January 5, 2004
Toyota shows 2005 Highlander Hybrid
Detroit, Michigan – A gas-electric version of the mid-size Toyota Highlander SUV was
unveiled on Sunday.
“The Highlander Hybrid is the world’s first seven-passenger hybrid SUV and marks the
launch of a second all-new hybrid vehicle from the Toyota Division,” said Jim Press,
executive vice president and COO, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc.
Like the four-cylinder Prius gas-electric hybrid, the 3.3-litre V6-equipped
Highlander Hybrid will be powered by a new version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive
powertrain. The system was specifically developed to meet the load-carrying
requirements of a mid-size SUV. The system features a larger-capacity battery that
will deliver nearly double the power of the battery in the Prius. An all-new
high-speed electric motor will operate at twice the speed and deliver more than
twice the power as the motor in the Prius. With combined peak-system power projected
at approximately 270 horsepower, the new system will improve upon the V6
Highlander’s less-than-eight-second zero-to-60 acceleration.
The Highlander Hybrid will come standard-equipped with front-wheel-drive and offer
electric four-wheel-drive with intelligence (4WD-i). Models with 4WD-i are equipped
with front and rear electric motors that will deliver balanced power to all four
wheels, providing instantaneous acceleration.
The exterior styling will be freshened with the addition of a new front grille and
bumper, and rear LED tail lamps. The Highlander Hybrid will also ride on 17-inch
The Highlander Hybrid will feature amenities owners have come to expect in their
mid-size SUV, including standard air conditioning, power windows, mirrors, and door
locks, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, and a deluxe 3-in-1 AM/FM/ETR
cassette/CD sound system with six speakers.
The Highlander Hybrid will feature three rows of seats that will include rear
privacy glass, a rear heater system, and rear seat cupholders.
“The Highlander Hybrid will join the Prius in early 2005, with the Lexus RX hybrid
arriving toward the end of this year,” said Press. “The trio will not only give
consumers a broadband of hybrid-powered choices, it will firmly establish this
important new technology in the hearts and minds of mainstream consumers.”