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2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV - Overview

Research another Highlander Hybrid:

$34,200 – $40,450 MSRP

$30,780 – $36,202 Invoice

27 / 25 MPG City/Hwy

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2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV

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Overview

What Changed for 2008:

  • The Toyota Highlander is all new for 2008

  • Larger, roomier interior

  • More powerful engine

  • Straight-line steering and corner braking features

  • Hill-Start Assist and Downhill Assist Control

  • Three times quieter than previous model, according to Toyota

  • Backup camera

  • Center Stow seat

  • ECON drive mode switch on Hybrid model

  • Optional navigation system with Bluetooth
Overview
The first Toyota Highlander midsize sport utility vehicle (SUV) was introduced in 2001. Four years later, a hybrid model with the world's first gas/electric motor in a 7-passenger SUV was launched. For 2008, the Highlander is back with more interior room, a long list of technological and powertrain upgrades, and a revised hybrid model. The Highlander is one of three midsize SUVs in Toyota's lineup. Toyota claims the all-new Highlander has increased safety, performance, quality, and comfort compared to the previous model. A "Customer First" quality program used the Highlander development program as the pilot for this initiative.

Model Lineup
The 2008 Toyota Highlander comes in a gas-powered version and the Hybrid gas/electric model. The gas-powered Highlander comes in base, Sport, and Limited models and in 2- or 4-wheel drive (2WD or 4WD), while the Hybrid model comes in base or Hybrid Limited trim levels and only with electronic on-demand 4WD.

All Highlanders come standard with three rows of seats. Standard features on the base model include color-keyed bumpers, door handles, and power sideview mirrors; halogen headlamps with auto-off feature; privacy glass; front air conditioner; and cloth 40/20/40 split second-row seats with one-touch right-hand walk-in function. A new feature is the Center Stow seat with a Center Stow console. The Center Stow seat can be folded then stowed under the front console to provide a walk-through area between the seats for easy access to the third row.

The Highlander Sport model adds a sport-tuned suspension; smoked chrome on the grille instead of body color; backup camera; sport badging; smoked headlight and taillight lenses; and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio and multi-function display controls.

The top-end Highlander Limited features leather-trimmed seats; smart-entry system; auto-dimming mirror with compass; folding power-heated side-view mirrors with puddle lamps; and chrome door handles and grille surround.

Powertrain
All non-hybrid Highlander models for 2008 come with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 270 hp and 248 lb.-ft. of torque. It's Ultra Low-Emission Vehicle II (ULEV II) rated, and in 2WD has EPA estimated fuel economy of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway. The 4WD model only loses 1 mpg, at 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway. The Hybrid uses a 3.3-liter V-6 engine with 209 hp and 212 lb.-ft. of torque, but incorporates a high-torque electric drive motor-generator that's been improved for 2008. Combined, the total net power for the Highlander is 270 hp. Fuel economy on the Hybrid jumps to 27 mpg city/25 mpg highway. The Hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission, while the gas-powered Highlander's V-6 is mated to an electronic 5-speed automatic transmission.

The 2008 Highlander can tow a maximum of 5000 pounds when equipped with the tow prep package. The base model rides on 17-inch wheels, while the Sport and Limited models sit on 19-inch standard wheels. The Hybrid features 19-inch wheels as the standard on both trim levels.

Electric power steering is standard on all Highlanders, as are 4-wheel independent suspensions with front and rear stabilizer bars for reduced body roll.

Safety
Toyota has incorporated its Star Safety System on every model it produces. The Star Safety System includes Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control with traction control, ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and Brake Assist. All Highlander models also feature seven standard air bags: advanced front driver and front passenger, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side air bags and a driver's knee air bag. The roll-sensing curtain air bags help protect outboard occupants in all three rows in the event of side collisions or vehicle rollovers.

A new safety feature for Highlander this year is the addition of special crumple zones on the hood and front fender that are designed to absorb energy for added protection to both occupants and pedestrians.

Technology
Toyota has added straight-line steering and corner braking features to the Highlander for 2008. Both are designed to help the driver control the vehicle. Straight-line steering (only on non-hybrid models) supplements regular ABS when differences are felt in left/right side braking force. The system is designed to offset left/right pull. The corner braking feature, standard on all Highlanders, integrates automated control of the engine's power and braking force via the electric power steering assist torque to communicate the performance limits of the driver and help the driver steer in the direction that offers the greatest stability.

Available Trims for the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV

  Transmission MSRP Engine City/Hwy MPG
Base (CVT) continuously variable automatic $34,200 209-hp / 3.3L 6-cyl 27/25
Limited (CVT) continuously variable automatic $40,450 209-hp / 3.3L 6-cyl 27/25

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