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May 11, 2020

Toyota to launch Highlander in UK and western Europe

Toyota will launch its largest hybrid SUV, the Highlander [aka Kluger in some markets], in the UK and western Europe for the first time, from early 2021.

By Olly Wehring

Toyota will launch its largest hybrid SUV, the Highlander [aka Kluger in some markets], in the UK and western Europe for the first time, from early 2021.

The latest generation went on sale in the US in February 2020. There it is offered with a choice of petrol-only 3.5-litre V6 or 2.5-litre I4 hybrid powertrains, 2WD or 4WD, seven or eight seats and several trim levels.

In Europe it will come only as a hybrid, supplementing the established D-segment RAV4 and C-segment C-HR and the upcoming B-segment Yaris Cross that will also be introduced next year.

The Highlander, built in Princeton, Indiana, has proved very popular in the US and, badged Kluger, in the RHD markets of Australia and NZ, also supplied by the US plant.

Toyota Australia said it would launch the new generation Kluger in the first half of 2021, offering both V6 petrol and I4 hybrid powertrains.

The large SUV is built on Toyota’s GA-K platform and is 4,950mm long with 20-inch alloy wheels.

The UK/European versions will have seven seats with a 180mm sliding range for the second row.

A kick sensor allows hands free access to the 658-litre luggage area. There’s also underfloor storage space, while fully flat folding the third and second row seats takes load capacity to 1,909 litres.

USB ports for the front and second row seats are included and the model will be equipped to premium level with multimedia system, satellite navigation, head up display, wireless phone charging, smartphone connection via Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto, ventilated front seats and a RAV4-like digital rear view mirror.

Exact details of UK specification and pricing will be announced later.

The fourth generation full hybrid powertrain uses a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with front and rear electric motors. The rear motor provides the vehicle’s AWD-i intelligent all wheel drive. A high voltage, nickel metal hydride battery is located beneath the second row seats.

Total system power is 241bhp and WLTP combined cycle CO2 emissions are 146g/km with 42.8mpg fuel consumption.

This, claims Toyota, gives the hybrid Highlander the best balance of power and CO2 emissions in its segment.

The Drive Mode Select system enables the driver to switch between Eco, Normal, Sport and Trail modes which can also be used when the Highlander is running in selectable all-electric mode.

The standard Safety Sense package of active safety and driver assistance systems includes a Pre-Collision System with active steer assist, to provide further collision avoidance support. The PCS can also detect pedestrians in the vehicle’s path by both and day and night, and bicycle riders in daylight. Other features include full-range Adaptive Cruise Control with Road Sign Assist, Lane Departure Alert and Lane Tracing Assist, and Automatic High Beam.

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