Available in both 5- and 7-passenger configurations, the 2007 Highlander Hybrid was designed using a range of advanced technologies to create a vehicle with true SUV power and versatility, plus exceptional fuel economy and emissions performance.  The Highlander Hybrid is powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) powertrain, which was then developed to meet the demands of an intermediate SUV.  HSD features an Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) and on-demand electronic 4-wheel-drive with intelligence (4WD-i).  The 3.3-litre V6 works seamlessly with a high-torque electric drive motor-generator developing a peak system output equivalent to 268 horsepower.


Well equipped, in addition to being powerful, the Highlander Hybrid is a superb value for the money.  The 5-passenger model is equipped with standard:

6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system

climate control that includes air conditioning, cabin air filter, and rear seat heating duct

60/40 split folding rear seat with recline and fold-down seatback

tilt-adjust steering

illuminated entry

power windows and door locks

power heated exterior mirrors and front windshield wiper de-icer

17-inch alloy wheels with wheel locks

fog lamps

dual stage front airbags

cruise control

tonneau cover and cargo-area tied-down rings

keyless entry

electric rear window defroster with timer

privacy glass


The luxurious 7-passenger model is further equipped with:

premium 8-speaker JBL audio with in-dash 6-CD changer and steering wheel audio controls

Bluetooth capability

leather interior

power moonroof

power driver and front passenger seats

coloured rear spoiler

integrated garage door opener

electrochromic rear view mirror with digital compass

anti-theft system


“Like the conventionally-powered Highlander, the Highlander Hybrid offers a great combination of utility and refinement,” said Tony Wearing, Managing Director of Toyota Canada Inc. “The Highlander Hybrid has plenty of space for luggage, outstanding acceleration and has a towing capacity of 1,587 kilograms to meet the needs of consumers seeking SUV versatility and power while delivering fuel efficiency and low emissions.”


The 2007 Highlander Hybrid is offered in two trim levels.  Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 5-passenger Highlander Hybrid is $44,850.  MSRP for the luxurious 7-passenger model is $53,670.





Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD)

Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) combines a powerful electric motor with a highly efficient 3.3-litre V6 engine to significantly improve low- to mid-range acceleration and overall fuel efficiency.  The high-speed electric motor operates at a higher speed and delivers more than twice the power of the motor used in the four-cylinder Prius, producing a peak system output equivalent to 268 horsepower.


Fuel consumption (L/100 km) is half that of conventionally-powered SUVs at 7.7 city, 8.3 highway and 7.9 combined.  The Highlander Hybrid also meets Environment Canada's stringent Tier 2 emission standards.


The Highlander Hybrid is a ‘full hybrid,' meaning that it is capable of operating in separate gasoline or electric modes, as well as one that combines power from both.  The engine is mated to an Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) with standard hydraulic oil cooling.


The Highlander Hybrid's V6 is based on the engine in the conventional Highlander but with significant revisions to promote smooth integration with the hybrid system. These include revised calibrations to the Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i) and Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) systems.


In making the transition to a hybrid system, the power steering pump and air conditioning are driven by the electric motors, while the starter functions are incorporated into the electric generator.  This is so the power steering pump and air condition will continue to function when the gas engine shuts off — a fuel saving benefit of the hybrid system — especially when the vehicle is stopped or being driven slowly.  These electrically powered components lead to notably lower parasitic losses to the engine, lower noise, and improved fuel consumption.


A 288-volt DC nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery fitted neatly under the middle seat is boosted and inverted to 650V AC.  The result is longer periods of electric-mode-only driving and significantly higher peak electrical output to the powerful 123 kilowatt front drive motor for outstanding low, and mid-range acceleration.  There are three motor-generators employed in the 4-wheel drive with intelligence (4WD-i) models, like Highlander Hybrid.  Called MG1, MG2 and MGR (the rear electric motor in the 4WD-i), each has a specific function and each does double duty as both drive motor and generator.  The engine-driven generator (MG1) and rear electric motor (MGR) can charge the battery pack, which provide power to the other electric motors as needed.


Power from the gasoline engine and front electric-drive motor (MG2) is distributed to the drive wheels via a planetary gear-type ECVT.  Two planetary gear units are used in the system, eliminating specific gear ratios.  The Power-Split unit divides the engine's drive force two ways: one to drive the wheels and the other to drive MG1 so it may function as a generator.  The Motor Speed Reduction unit reduces the speed of MG2 and increases its drive torque, significantly boosting acceleration performance.


