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2011 Toyota Highlander: The complete SUV
The 2011 Highlander has just been launched in New Zealand and it's designed to suit the broad demands of local drivers.
Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell said the 2011 Highlander is the complete SUV.
"Highlander drives and handles like a car, has the space and convenience of a station wagon, and the ground clearance and 4WD capability to tackle off-road conditions.
"It's like four vehicles in one.
"The 2011 Highlander's style, versatility, power, fuel economy and high level of standard features - along with the choice of 2WD or 4WD - let us satisfy New Zealand's demand for a truly flexible vehicle."
It is a vehicle with a level of versatility, innovation and technology that enables it to cross demographic boundaries between buyers of SUVs, passenger cars and minivans.
Mr Prangnell said the 2011 Highlander will hold special appeal for families who have outgrown the traditional sedan, but do not see themselves as people-mover buyers.
These buyers do not base their purchasing decision solely on the ability to go off-road but focus on the vehicle's ability to cover all of their needs - a larger vehicle, lifestyle appropriate, versatile and safe.
Highlander's bold new styling cues evoke the classic sturdiness of an SUV, while being the ideal body size for modern life - not too big, not too small.
The 2011 Highlander has the choice of two drive trains and two equipment grades. There are 2WD and 4WD entry level models, plus the flagship 4WD Limited. All models have seating for up to seven.
DRIVE / HANDLING
Based on a car-like chassis, the 2011 Highlander drives smoothly, like a high quality sedan. Extensive sound-proofing and engine noise reduction makes it peaceful and quiet inside.
Highlander's 3.5 litre quad cam V6 petrol engine delivers 201kW of power and 337Nm of torque via a five-speed automatic transmission with sequential manual-style gear selection.
The sophisticated transmission can judge if the vehicle is travelling up or downhill and hold gears accordingly to provide better acceleration uphill and increased engine braking downhill.
As in the Aurion sedan, this engine offers impressive acceleration, with smooth and responsive power.
At the same time, the 2011 Highlander uses just 11.0 litres of fuel per 100km for the 2WD model and only 11.6L/100km for the 4WD versions.
The 2011 Highlander's Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system gives a light steering response for easy parking at low speeds, and a solid feel at higher speeds for confident driving on the open road.
An Anti-lock System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) is standard, as is steering assisted Vehicle Stability Control Plus (VSC+) and Traction Control (TRC).
The 2011 Highlander's enhanced VSC system helps to ensure stability by automatically adjusting engine output and braking force at each wheel while providing steering assistance in the appropriate direction through the EPS system.
All of these features are enhanced by the 2011 Highlander's large wheels and tyres, 17 inch alloy wheels on the entry level models and 19" on the 4WD Limited.
SPACE / CONVENIENCE
The 2011 Highlander was designed to combine wagon versatility with passenger car convenience and comfort features.
Unlike a traditional station wagon, the 2011 Highlander has a spacious, refined interior that is smart and sophisticated, as well as practical, flexible and versatile.
The passenger compartment is open and airy, providing more space for passengers - including between each row of seats.
The middle seat in the second row can be easily removed, enabling the two remaining seats to become captain's chairs.
When not in use, the centre seat can be replaced with a removable tray, featuring two cup holders and a lidded storage compartment. This stows under the front centre console when not required.
The second and third row seats fold flat to provide more luggage space - up to 2,700 litres.
Second row seats in the 4WD Limited model have a one-touch, remote release system for easy conversion to luggage space.
The third row seats in all models are split 50/50, giving customers the flexibility to carry cargo, passengers, or both.
The 4WD Limited model has perforated leather seat trim, while the entry level models have quality fabric seat coverings.
The Limited model has power front seat adjustment with front seat heaters and variable seat cushion length adjustment for the driver's seat.
All 2011 Highlander models feature an MP3/WMA compatible CD player with 3.5mm audio input jack, USB jack and Bluetooth handsfree capability, plus six speakers.
The Bluetooth system allows you make and receive telephone calls safely while on the road, as well as audio streaming from compatible Bluetooth devices.
The 4WD Limited model has a six CD changer with a colour LCD display.
Entry level models have manual front air conditioning, while the 4WD Limited has a dual-zone front climate control system with push button controls. It also has a rear climate control system with independent controls and an LCD screen.
All Highlander models have a multi-information display with a 3.5 inch colour screen that displays the view from the reversing camera, trip computer and, on the 4WD Limited, incorporates climate control information.
The 2011 Highlander has a glass hatch in the tailgate for easy access to the luggage area. The versatile, two-piece tailgate allows the glass hatch to be opened with, or independent from, the main rear door.
For New Zealand's more adventurous drivers, the 2011 Highlander is a very capable off-road vehicle.
The full-time 4WD system's centre differential provides a 50/50 torque split between the front and rear axles.
Traction Control (TRC) electronically controls torque distribution using electronics instead of a mechanical system to provide more precise and smooth traction, even when the accelerator is used aggressively.
The 2011 Highlander is also equipped with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and, in 4WD models, Downhill Assist Control (DAC) for slippery off-road conditions.
HAC is designed to help stop the vehicle from rolling backwards when starting off up a steep hill. By providing braking pressure to all four wheels for approximately two seconds, it suppresses rollback for a smooth start.
DAC helps to control speed downhill when engine braking alone is not sufficient. It works to maintain a constant speed and helps to prevent wheel lock for improved steering control.
All 2011 Highlander models have a SNOW function which minimises wheelspin for improved traction when driving on slippery surfaces. When pressed, the snow function will start the car from standstill in second gear and adjust the engine response.
Perfectly suited for towing the boat or trailer, Highlander has a 2,000kg braked towing capacity.