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Toyota Highlander
2008 Toyota Highlander base (US)
Manufacturer Toyota
Also called Toyota Kluger
Production 2000–present
Class Mid-size crossover SUV
Body style(s) 5-door wagon
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Front-engine, all-wheel drive

The Toyota Highlander, also called Toyota Kluger (トヨタ クルーガー Toyota Kurūgā?) (pronounced Klu-ger) in Japan and Australia, is a midsize crossover SUV produced by Toyota since 2000.

It was announced in April 2000 at the New York Auto Show and arrived in late 2000 in Japan and in January 2001 in North America, the Highlander became the first car-based midsize SUV or midsize crossover.[1] The Highlander is the crossover counterpart to the more rugged truck-based midsize 4Runner and had become Toyota's best-selling SUV until the smaller RAV4 outsold it in 2006.

Toyota could not use the "Highlander" name in Australia and Japan, since it is a trademarked trim line of the Hyundai Terracan SUV. The name "Kluger" derives from the German word "klüger", meaning "clever" or "very clever".[2]

First generation (XU20; 2000–2007)

First generation
2001–2003 Toyota Highlander Base
Production 2000–2007
Assembly Kyūshū, Japan

2.4 L 2AZ-FE I4
3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6

3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 106.9 in (2715 mm)
Length 2001: 184.3 in
2002–03: 184.4 in (4684 mm)
2004–07: 184.6 in (4689 mm)
Hybrid: 185.6 in (4714 mm)
Width 71.9 in (1826 mm)
Height 2001–05 4WD: 66.5 in (1689 mm)
2001–05 Limited 4WD: 68.7 in (1745 mm)
2003–05 FWD: 66.1 in (1679 mm)
2003–05 Limited FWD: 68.3 in (1735 mm)
2006–07 FWD: 67.9 in (1725 mm)
2006–07 4WD & FWD Hybrid: 68.3 in (1735 mm)
4WD Hybrid: 68.9 in (1750 mm)
Curb weight 3,784 lb (1,716 kg)
Related Lexus RX (XU10)

Called the Kluger in Japan and Australia, the Highlander shared a platform with its Lexus RX/Toyota Harrier cousin and came in five (2001-2007) and seven-seat (2004-2007) configurations, and became a sales success for Toyota in a number of markets across the world. The Highlander came standard with front wheel drive and offered all wheel drive (50:50 front:rear fixed torque split). Unlike Toyota's own 4Runner and other midsized competitors such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, or Chevrolet TrailBlazer, the Highlander aimed for on-road comfort with its unit body construction and independent rear suspension. Although it was originally longer than the 1996–2002 4Runner, the Highlander was surpassed in length by the redesigned 4Runner in 2003.

The Highlander was available in three trim lines in the United States: the "base model, the "Sport" model, and the "Limited" model. The "base" and "Limited" models were present when the Highlander was initially introduced, while the "Sport" model was introduced in March 2006.

In 2004 the wheels on the Limited trim changed from a six-spoke, to a five-spoke alloy. The base-model Highlander wheels also changed from steel-rims to the alloy wheels that were on the 2001–2003 model year Highlander "Limited" and "B-Package". The Sport models had a distinctive grille design, differentiating themselves from the non-Sport models. Wheel styling also serves to differentiate the various models—the hybrid sports a unique twin-spoke design.

The Kluger was introduced to Australia during 2003. It was available in three guises: "CV", "CVX", and "Grande". A limited edition "CV Sport" model was also released in 2006. There was no hybrid model available in Australia. The only engine offered was the 3.3-liter 3MZ-FE V6.


  • 2001–2003 2.4 L 2AZ-FE I4, 155 hp (119 kW)
  • 2001–2003 3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6, 220 hp (164 kW)
  • 2004–2007 3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6, 225 hp (172 kW)

The 3.0-liter engine was able to propel the Kluger from 0–60 mph in approximately 8.8 seconds. In 2004 the Kluger was given a new 3.3-liter V6 engine to compete with the more powerful V6 offerings from its competitors, mainly the Nissan Murano and the Honda Pilot. The larger engine made it possible for the Kluger to reach 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.8 seconds.

