2020 Toyota Highlander debuts in UAE and KSA as hybrid-only model
Toyota’s SUV line-up in the GCC is already crowded, with every niche filled with a model or two, mostly with offerings built in the Far East. However, Toyota offers a completely different set of SUVs in the West, such as the C-HR, the Highlander and the 4Runner, which fill segments in North America that are already taken here. So as a compromise, Toyota is now offering hybrid versions of some of those SUVs in the Middle East, as a way to differentiate them from existing offerings here. First came the C-HR HEV (while killing off the short-lived Prius here), and now the Highlander HEV has debuted in UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Based on the all-new 2020 Highlander built in the United States, the HEV version is powered by a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine that produces 183 hp and is paired with two electric motors that generate 191 hp. The combined output goes up to 240 hp. The system is mated to a CVT automatic and all-wheel-drive. Drivers can also select from ECO, NORMAL, and SPORT driving modes.
The Highlander HEV’s hybrid-electric batteries are continuously charged by either the petrol engine or when decelerating and braking, so it is not a plug-in hybrid.
The cabin includes features such as a dual-zone automatic air conditioning system with rear control panel and Smart-flow (S-FLOW) control that provides air conditioning to occupied seats only. The cluster gauge features a 7-inch colour multi-information display (MID), which is complemented by an 8-inch display audio system, a large coloured head-up display, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
Additional features include ambient illumination, a 6-speaker sound system, multi-adjustable power driver seat, 60:40 split-folding second-row seats, fully flat-folding third-row seats, power tailgate, and smart entry and start system.
Toyota Safety Sense is offered, which is a safety technology package that includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) with All-Speed Range, Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), and Automatic High Beam (AHB). In addition, the car has 7 SRS airbags, including side-curtain airbags for all three rows, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), trailer-sway control, Electric Parking Brake (EPB) with brake hold function, Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Panoramic View Monitor (PVM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Tyre Pressure Warning System (TPWS), driver and front passenger seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters, and a clearance sonar featuring eight sensors located in the front and rear bumpers.
Bringing the hybrid Highlander to the Middle East is a good move by Toyota in the Middle East, as their line-up of truck-like SUVs in the mid-range segment is rather crude in the face of modern crossover rivals. Available in two trim levels, the lack of a lower-priced base model will hamper sales, but otherwise prices align decently with top-spec petrol-only rivals.
For prices and specs, visit the Toyota Highlander buyer guide.