The all-new 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: passenger car comfort and handling with SUV versatility deliver greater value - plus hybrid power and eco-friendly fuel efficiency and emissions

    TORONTO, Dec. 10 /CNW/ - Toyota Canada Inc. today unveiled the all-new
2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Combining the versatility of a mid-size sport
utility vehicle with the driving comfort and handling of a passenger car, the
all-new 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid features the smooth yet substantial
power plus fuel-efficiency and emissions performance of Toyota's proven Hybrid
Synergy Drive. Moreover, the all-new 2008 Highlander Hybrid has a starting
MSRP that is $2,025 less than the previous generation 2007 model year. As a
result of improved fuel efficiency, the federal government has increased the
ecoAUTO rebate for the 2008 model year by $500. This means a $1500 rebate for
the 2008 Highlander Hybrid in addition to provincial rebates where applicable.
    "As with the 2008 Toyota Highlander we introduced earlier this year, the
newly redesigned Highlander Hybrid features more forceful styling and a more
flexible interior, while retaining many of the qualities that our existing
Highlander owners love," remarked Tony Wearing, Managing Director of Toyota
Canada Inc. "To this, we add the qualities that only Toyota's state of the art
Hybrid Synergy Drive can deliver - including smooth, confident acceleration;
high torque at any speed; and remarkable fuel efficiency and emissions
performance. We are also happy to be able to offer Canadians more compelling
pricing for the next generation Highlander Hybrid. Combined with the federal
government's ecoAUTO rebate for fuel efficient vehicles and the sales tax
rebate on hybrids that's available in many provinces, the 2008 Highlander
Hybrid is a very attractive and capable, forward-thinking mid-size SUV at an
extremely attractive price."
    The all-new Highlander Hybrid comes in two models: Highlander Hybrid and
Highlander Hybrid Limited. Regardless of the model, the 2008 Highlander Hybrid
combines Toyota's reputation for quality design and engineering with generous
performance, segment-leading utility, comfort, styling, and safety features(*).


    -   A 3.3-litre V6 engine coupled to front and rear high-output electric
        motors that work together seamlessly to produce up to 270 HP and up
        to 212 lb-ft of torque on the gasoline engine through a variety of
        speed ranges.
    -   An electronically controlled continuously variable transmission for
        smooth, shiftless acceleration.
    -   Upgraded front and rear suspension featuring Macpherson gas struts
        and a superb optimized anti-vibration subframe.
    -   Rack and pinion, speed-sensitive electric power steering that's
        cleaner and eliminates hydraulic components that need oil, while
        delivering improved cornering performance and better flat ride for
        more sedan-like control.
    -   The Econ Drive switch and meter, to help drivers maximize the fuel
        efficiency of their Highlander Hybrid.
    -   A towing rating of 1,587 kilograms (3,500 pounds).

    Utility, Comfort, and Styling:

    -   Toyota's unique flexible, stow-away seat - the Center Stow Seat(TM) -
        for the centre position in the second row, enabling 2nd row captain's
    -   An aerodynamic body structure that results in a best-in-class
        co-efficient of drag rating of 0.34, maximizing fuel efficiency and
        minimizing wind noise and vibration.
    -   A strong, distinctive exterior informed by Toyota's Vibrant Clarity
        design language, to create a robust, dynamic and clean appearance.
    -   Forceful styling emphasized by a longer wheelbase, available larger
        wheels and higher ground clearance than the previous generation
        Highlander Hybrid.
    -   A roomier interior compared to the previous generation Highlander
        Hybrid, including: increases in legroom for occupants in the 2nd and
        available 3rd row seats; a higher hip point for more comfortable
        seating; increased shoulder width; and more headroom.
    -   Available new flip-open glass hatch to provide easier access to the
        luggage area.


