The second-generation 2008 Highlander Hybrid gas/electric SUV is larger than before and has an all-electric mode that can be used for limited travel distances. Five- and seven-seat models are available, and Base and Limited trims are offered. The 2008 Highlander Hybrid hits dealerships in September 2007.
The 2008 Highlander Hybrid is sleeker than its predecessor and features smooth sides. It retains the upright D-pillar of the prior model and a power liftgate is available. Standard wheels measure 19 inches in diameter.
Styling differences between the gas-only Highlander and the Highlander Hybrid are minimal; the hybrid has different grille and taillight styling and unique hybrid badges. The Highlander Hybrid has 7.3 inches of ground clearance.
The Highlander Hybrid has front bucket seats, and sliding and reclining second-row captain's chairs that can be configured to handle three people with Toyota's Center Stow seat. The Center Stow seat provides decent comfort and can be removed when not needed. Seven-seat Highlanders have a two-person third-row seat that can fold flat into the floor.
Smart Start and Entry keyless access is standard. Available features include a navigation system, rear-seat entertainment system with a flip-down 9-inch screen, leather-covered seats and a six-CD JBL stereo.
Under the Hood
The Highlander Hybrid's gas/electric powertrain makes 270 horsepower and includes a 3.3-liter V-6 engine. All hybrids have a continuously variable automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. The hybrid has an EV mode that allows it to travel at slow speeds for about 5 miles on battery power alone, according to Toyota.
Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags for all three rows of seats, a knee airbag for the driver, active head restraints and an electronic stability system are standard. A rearview camera is optional.
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