Offered in front- and all-wheel-drive form, the Toyota Highlander crossover comes with a four-cylinder or V-6 engine. The Highlander can seat up to seven people in three rows of seats, and competitors include the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot.
A hybrid version of the Highlander is offered, and it features styling changes to differentiate it from the non-hybrid model.
(Skip to details on the: Highlander Hybrid)
New for 2013
A new Highlander Plus trim level joins the lineup for 2013. In addition to the base Highlander's features it adds a backup camera, lift-up rear glass window, fog lights, black roof rails, easy-clean fabric upholstery and a Display Audio system.
Chrome accents adorn the rocker panels, and base and SE trims have 17-inch alloy wheels. The Limited trim level adds 19-inch wheels and chrome roof rails.
At 188.4 inches long, the Highlander is one of the smaller three-row crossovers on the market. Exterior features include:
- Standard variable intermittent windshield wipers
- Optional moonroof
- Optional power liftgate
A third-row seat is standard, and it folds into the floor in a 50/50 split. The second-row bench features a removable center seat that stows in a compartment below the front-seat center console. Without it, the second row converts into two captain's chairs with a center aisle or a center console (also removable). Both seats can recline and adjust forward and back, and the passenger-side seat has a walk-in feature for easier third-row access.
Fold the second and third rows, and the Highlander's 95.4 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume is class-competitive. With the second and third rows up, however, there's just 10.3 cubic feet of cargo volume — small for its class. Other interior features include:
- Standard fabric upholstery; leather optional
- Standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel
- Standard air conditioning; optional three-zone automatic air conditioning
- Standard CD stereo with MP3 jack
- Optional touch-screen navigation system
- Optional rear entertainment system
Under the Hood
A 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, and a 3.5-liter V-6 is optional. Four-cylinder models come with front-wheel drive, but if you get the V-6 engine you can have front- or all-wheel drive. Mechanical features include:
- Four-cylinder makes 187 horsepower and 186 pounds-feet of torque
- V-6 makes 270 hp and 248 pounds-feet of torque
- Six-speed (four-cylinder) or five-speed (V-6) automatic transmission
Standard safety features include:
- Antilock brakes
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Driver's knee airbag
- Side curtain airbags
- Electronic stability system
- Active front head restraints
A 3.5-liter V-6 underpins the Highlander Hybrid's drivetrain. With the help of an electric motor, the Highlander Hybrid makes a combined 280 hp. Equipped with standard all-wheel drive, the hybrid uses an additional electric motor to power its rear wheels rather than the usual driveshaft coupling in most all-wheel-drive models. The Highlander Hybrid can cruise at low speeds on electric power only. A dashboard EV button allows drivers to maximize the threshold for electric-only propulsion, given a sufficient battery charge.
An electrically variable automatic transmission is standard. A display alerts drivers to which sources of power are being used — the gasoline engine, electric motors or a combination of both — as well as battery charge and overall gas mileage.
The Highlander Hybrid is styled similarly to the non-hybrid Highlander, but several elements — a unique grille and bumper, plus vertical fog lights — aim to differentiate the two. The headlights and taillights are tinted blue as well. For 2013, there's a newly standard navigation system with the Entune multimedia system. Back to top
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