    -   All models feature on-demand electronic 4WD for excellent control in
        any weather, and on any road surface.
    -   All models feature Toyota's state of the art Vehicle Dynamics
        Integrated Management (VDIM) system, as well Traction Control (TRAC)
        to give the Highlander Hybrid excellent manoeuvring, turning and
        stopping abilities for a confident driving feel.
    -   An impressive suite of braking technologies, including an
        Electronically Controlled Hydraulic Braking System (ECB2) with an
        Integrated Regenerative Braking System that captures energy that
        would otherwise be wasted. Other braking technologies include
        Toyota's Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force
        Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).
    -   Seven airbags, including dual-stage airbags in the driver and front
        passenger positions, and roll-sensing curtain shield airbags.
    -   Three-point seat belts in all positions, including front seatbelt
        pre-tensioners and force limiters and adjustable B pillar shoulder
        belt anchors.
    -   High strength cabin equipped with side impact beams to help protect
        occupants in the event of an accident.
    -   Active headrests for driver and front passenger designed to lessen
        whiplash injury caused by rear-end impacts.
    -   Special energy absorbing engine hood and fender design to reduce
        injury to pedestrians in the event of an accident.
    -   A direct tire pressure monitoring system to alert the driver to
        improperly inflated tires.

    "When we introduced the Highlander Hybrid, it earned a reputation as a
powerful, performance-oriented, fuel-efficient, sporty and versatile mid-size
SUV. With this, the second generation, we make things better with new,
sophisticated styling and the flexibility of an interior that quickly adjusts
to the changing roles that active city-dwellers demand from their vehicles on
a daily basis," Mr. Wearing pointed out. "Whether it's a big-city commute or a
weekend escape, the new 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid will give Canadians even
more freedom to tailor their SUV to their lifestyles - and do so in a manner
that minimizes their environmental footprint."
    The 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is now on sale in Canada. The
well-equipped Highlander Hybrid starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail
Price (MSRP) of $42,825 - a savings of more than $2000 compared to the 2007
model year. The Highlander Hybrid Limited comes fully-equipped at an MSRP of

    (*)See Product Detail following for more information.


    When it was launched in 2000, the Toyota Highlander helped create the
market for mid-size vehicles that combine the versatility and capability of
the Sport Utility Vehicle with the many benefits of the passenger car. These
include improved fuel efficiency, better dynamic performance such as handling,
lower noise levels, increased comfort, and the clean, urban styling that's
made possible when one eliminates the traditional ladder frame found in
    The Highlander Hybrid, introduced in the 2006 Model Year, added the
smooth, quiet and powerful performance of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, as
well as class-leading fuel efficiency and emissions performance.
    For the 2008 model, these features were retained, and enhanced. The new
Highlander Hybrid's style is more forceful, without being rugged. Inside, it's
roomier, especially for those in the second row seats. And despite an increase
in size and roominess, it remains as easy on gas as always. The result is a
vehicle that creates a new benchmark for low-emissions, fuel-efficient,
urban-friendly hybrid SUVs - one that maximizes fun, flexibility, and freedom
for the driver to incorporate the Highlander Hybrid into an active lifestyle.


    Canadians can choose from two great models.

    -   The well-appointed 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid seats five adults
        comfortably and is standard equipped with many comfort and
        convenience features. These include the following: cruise control; a
        sound system featuring AM/FM/CD MP3/WMA capability, and audio
        auxiliary input jack and six speakers; a climate control system with
        air conditioning and rear-seat ducts; power windows with driver and
        front passenger auto up/down functions; power door locks with the
        Toyota Smart Key System and Push Button Start; high-visibility
        Optitron gauges including a kilowatt power meter and a dual trip
        odometer; a multi-information display and outside temperature gauge;
        direct tire pressure monitoring system; a back-up camera with 3.5"
        LCD display without the need for a Navigation system; accessory power
        outlets and retained accessory power; interior chrome trim: plenty of
        flexible storage, including front console box with lid, front seat
        back pockets, door map pockets, overhead sunglass storage, front and
        rear cup-holders, a compartment under the rear seat, cargo tie-down
        rings and shopping bag hooks; engine immobilizer; front and rear
        splash guards; power remote heated exterior mirrors; privacy glass;
        and 17" aluminium alloy wheels with wheel locks and full size spare
    -   The 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited adds third-row seating to
        accommodate up to seven adults, plus many comfort, convenience and
        stylistic features to the mix to create a top line, refined mid-size
        SUV. These include many of the features found on the Highlander
        Hybrid, plus: A premium JBL audio system with nine speakers, 4 disc
        CD changer, and steering wheel controls; Bluetooth(R) capability;
        front and rear auto climate control, auto air conditioning with dual-
        zone control, and soft-touch HVAC; power-adjustable, heated driver
        and front passenger leather seats; electro-chromatic rear-view
        mirror; a power back door; integrated garage door opener; 19"
        aluminium alloy wheels with wheel locks and a full-size spare tire; a
        power tilting/sliding moon roof with sun shade; roof rails and a roof
        rack a spoiler; fog lamps; light control system; and a DVD-based
        navigation system with LCD display and back-up camera.