Model year changes

2004–2007 Toyota Highlander Limited

In addition to the 3.3-liter engine, 2004 V6-powered models were equipped with a new five-speed automatic transmission, replacing a 4-speed automatic transmission, while the 4-cylinder models continued to use the old 4-speed automatic transmission. This year also saw the introduction of the optional third row seat allowing for two additional passengers. The unibody was slightly modified behind the second row seats to include a depression in the trunk floor able to accommodate the optional third row seating. On models without third row seating, this depression was turned into a storage compartment. (Prior to 2004 the spare tire was accessible from inside the vehicle where the third row seating would subsequently be located; beginning in 2004 the spare tire is accessible from underneath the vehicle.) Subtle changes to the front grille, front and rear bumpers, and headlights round-out the major changes for the 2004 mid-cycle refresh.

Beginning in 2006, Highlanders sold in Canada are offered only in a V6 all-wheel drive configuration. Hybrid models are available with part-time four-wheel drive which Toyota refers to as "4WD-i" where the rear wheels are powered by the separate electric motor.

Base models are equipped with a limited slip differential, while up-scale models have a stability control system.

The Japanese Kluger was released with a centre console integrated with the dashboard, while the North American Highlander initially lacked this integrated centre console. The integrated centre console was introduced in all U.S. Highlanders and in Canadian Limited Highlanders in the 2002 model year, and in all Canadian Highlanders in the 2003 model year. However, for these early Highlanders without the integrated centre console, a smaller non-integrated stand-alone centre console was available as an option, which was installed at the factory or could be installed by the dealer.

Typical fuel economy using the Australian standard testing regime is 12.3 L/100 km (23.0 mpg-imp/19.1 mpg-US).


Anti-lock brakes, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution were standard, Vehicle Stability Control w/traction control optional on 2001–03 models became standard for 2004 models (Hybrids come standard with VDIM). Also standard for 2004 was a tire pressure monitor. Front seat-mounted side torso airbags were optional on 2001–06 models, while front and second row side curtain airbags were optional on 2004–06 models. Side airbags became standard on 2007 models and the curtain airbags gained a rollover sensor that year as well.

NHTSA crash test ratings, no side airbags (2002):[3]
Frontal Driver: 4/5 stars
Frontal Passenger: 4/5 stars
Side Driver: 4/5 stars
Side Rear Passenger: 5/5 stars
Rollover: 3/5 stars
NHTSA crash test ratings, no side airbags (2004):[4]
Frontal Driver: 5/5 stars
Frontal Passenger: 5/5 stars
Side Driver: 5/5 stars
Side Rear Passenger: 5/5 stars
Rollover (2005):[5] 4/5 stars

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests the Highlander was rated "Good" overall in the frontal offset crash test.[6] The IIHS reported the Highlander had one of the lowest driver fatality rates among all vehicles, and amongst SUVs, only the Toyota 4Runner had a lower driver fatality rate. This report looked at 2001–05 model year vehicles in the USA.[7]

Hybrid (MHU28, 2005–2007)

Highlander Hybrid Limited

Initially, the Kluger was a regular, non-hybrid SUV driven by an internal combustion engine, but later Toyota introduced a hybrid version, the Kluger Hybrid that utilizes the company's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology combined with the company's 3MZ-FE 3.3-liter V6 engine offered in either FWD or AWD trim. The hybrid drivetrain was unveiled at the 2004 North American International Auto Show, and was offered to the public in July 2005 as a 2006 model. The alternator, power steering pump, water pump and AC compressor were no longer belt-driven accessories rather powered by electricity, except the alternator which is incorporated into the hybrid system.

In North America, the hybrid version was called the Highlander Hybrid. It was also the first seven-seat hybrid vehicle. With the electric motors providing power including lower speeds overall acceleration is improved particularity at passing speeds. Other additions include Toyota's Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system and Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB). The California Air Resources Board gave it a SULEV emission rating. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (revised standards) rated it at 28 mpg-US (8.4 L/100 km/34 mpg-imp) City/25 mpg-US (9.4 L/100 km/30 mpg-imp) Highway for FWD models and 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km/32 mpg-imp)/25 mpg-US (9.4 L/100 km/30 mpg-imp) for AWD models. This system is near identical to that of the Lexus RX 400h. All-wheel drive models were rated to tow 3,500 lb (1,600 kg).

