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*.

Performance:
  • 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 SeatTM - for the centre position in the second row, enabling 2nd row captain's seats.
  • 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.


Safety:
  • 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 $55,975.

2008 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER HYBRID - PRODUCT DETAIL

FUN, FLEX, FREEDOM: UPDATING THE HIGHLANDER HYBRID
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 trucks.

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.

GREAT… AND GREATER
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 tire.
  • 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 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.


HYBRID POWER DELIVERS THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
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 ranges.

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.

WHEN PERFORMANCE COUNTS: SUSPENSION, HANDLING AND STEERING
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.

WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
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.

CONTROL AND BRAKING FEATURES COVER ALL THE BASES
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.

SAFETY FOR EVERYONE - INCLUDING THOSE SHARING THE ROAD
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 anchors.

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.

"VIRBRANT CLARITY" CREATES AN ADVANCED, STRONG EXTERIOR
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 appearance.

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 vibration.

"VIBRANT CLARITY" MAKES INTERIOR STYLING COMFORTABLE AND SMART
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 trim.

The 2008 Highlander Hybrid features a flexible 2nd row seat, with a fold-away Center Stow SeatTM 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.

UTILITY, COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE FEATURES

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 SeatTM) 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 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 trim.
  • 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.