being an SUV and lower the rear loading height, and eve put those massive rims on to kinda hide the higher ride height.
        Either way I think they're much better differentiated than say, a GMC Acadia and Chevy Traverse are.

        And most of all, I'm sure they're well differentiated because I've never once considered buying a Highlander but I'd be happy to buy a Venza if I had the cash-and I'd say it's mostly because I don't like the Highlander's faux-SUV look, while I LOVE the Venza's interior and most of it's exterior (hate that stupid grill but those are usually easy to replace).

        I actually think the Venza and RX350 overlap a lot more in demographics, but I'm sure the next-gen RX is going to pack a whole bunch of crazy features to put it more securely back on top. Because right now far as I can tell, once you've loaded up one package onto a Venza it's basically a much cheaper RX that's just missing heated/cooled seats. Heck, the Venza actually has the newer 6-speed automatic while the RX is still sitting there with a 5-speed, and it also has those new automatic high-beams and much larger rims than the even the optional RX wheels. And it's $7000+ cheaper when equipped virtually the same. Kind of a problem for Lexus dealers until the 2010 RX gets here since I don't see that many people wanting to pay $7000 to get heated seats.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Probably CAFE. They make a few of these and it'll help lower their average.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My father in law has one. Drove it last night, although with the 6 cylinder. What I had heard from people here about Toyota was dead on. Its a nice car, handles well, comfortable, but just nothing special and frankly a bit boring.
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