    The 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has plenty of power for an active
lifestyle, thanks to Toyota's proven Hybrid Synergy Drive.
    This gasoline-electric power train is built around a 3.3-litre V6 engine
featuring a lightweight aluminium alloy block, dual overhead cams, 24 valves,
variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i), sequential multiport
electronic fuel injection, a heavy duty battery, starter, alternator and
heater, and stainless steel exhaust system.
    This is mated to two high-output, permanent magnet electric motors - one
front, one rear - a high capacity storage battery, and an electronically
controlled continuously variable transmission and power split device to create
a drive train capable of delivering seamless, confident acceleration, plus up
to 270 horsepower and up to 212 lb-ft of torque through a variety of speed
    This configuration consumes 7.4 litres of fuel per 100 km in the city and
8.0 litres per 100 km on the highway, while the Hybrid Synergy Drive qualifies
the Highlander Hybrid for an emissions-friendly rating of Tier 2 Bin 3.

    Performance sets the Toyota Highlander Hybrid apart from other car-based
intermediate SUVs, and enhancing the vehicle's already impressive suspension,
handling and steering qualities was a key goal for the 2008 model.
    All Highlander Hybrid models are equipped with on-demand electronic
four-wheel drive (4WD) and Traction Control (TRAC). This system supports the
stability of the Highlander Hybrid by controlling wheel spin when starting or
accelerating on slippery surfaces, as well as by maintaining proper driving
force during straight-line acceleration.
    All models also feature Toyota's Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management
(VDIM). This state of the art handling system compares the vehicle's actual
performance to the driver's intended steering, braking and acceleration
commands, then makes subtle adjustments to the commands to maximize control in
any weather, on any surface.
    A newly-tuned suspension, front and rear, features Macpherson gas struts,
gas shock absorbers, coil springs, stabilizer bars and specially designed
anti-vibration subframes.
    Handling is improved thanks to new aerodynamic undercovers. These also
reduce drag, which in turn minimizes noise and vibration and improves fuel
efficiency. Adding to Highlander Hybrid's superior handling characteristics is
a wider stance, while a higher ground clearance and larger tires provide more
sure-footed capability when the road gets rough.
    Speed sensitive rack and pinion power steering is electrically controlled
for a more responsive yet natural steering feel. This system is also more
environmentally sensitive since it requires no steering fluid.

    New, larger tires are an immediate spotting feature of the 2008 Toyota
Highlander Hybrid. The Highlander Hybrid is standard equipped with P245/65R17
all season radials.
    The Limited model is fitted with P245/55R19 all-season radials to create
a truly impressive stance and provide a firm grip. These wheels are also
available for the standard model, and any Highlander Hybrid so equipped also
includes a full-size spare tire.
    Regardless of tire size, all Highlander Hybrids a fitted with distinctive
aluminum alloy wheels with wheel locks.

    The 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is equipped with a number of active and
passive systems to maximize the safety of driver, passengers, and even others
sharing the road.
    In addition to the security that comes from on-demand 4WD, the Highlander
Hybrid features a full suite of braking technologies. These include an
Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)
and Brake Assist (BA).
    As a vehicle equipped with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, the Highlander
Hybrid also features an electronically controlled hydraulic braking system
with integrated regenerative braking. This system captures energy during
coasting and braking that would normally be lost, and stores it in a
high-capacity battery for later use.
    Disc brakes are are ventilated at the front, with twin-piston steel
callipers, while the rear ventilated discs are solid and feature single-piston
aluminium callipers.