In addition to its motor-generator duties, the crucial MG1 adds two more functions.  It acts as a starter motor for the gasoline engine and, by regulating the amount of electrical power it generates to drive the planetary gear set,  MG1 controls the output speed of the transaxle.  Extended electric-mode operation during low speed or stop-and-go driving conditions is provided by the permanent-magnet front electric drive motor (MG2) which produces peak torque from zero-to-1,500 rpm, giving the Highlander Hybrid powerful and instantaneous response most noticeable in low- and midspeed performance and in merging and passing manoeuvers.


In conventional 4-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles, the weight and friction of the additional drive components reduce the vehicle's acceleration performance compared to the Toyota's on-demand same model with 2-wheel drive (2WD).  The Highlander Hybrid, however, adopts electronic 4-wheel drive with intelligence (4WD-i) employing a separate 50-kilowatt rear electric motor (MGR) which provides up to 96 lb/ft of drive torque as required.


Under normal conditions, the Highlander Hybrid operates in front-wheel drive mode, for maximum fuel efficiency.  When additional traction is required, however, the system automatically switches into 4WD, which uses the Toyota HSD to drive the front wheels and an electric motor to drive the rear wheels.  Using input from several sensors, the ECU calculates the optimal torque distribution between the front and rear wheels to maintain optimum drive torque under all conditions. When additional traction is no longer required, the system automatically returns to front-wheel drive.


Additional power to charge the battery is captured through the regenerative braking system. When the vehicle is coasting or the brakes are applied, the MG2 and MGR electric motors function as generators, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost as heat through the brakes and converting it into useable electricity to recharge the battery.


The computer-controlled powertrain seamlessly blends power from the V6 gasoline engine, the electric drive motors and the generator.  The driver can monitor the gasoline/electric power distribution on the standard multi-function display or the illuminated power meter which displays the energy generated by the HSD system.


Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM)

The Highlander Hybrid is also equipped with a sophisticated and unobtrusive Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system.  VDIM is an advanced new stability system that continuously analyzes driver input (steering, braking, acceleration/deceleration) and compares it to the desired, stable operation.  When the computer detects any difference between the two, it instantly calculates what action will correct the deviation and appropriately enhances braking and engine output to maintain stable operation.


Even in good road and weather conditions, oversteer and understeer can occur (for example when the car enters or exits a turn too quickly).  The computer that manages the VDIM system analyzes information from the vehicle's dynamic handling systems, measuring wheel speed; yaw rate; acceleration and deceleration at the back, front, left and right; accelerator position; brake pedal stroke; and steering torque.  The VDIM sensors immediately detect when either the front or the rear of the car is losing grip, and the system adjusts brake pressure and engine power to maintain maximum control and maneuverability.


VDIM also interfaces with the HSD system to modify vehicle power when needed, and the new Electronic Power Steering system to optimize steering assist for each situation.



The Electronic Power Steering System (EPS) uses a 42V DC motor and gear reduction system built into the steering rack housing to provide steering assist. This compact unit decreases fuel consumption by eliminating the traditional engine-driven power steering pump and provides more precise computer controlled power assist than conventional engine-driven hydraulic systems.



In addition to VDIM, the Highlander Hybrid features an impressive list of standard active safety equipment that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), and Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS).


Passive safety features include standard front seat mounted side airbags and roll-sensing front and reat head/side curtain airbags, dual-stage front airbags with front passenger status indicator, 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions with pretensioners and force limiters for front occupants, ISO-FIX anchor points for child restraint seats and child-protection rear doorlocks.



Air conditioning

Highlander Hybrid's standard air conditioning system uses Toyota's inverter-integrated 288V electric compressor motor which reduces weight and optimizes cooling regardless of engine operating conditions, enhancing comfort and improving fuel efficiency.  The system also uses a humidity sensor to control the amount of dehumidification required, which reduces electric power consumption.  The condenser requires a smaller amount of refrigerant than conventional systems, making it more environmentally friendly.


Toyota's 3-year/60,000 km basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items.  Additional 5-year warranties cover the powertrain for 100,000 km and corrosion with unlimited kilometres. The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for 8 years/160,000 km. Highlander Hybrid also comes with 7-day/24-hour roadside assistance for 36 months.


The purchase of a new Toyota also includes a free membership in Club Toyota, an on-line service designed for customer convenience, placing vehicle ownership information at the customer's fingertips.