Toyota launched the hybrid versions of its Kluger and Harrier SUVs today in Japan.
The Kluger is sold in North America as the Highlander; the hybrid Harrier is the Japanese version of the Lexus RX400h (earlier post). Toyota announced the hybrid Highlander at the Detroit Auto Show last year, and has targeted its delivery in the US at around mid-year—after the arrival of the Lexus RX 400h hybrid in April.
The hybrid Kluger/Highlander combines a 3.3-liter V6 with a new, four-wheel drive version of the Hybrid Synergy Drive to produce approximately 270 peak system horsepower.
Toyota developed this version of the Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain specifically to meet the load-carrying requirements of a larger, mid-size SUV. It uses an all-new high-speed electric motor that operates at twice the speed and delivers more than twice the power as the motor used in the four-cylinder Prius.
At the announcement, Toyota Motor Corp president Fujio Cho said the world’s second-largest automaker plans to sell 1 million hybrid vehicles a year, although without specifying a date.