Toyota Highlander Hybrid Available this Spring

Toyota chooses June for the official launch date of its important Highlander Hybrid SUV.

Published: 01-Apr-2005

Do you want a fuel conscious, clean burning gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, but the reality of kids and an active lifestyle mean that a midsize sport utility is more ideal than the compact models now available?

You're hardly alone, which is why Toyota's Lexus division is in the process of launching its new RX 400h SUV, featuring a gasoline-powered 3.3-litre V6 and a high-torque electric drive motor-generator drivetrain that results in an overall output of 268-horsepower for the performance of a V8 with the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder compact car.

But not everyone can afford a Lexus, which is why Toyota is fitting the Hybrid Synergy Drive system to the Highlander crossover SUV, which shares its general architecture with the RX.

The Highlander Hybrid will become the automaker's first 7-occupant HEV when it arrives in June, joining the Prius 5-door liftback under the Toyota nameplate, and in so doing give Toyota the distinction of the only brand to offer both car and SUV hybrids.

While the Highlander Hybrid will be available with front-wheel drive in base trim, a unique all-wheel drive system incorporates a separate 50 kw electric motor in the rear producing an additional 96 lb-ft of torque on demand.

Look for the Highlander Hybrid to increase Toyota's lead in hybrid-electric vehicles, with more Toyota and Lexus vehicles to follow shortly thereafter.

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