Second generation (XU40; 2007–present)

Second generation
2010 Toyota Highlander Limited (US)
Also called Guangzhou-Toyota Highlander(China)
Production 2007–present
Assembly Guangzhou, China[8]
Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
Princeton, Indiana, United States (TMMI Oct 2009–present, North America only)
Engine(s) 2.7 L 1AR-FE I4
3.5 L 2GR-FE V6
3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6 (hybrid)
3.5 L 2GR-FXE V6 (hybrid)
Transmission(s) 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 109.8 in (2789 mm)
Length 188.4 in (4785 mm)
Width 2008-2010: 75.2 in (1910 mm)
2011-: 1,917 mm (75.5 in)
Height 2008-2010: 69.3 in (1760 mm)
2011-: 1,729 mm (68.1 in)
Curb weight 4,045 lb (1,835 kg)
Related Lexus RX
Toyota Sienna
Toyota Camry
Toyota Camry Solara

Toyota revealed the second-generation Highlander and Highlander Hybrid at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show, with American sales beginning in July and hybrids in late September.[9][10] But the second-generation Highlander and Highlander Hybrid are not sold in Japan. The five-seat Highlander for the United States and Canada was dropped as the larger Venza replaced it.

Initially the sole powertrain for the 2008 Highlander was a 270 horsepower (201 kW) 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 mated to a five-speed automatic. The four-cylinder model had been discontinued but added again in 2009. While the 3.5-liter engine has 55 more bhp than the previous 3.3-liter V6 and dimensional increases along with increased sound proofing added nearly 500 pounds to the vehicle's curb weight of approximately 4,000 lbs, fuel economy is slightly improved. The EPA estimated fuel economy for front-wheel drive models is at 18 mpg-US (13 L/100 km/22 mpg-imp) city / 24 mpg-US (9.8 L/100 km/29 mpg-imp) highway (last gen: 17 mpg-US (14 L/100 km/20 mpg-imp) city / 23 mpg-US (10 L/100 km/28 mpg-imp) hwy).[11]

2007–2010 Toyota Kluger (GSU45R) KX-S (Australia)

2010 Toyota Kluger (GSU40R) KX-R (Australia)

For 2009, Toyota again offered a 4-cylinder for 5-passenger front-wheel drive models with the all-new ULEV-II certified 2.7-liter 1AR-FE I4 paired to a six-speed automatic. It generates 187 hp (139 kW) at 5,800 rpm and 186 ft·lbf (252 N·m) of peak torque at 4,100 rpm on regular 87 octane fuel. The four-cylinder delivers an EPA estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km/24 mpg-imp) city and 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km/32 mpg-imp) highway.[12] This is better than the previous model's four cylinder with 19 mpg-US (12 L/100 km/23 mpg-imp)/25 mpg-US (9.4 L/100 km/30 mpg-imp).

The same three trim levels were offered (Base, Sport, and Limited) until early 2010 when the SE model replaced the Sport model, buyers are still able to choose between front-drive or all-wheel drive on V6 platforms. Also new is an Electric Power Steering (EPS) system. Sport and Limited models get a standard backup camera using a 3.5-inch LCD display. Major options include leather seats, heated seats, a touch-screen DVD based navigation system, a new Smart Key System, an upgraded JBL Synthesis stereo, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with 9-inch screen, and a towing package that increases towing capacity to 5000 pounds.

Currently, the Highlander/Kluger is produced in Japan for global markets. Toyota had intended on building the Highlander in Blue Springs, Mississippi for the North American market in the 2011 model year.[13] However, the Prius will be built there instead, and the Highlander is being built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana in Princeton, Indiana, from the 2010 model year onward for a majority of the North America, replacing Tundra production.[14] At this time, no decision has been made on Highlander Hybrid production at TMMI. TMMI Highlander production began in October 2009.

In Australia, the new generation Kluger was launched in August, 2007. There are three grades available, KX-R, KX-S and Grande. All grades are available with either 2WD or AWD. The base model KX-R is also available with either five or seven seats, whilst the latter grades are seven seaters only. Specifications are mostly similar to the US Highlander, sharing the same 3.5 litre V6 2GR-FE engine and five-speed automatic transmission. However, there are no plans at present to introduce a hybrid version of the Kluger into the Australian market.

