Highlander, Toyota’s largest hybrid SUV, is to go on sale in the UK for the first time, from early 2021.

It will be offered exclusively with a full hybrid powertrain and will extend Toyota’s hybrid SUV line-up, joining the RAV4, C-HR and the new Yaris Cross that will also be introduced next year.

Toyota has 23 years’ experience in developing hybrid technology, during which time it has produced nine models, gained 15 million customers and progressed to a fourth generation of self-charging hybrid electric powertrains.

The Highlander measures 4,950mm long and is fitted with striking 20-inch alloy wheels, helping create an urban SUV look that is sleek, dynamic and sophisticated, matched with the power, durability and rugged appeal of a versatile AWD vehicle.

The interior offers practicality and durability in a comfortable, premium-quality environment. This is an authentic seven-seater: a 180mm sliding range for the second row seats ensures spacious third row accommodation for two adults and easy access.

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 can bring the load capacity up to 1,909 litres.

The cabin design provides plenty of storage compartments plus USB ports for the front and second row seats. Premium equipment features will include a multimedia system, satellite navigation, head-up display, wireless phone charging, smartphone connection via Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto, ventilated front seats and a digital rear-view mirror that provides a wide image unobscured by rear passengers or headrests. Details of UK specifications and pricing will be announced nearer the time of launch.

The Highlander’s full hybrid powertrain features a 2.5-litre 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 gives the hybrid Highlander the best balance of power and CO2 emissions in its segment.

The driver can use the vehicle’s Drive Mode Select system to switch between Eco, Normal, Sport and Trail modes. Each of these can also be used when Highlander is running its separately switchable EV all-electric mode.

Noise reduction measures to maintain a quiet cabin environment include an acoustic windscreen, silencers in the roof, dashboard and floor, and liners in the wheel arches and load space. The calm interior adds to the inherently smooth and quiet performance of the full hybrid powertrain.

The new Highlander is equipped with the latest Toyota Safety Sense package of active safety and driver assistance systems. These include 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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