Monday, November 1, 2010
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Toyota Highlander Hybrid moves forward
Toyota has reworked its Highlander Hybrid for the 2011 model year, and for what is essentially a mid-life cycle refresh, the changes are fairly substantial and very worthwhile. There are two models to choose from, the Highlander Hybrid (with available Comfort Package) and Highlander Hybrid Limited.
The biggest change is under the hood, where the 2011 Highlander Hybrid features an enhanced version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain.
Search available options for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
The new 3.5L includes cooled exhaust heat recovery and exhaust gas recirculation systems, which improve cold weather performance in our Canadian winters. Normally, more power equals less fuel economy, but the 2011 Highlander Hybrid actually enjoys a ten-percent improvement in fuel mileage. Other interior refinements throughout the Highlander model range include; All Highlander V6 audio systems now feature a USB input and XM Satellite Radio capability; the four-wheel-drive Highlander V6 is standard equipped with Bluetooth connectivity; both models now come with Toyota’s automatic headlamp system and rear-seat HVAC controls as standard.
As you go up the new model line-up, a new Sport Package for the four-wheel-drive Highlander V6 (non-hybrid) adds a power moon-roof, 19-inch wheels, three-zone independent automatic climate control and leather interior finishes.
At the top, the four-wheel-drive V6 Highlander Limited, now has Bluetooth and a navigation system as standard equipment.
Outside the new Highlander Hybrid, the design changes are subtle, yet effective. If I am being honest, which normally I am, I would have to say of my time spent with the 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid that it was typically Toyota for most part. As impressed with the power as I was, I guess the best compliment I can pay the new Highlander Hybrid is that it didn’t feel like a hybrid. It drove exactly like you’d expect any SUV to drive. If you want a new SUV, and you think it might be time for a hybrid, the new 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is worth a serious look.
To improve cold starts in our Canadian winters, there's a new exhaust heat-recovery system.
Outwardly - that grille, resembling an exposed radiator, or kitchen strainer, has been replaced with a more conventional horizontal chrome-bar piece, integrated with stylishly narrow and protruding headlamps. The lantern-jaw of its predecessor gives way to a chrome trimmed air dam with foglights housed in matte-chrome.
Once optional, now standard - all Highlanders are equipped with 3rd row seating for a capacity of seven passengers. And the third row now splits 50/50 for more versatility when carrying odd-shaped loads. The display features nifty graphics that reward the more frugal driver with feedback on fuel usage and energy regained by regenerative braking.