Toyota has announced styling changes, new equipment, additional safety systems, and hybrid powertrain upgrade to the popular SUV for the 2011 model year.
The 2011 Highlander is distinguished by a new front fascia, hood, fenders, headlights, taillights, and 17-inch wheels. The top Limited line offers 19-inch wheels and silver roof rails. The SE adds a power liftgate.
Changes to the 2011 Hybrid include exterior design features to differentiate it from its gasoline sibling. The two versions share the new fenders and hood, but the Hybrid gets a unique grill, front fascia, body-color rockers with chrome accents, and vertical fog lamps. The new projector-beam-style headlights and taillights have blue covers. Daytime running lights are now standard across the Highlander line.
The existing 187-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine is now offered on the SE 2WD model and the 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 is standard on the Limited and available for other trims.
The Highlander Hybrid gets a more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 280-hp with fuel economy estimated at 28 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Last year, the EPA figures were 27 and 25, respectively.
All 2011 models will have a standard 50/50-split third-row seat and rear climate controls. A new Tech Audio package is standard on the SE and Limited trims; it features XM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB port. The package is optional on the Base, which adds many more features, including backup camera, eight-way power driver’s seat, tonneau cover, flip-up liftgate window, fog lamps and black roof rails. All models receive standard brake override technology.
The Base Hybrid now includes a standard eight-way power driver’s seat, and manual rear climate control, and there is an optional leather package. An optional navigation system is now available on the SE line. The Limited adds standard automatic climate control for the rear.
Highlander pricing begins at $27,390 for the base 2WD model going up to $36,345 for the Limited 4WD. The MSRP for Highlander Hybrid will start at $37,290 and stretch to $42,945 for the Limited model.
The freshened Highlander hits dealerships today.—Liza Barth