    When it comes to safety, the 21st Century vehicle needs to go beyond
protecting the driver and passenger to also make things better even for those
who are merely in the automobile's proximity.
    That's why all 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid models are standard equipped
with a stand-alone back-up camera system. This important safety system gives
Highlander Hybrid owners "eyes in the backs of their heads": namely, the
ability to check for obstacles immediately behind the vehicle, which might
otherwise not be visible using mirrors.
    This same concern for others on the road extends to the unique design of
the front hood and fenders, which incorporate a special Pedestrian Protection
Structure. The structure of these components features special longitudinal
ribs and other changes to efficiently and uniformly absorb, distribute and
soften impacts. While this type of structure is not yet mandated for North
America, Toyota looked ahead of any potential regulation by designing the 2008
Highlander Hybrid to reduce injury to pedestrians in the event of an accident.
    For those riding in the Highlander Hybrid, the 2008 model features a
newly developed, high-strength cabin design that works in conjunction with the
vehicle's seven airbags and three-point lap and shoulder belts in all
positions to maximize protection for the occupants. Front seat belts feature
pre-tensioners and force limiters, plus adjustable B pillar shoulder belt
    The seven airbags include dual-stage front airbags for the driver and
front passenger, front seat mounted side airbags, a driver's knee airbag, and
roll-sensing front and rear head/side curtain airbags.

    The 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is styled with a strong, distinctive
exterior informed by Toyota's Vibrant Clarity design language. The result is a
robust, dynamic appearance that emphasizes advanced design and clean lines
over the traditional, "rugged" SUV image.
    The 2008 Highlander Hybrid's styling is more forceful than ever before.
The front fenders thrust outwards to accommodate the vehicle's wider track and
emphasize its stable form. A strong, three-dimensional character line that
stretches across the bumper to the side surfaces enhances the overall
    A longer wheelbase gives the Highlander Hybrid a commanding presence from
the side, while larger wheels and higher ground clearance are emphasized by
firm surfaces around the wheel wells and a character line along the rocker
panel. A belt below the windows gives the sides an S-shaped profile to
complete the lower body's powerful image.
    The Highlander Hybrid's exterior design is completed with strong rear
fenders that emphasize power and sturdiness, while the rear hatch's vertical
and horizontal curved surfaces provide tension to the design to create a
simple, clean finish. The Highlander Hybrid Limited now comes standard
equipped with a flip-up glass hatch to provide easier access to the luggage
area - useful, for example, when stowing groceries, a briefcase, or an
overnight bag.
    The Highlander Hybrid's exterior appearance extends beyond form to
function, as it contributes to the new model's best-in-class co-efficient of
drag rating of 0.34, maximizing fuel efficiency and minimizing wind noise and

    Inside, the 2008 Highlander Hybrid also benefits from Toyota's Vibrant
Clarity design language. The result is a comfortable, smart interior for up to
five passengers in Highlander Hybrid base model, and up to seven passengers in
the fully loaded Highlander Hybrid Limited - or a whole lot of gear for
weekend fun.
    Compared to the first generation model, the new Highlander Hybrid is
longer and wider inside, and features increased legroom for occupants of the
2nd and available 3rd row seats, a higher hip point for more comfortable
seating, increased shoulder width, and more headroom.
    Slide behind the wheel and the increased width is immediately apparent,
thanks to a design that flows outwards from the central console. The theme
continues through the interior door panels, providing continuity with the
console and dashboard, while the trim emphasizes the strong fenders, cementing
the relationship between exterior and interior styling. Interior chrome trim
acts as a reminder of the Highlander Hybrid's technologically sophisticated
power system, while Limited models feature the luxury touches of a
leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and simulated leather door
    The 2008 Highlander Hybrid features a flexible 2nd row seat, with a
fold-away Center Stow Seat(TM) to allow owners to quickly reconfigure the 2nd
row from two captain's seats to a three-person bench seat. When not needed,
the centre portion slides easily into the rear of the console between the two
front seats. Meanwhile, the new Highlander Hybrid Limited's 3rd row bench seat
is more spacious than in the first generation model, with more shoulder space
and higher hip points.

