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The Toyota Highlander, New Zealand’s ultimate family SUV, has had a premium make-over for 2017, with a modern, lean exterior that complements the dramatic powertrain and safety upgrades across the range.
Visually, a new trapezoidal grille with silver accents is flanked by updated halogen headlights and LED daytime running lights. There are fresh 18-inch alloy wheel designs on the GX and GXL (as well as a new power back door with glass hatch for the latter) and 19-inch alloys for the range-topping Limited model. All models gain new LED tail lamps while the Limited receives additional chrome garnishes at the rear and chrome accents in the front.
Under the bonnet, the Highlander is the first Toyota to adopt the advanced 2GR-FKS 3.5 litre V6 engine producing significant gains in power and torque – increase of 17kW (to 218kW) and 13Nm (to 350Nm) respectively – over the outgoing model. Paired with the new direct shift 8-speed automatic transmission, the new ratios deliver improved acceleration and overtaking ability.
It’s the first Toyota engine to combine both VVT-iW with D-4S technology, allowing it to enter the Atkinson cycle under light loads for greater efficiencies including reduced carbon emissions (down 25g/km) and reduced fuel consumption (by 1.1l/100kms).
“Highlander has become established as a firm Kiwi favourite and the latest improvements deliver more of everything families and fleets want,” says Spencer Morris, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Product.
“We’ve increased performance, improved fuel economy, added additional safety features and given it a fresh look.”
As the superior seven-seater family vehicle in Toyota’s SUV line-up, the Highlander’s extensive safety appointments that see it achieve a 5-star ANCAP safety rating across the range, are paramount for around town driving during the busy working week just as it is for weekend and holiday adventures. Knowing this, Toyota has applied additional safety technology to the entire Highlander range:
The Limited now has a panoramic view monitor – which provides the driver with a live 360-degree bird’s eye view around the vehicle to see potential obstacles from all angles - rain-sensing wipers and a silver wood grain-style finish throughout.
All vehicles have a sliding second row seat, while the third row has a 60:40 split to increase luggage capacity, offering both practicality and flexibility for busy families or industry-based utility-lovers.