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Toyota has confirmed that from early 2021, the next generation Highlander SUV will offer only a hybrid engine option when it arrives in New Zealand.
The next generation Highlander will be the first seven seat SUV Toyota will offer with hybrid performance and economy.
“The next generation Highlander is a significant improvement on the outgoing model, with improved efficiency and flexibility for families,” says Neeraj Lala, Toyota New Zealand Chief Operating Officer.
“The introduction of another hybrid to our line-up further complements our focus on moving towards a low emission economy, while delivering our customers with a fuel-efficient large SUV.”
It will be the first time a hybrid powertrain has been offered on the Highlander in New Zealand, with the hybrid range now accounting for nearly one in every three Toyota sales.
“The new Highlander is brand new from the ground up; a new platform for improved stability and handling, a new engine with class leading efficiency, new levels of safety and with a dynamic styling package,” says Mr Lala.
Built in the United States, the newest Highlander comes equipped with a 2.5-litre new-generation hybrid system and exclusive intelligent AWD system. Performance is supplemented by electric motors and a hybrid battery located under the second-row seats. With excellent fuel economy and low emissions, the total system power output is expected to be around 179kW*.
The fourth-generation Highlander sits on the Toyota New Global Architecture GA-K platform, providing multiple benefits for ride dynamics, safety and styling.
Engineers have developed a lightweight and highly rigid bodyshell to complement the low centre of gravity provided by the new GA-K platform, ensuring that the new SUV provides nimble handling and comfortable driving in both urban and rural environments.
The new platform has also allowed designers to craft a longer, more distinctive body that delivers a more flexible interior with expanded cargo space and a more tailored ambience.
The new Highlander will be equipped with Toyota’s advanced Safety Sense active safety technologies designed to help prevent or mitigate collisions across a wide range of traffic conditions.
“Toyota has now sold more than 15 million hybrid vehicles globally, including in excess of 17,000** in New Zealand,” Mr Lala said.
"The all-new hybrid Highlander is the beneficiary of Toyota's global hybrid leadership, extensive experience in SUVs, and unrivalled reputation for quality, durability and reliability," Mr Lala said.
* figures are still preliminary
**Data taken from September 2003 to May 2020