    The 2008 Toyota Highlander comes with many standard and optional utility,
comfort and convenience features. A detailed list follows:

    Standard on all models:

    -   Seven airbags: dual stage front driver and front passenger; driver
        knee; front seat side-mounted; roll-sensing front and rear seat
        head/side curtain.
    -   The Toyota Smart Key System with Push Button Start; power door locks;
        engine immobilizer.
    -   Power windows with driver and passenger auto up/down.
    -   A flexible interior featuring 40-20-40 split 2nd row seats. Outer two
        seats are three-way adjustable. Middle seat (Center Stow Seat(TM))
        can be removed and stowed in rear of front centre console, converting
        2nd row seating from a three-person bench to two captain seats. The
        2nd row seats can be folded flat to maximize available cargo space.
    -   Dual vanity mirrors.
    -   Flexible storage: front console box with lid, front seat back
        pockets, door map pockets, overhead sunglass storage, front and rear
        cup-holders, cargo tie-down rings and shopping bag hooks.
    -   Sophisticated cabin lighting including illuminated entry with fade
        out and door courtesy lamps.
    -   Interior chrome trim and metallic dash accents.
    -   Cruise control.
    -   Optitron gauges: Kilowatt power meter, water temperature gauge, dual
        trip odometer.
    -   A stand-alone back-up camera with 3.5" Liquid Crystal Display.
    -   Accessory power outlets and retained accessory power.
    -   Power remote heated and foldable exterior mirrors.
    -   Tinted, high solar energy-absorbing window glass with UV protection.
    -   Roof rack; roof rails; front and rear splash guards.
    -   Reflector-style halogen headlamps.
    -   Variable intermittent wipers; rear window intermittent wiper/washer;
        windshield wiper de-icer.

    Standard on the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid:

    -   Audio: AM/FM stereo/CD with MP3/WMA audio capability, audio auxiliary
        input jack, six speakers.
    -   Climate Control: air conditioning and rear seat heater ducts.
    -   Four-way manual driver's seat adjustable driver and two-way
        adjustable front passenger premium cloth-covered captain seats.
    -   17" aluminium alloy wheels, wheel locks.

    Available Comfort Package for the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, adding:

    -   19" aluminium alloy wheels, wheel locks, full size spare tire.
    -   Rear air conditioning with climate control.
    -   In-dash six-disc CD changer.
    -   Eight-way power adjustable driver's seat.
    -   3rd row seats
    -   Leather wrapped shift knob and steering wheel
    -   Flip-up rear hatch glass.
    -   Power back door.
    -   Roof-mounted spoiler with integrated L.E.D. stop lamp.
    -   Roof rack (on vehicles produced from December onwards)

    Standard on the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited:

    -   Premium JBL Audio system featuring in-dash four-disc CD changer with
        MP3/WMA audio capability, audio auxiliary input jack, Bluetooth(R)
        capability, nine speakers, steering wheel audio controls.
    -   Climate Control: front & rear auto climate control, auto air
        conditioning with dual zone control, soft touch HVAC, cabin air
        filter, rear seat heater ducts.
    -   A 3rd row bench seat that's roomier than in the previous model, to
        accommodate up to seven adults. The 3rd row seat can be folded flat
        to maximize cargo space.
    -   Outside temperature gauge.
    -   Eight-way power adjustable and heated driver's captain seat, and
        four-way power adjustable and heated front passenger captain seat.
    -   Leather seat surfaces.
    -   Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob/simulated leather door
    -   Electro-chromic rear view mirror.
    -   DVD-based navigation system with 8" Liquid Crystal Display.
    -   Exterior mirror-mounted puddle lamps.
    -   Power back door.
    -   Integrated garage door opener.
    -   Anti-theft system.
    -   19" aluminum alloy wheels, wheel locks, full-size spare tire.
    -   Flip-up rear hatch.
    -   Privacy glass.
    -   Power tilt/slide moon roof with sun shade.
    -   Light control system/fog lamps.
    -   Roof-mounted spoiler with integrated L.E.D. stop lamp.
    -   Roof rack.

For further information:

For further information: please email or contact:
Kathryn Ruhland, Public Relations Manager, Toyota Canada Inc., (416) 431-8333

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