2010 Update

2010 Toyota Kluger (GSU45R) KX-S (Australia)

In 2010, for the 2011 model year, Toyota is making some changes to the Highlander and Highlander Hybrid. While the general design remains similar to the 2010 model, the Highlander's front end has been significantly revised, now featuring new headlights, a new black with chrome accent rocker panel, and new front grille. The non-hybrid engines for 2011 remain the same, although now the 2.7-liter four cylinder engine may be had on the SE trim level, previously only available on the base model. More standard features are now equipped on all trim levels, with the base model receiving front and rear air conditioning, power locks/windows, cruise control, and a multi-function keyless entry control.[15]

Safety/crash testing

All models come standard with enhanced Vehicle Stability Control which immediately alters electric powering steering assist w/traction control (hybrids come standard with VDIM), anti-lock brakes, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution. Also standard is a tire pressure monitor, a driver's knee airbag, front seat-mounted side torso airbags, side curtain airbags for all three rows which includes a rollover sensor and active front headrests. Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) is also standard which prevents rolling backwards on slopes, and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) is standard on AWD trims.

NHTSA crash test ratings (2008):[16]
Frontal Driver: 5/5 stars
Frontal Passenger: 4/5 stars
Side Driver: 5/5 stars
Side Rear Passenger: 5/5 stars
Rollover: 4/5 stars

The IIHS rates the Highlander "Good" overall in their frontal offset crash test, and good in all subcategories except for "Head/neck," which is rated as "Acceptable."[17] And "Good" overall in the side impact crash test, with "Good" rating in all nine measured categories.[18] The Highlander is also rated "Good" in the roof strength test.[19]

In ANCAP testing the Kluger is given a 5/5 stars rating but only a 1/4 stars rating for pedestrian protection.[20]

The safety and effectiveness of the Highlander/Kluger's Vehicle Stability Control system has been questioned by some motoring journalists. During testing forWheels magazine Car of the Year in 2007, the magazine's editor rolled the vehicle during high-speed gravel road testing. Noting that it was the first such event in the magazine's 45 year history, he criticised the vehicle's stability system stating that "Deficiencies in the Kluger's ESP contributed to the crash". Six of the seven other judges also stated that they felt "the vehicle's ESP performance was sub-standard", and remarked that the vehicle was "almost dangerous on dirt [roads]". In a written response, Toyota disputed the circumstances of the accident and criticised the testing procedures as "unscientific".[21][22]


2008-2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited

The Kluger Hybrid features Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive which continues to allow an electric only powered mode for short distances and speeds. Weight and cost have been improved over the previous hybrid.[23][24]

The expanded size and new features have led to an increase of 500 pounds to its curb weight. All Highlander Hybrids are all-wheel drive, and the EPA has rated the hybrid at 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km/32 mpg-imp) city/25 mpg-US (9.4 L/100 km/30 mpg-imp) highway,[25] same as the previous model. The Highlander's fuel economy, while better than the Lexus RX 400h's, lags behind the compact 4cyl Ford Escape Hybrid and latest RX 450h, but still produces significantly fewer emissions than the non hybrid version with a CARB SULEV rating.

The Highland Hybrid continues to use the same 3.3-liter 3MZ-FE V6 (208 hp) offered in AWD from the prior model, net power is 270 hp (201 kW). VDIM and Electronically Controlled Brake remain new features include a driver selectable electric only EV mode (when possible) and another ECON mode which restricts acceleration and minimizes air conditioning during acceleration.

For the 2011 model year the Highlander Hybrid was upgraded with the 2GR-FXE V6, a powetrain similar to the RX450h, now rated at 28 city/28 highway/28 combined mpg.

Highlander FCHV (2007–)

It was a test vehicle using compressed hydrogen gas, with average fuel economy of 68.3 miles/kg (approximate mpg equivalent).[26]

The vehicle was unveiled in 2007 LA motor show.[27]

Chinese version

The Chinese version of the Highlander (ASU40/GSU45) was unveiled at the 13th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition.[28]


It was built in its Kyūshū, Japan assembly plant and its Ikeda, Osaka, Japan assembly plant beginning in May of 2007.GAC Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. (GTMC) in Nansha District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China began to produce Toyota Highlander starting May 25th, 2009.[29]


Including hybrid

Calendar year US sales
2000[30] n/a
2001 86,699
2002[31] 113,134
2003 120,174
2004[32] 133,077
2005 137,409
2006[33] 129,794
2007 127,878
2008[34] 104,661
2009 83,118[35]

Hybrid sales: [36]

Calendar year US sales
2005 17,989
2006 31,485
2007 22,052
2008 19,441
2009 11,086

See also

  • List of hybrid vehicles
  • Comparison of Toyota hybrids


Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Toyota Highlander. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia

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