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2008 Toyota Highlander Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 19 reviews
The Toyota Highlander received a complete makeover for 2008, its first full redesign since the vehicle's introduction in 2001. The new Highlander is larger, roomier, and more powerful than the previous year's model, yet it uses no more fuel than earlier models, Toyota notes, a testimony to the efficiency of the SUV's design. The automaker also notes that the Highlander is quieter, smarter, more comfortable, and safer than its predecessors, thanks to a number of enhancements and upgrades.
The changes start on the outside, with a new look designed to evoke the future, according to the automaker. It's certainly a contemporary look, with a sloped-back roof, prominent wheel wells, a high nose, clean grille, elongated headlights, and five-spoke wheels. Whether it's an actual improvement over the previous year's design is up for debate, but to be honest, the design is almost secondary to the vehicle's other category-leading elements.
Safety was one of Toyota's preeminent concerns when redesigning the Highlander, and the automaker responded by equipping the midsize SUV with antilock brakes, traction control, brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic power steering, and a new feature called enhanced vehicle stability control. It's also the first Toyota vehicle with active head restraints and a new hood and fender designed to crumple on impact with a pedestrian.
The 2008 Highlander sits on a new chassis borrowed from the Camry and the Avalon. It's nearly four inches longer and three inches wider than the previous year's model, with an inch more ground clearance for those drivers considering going off-road on the way to work or the grocery store.
The Highlander features three rows of seating, with a second row available as a pair of captain's chairs with arm rests or a bench seat to provide more room for passengers. The third-row bench seat has foldable headrests, so it can be converted into a flat cargo area.
The Highlander will be available in Base, Sport, and Limited versions, all equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower (up 55 horsepower from the previous year). A Highlander Hybrid version with Toyota's advanced Hybrid Synergy Drive will also be available. The Hybrid drive is rated at 270 horsepower, yet the vehicle will get 31 miles to the gallon in the city and 27 on the highway.
Each trim of the Highlander will be available in a two-wheel-drive and a four-wheel-drive version, both with a standard five-speed automatic transmission. Toyota notes that the Highlander will be loaded with standard features, while options will include leather trim, heated seats, a 9-speaker JBL sound system with a CD changer, and a tow package with 5,000 pounds of maximum towing capacity.
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Toyota Highlander Questions
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