TORRANCE, CA – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc., unveiled the all-new next-generation Highlander and Highlander Hybrid mid-size sport/utility vehicles (SUV) at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show. The 2008 Highlander is significantly larger, roomier and more powerful than the vehicle it replaces. Yet, its fuel efficiency will be virtually unchanged. It is noticeably quieter, smarter, with improved versatility and ride comfort. It will offer the highest level of standard safety equipment in a segment where safety is at the top of purchase considerations. And, it's all wrapped in a package designed for buyers who want to stand out and make a statement. Highlander will provide a segment-leading total of seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag and roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all three rows and Toyota's STAR safety system, featuring anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, and for the first time, enhanced vehicle stability control with electronic power steering. On all models except base models, Highlander will provide a stand-alone backup camera with a multi-information screen, not tied to a navigation system. And, Highlander will be the first Toyota division vehicle to feature both active head restraints and a new hood and fender system designed to crumple on impact with a pedestrian. Highlander rides on an all-new chassis derived from the current Camry and Avalon. It is nearly four inches longer and three inches wider, with one inch more ground clearance and three inches of additional wheelbase. Highlander's second-row features captain's chairs with armrests that, if needed, can be converted to a bench seat for three passengers. A "Center Stow" seat, when not in use, is hidden in a compartment under the front center console. In its place, passengers can easily snap in the provided center stow center console or choose to leave the area open as a walk-through to the third row. The second row also slides forward and back 4.7 inches and reclines. Standard features include a third-row bench seat with foldable headrests for a flat rear cargo area, a rear glass hatch for quick access to the back (optional on base grades), and Smart Start and Entry for Limited and all hybrid models. When Highlander arrives in July, it will be offered in Base, Sport, and Limited grades. All three grades will be powered by a new 3.5L V-6 that delivers 270 horsepower – a 55 horsepower gain over the previous generation's 3.3L engine. Two months later, the all-new Highlander Hybrid will arrive at dealerships. Offered in both Base and Limited grades, all Highlander hybrids will feature Toyota's VDIM stability system, which integrates full-time four-wheel drive with intelligence, electronic brake, and throttle control with electronically controlled active steering. Highlander's Hybrid Synergy Drive system has been upgraded and refined for 2008 for both power and economy. The new Highlander gained about 500 lbs. and received body and chassis reinforcement for achieving best-in-class crash ratings. Highlander Hybrid can achieve up to 31 city / 27 highway mpg. Standard-equipped comfort and convenience features include 19-inch alloy wheels on both Sport and Limited gas models and both hybrid models.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials