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Highlander to Get New 2.7L, Four-Cylinder Engine

Toyota ’s 2009 Highlander mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) will offer an all-new, 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that will generate 187 hp (139 kW) at 5,800 rpm and 186 lb-ft (252 Nm) of torque at 4,100 RPM on regular 87 octane fuel.

The new four-cylinder engine will be mated to an all-new six-speed electronically-controlled automatic overdrive transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). The new transmission will help deliver quiet and smooth performance on par with a V6 and acceleration that is quick for a four-cylinder, according to Toyota. When equipped with a tow package, the new powerplant will achieve a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

The Highlander equipped with the new four-cylinder will be EPA-rated as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEVII). Official EPA fuel efficiency ratings will be announced closer to launch.

With the new four-cylinder engine, Highlander will be the only mid-size SUV in the current market to offer three powerplant choices: the top end 3.5-liter V6; the full-time 4WD-i Highlander Hybrid, equipped with a 3.3-liter V-6 combined with front and rear electric motors; and the new 2.7-liter I4.



How does this qualify as "green"?
What's the fuel economy rating vs. the current model?

Thanks in advance.


Are there technical reasons for not putting the I4 engine in the hybrid? Do they just want to get more hours of operation on a new engine before they put it into their hybrid?


Wow, 3 different engines. But strange. I thought they used the mass of the hybrid motors to smooth out the big 2.7 L 4 cyl, but then re-read it.
I think they need some bashing.


Is Toyota discontuing the hybrid option in the 2009 Highlander? If not, which engine will be used with the hybrid? Sorry to be all questions this evening.


To clarify...
Toyota now offers 3 Highlander ICE choices:

3.5 liter V6, 5spd auto rated at 18/24 in 2wd and 17/23mpg in 4wd mode

3.3 liter gasoline-electric, Hybrid ECVT drive rated at 27/25 available in only a 4wd mode

and now this, 2.7 liter I4, 6spd auto rated at ???

Definitely nothing to write home about.

However, if the '09 Highlander Hybrid would come standard with an Atkinson cycle 2.7 liter I4 instead of the current 3.3 liter V6 + plus allowed for a 2wd variant- then we might have had something worthy of posting here on "Green" Car Congress.

I venture to guess that this combination would have been good enough for a 32/29mpg rating.

Additionally, make this 2.7 liter 2wd Hybrid the powertrain of choice for a re-designed Sienna Hybrid minivan- and Toyota would have a home-run! There's a market niche (30mpg minivans) just waiting to be filled. I would line up to buy two.

Toyota (or anyone else)- are you listening?


I think that I might offer the I4 in hybrid to compete with Escape/Mariner/Tribute hybrids. The fact that they were able to sell as many V6 hybrids as they did surprised me. The V6 Accord did not do so well and I concluded that it might work in the SUV segment better than cars.


Plenty of 30mpg (US) Minivans in Europe - using Diesel.
The Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi gets 43.6 mpg (IMP) = 34.9 mpg (US) in the Euro mixed driving cycle.
This is the manual model, which most people would buy.

Most of the manufacturers have similarly sized Minivans with similar MPG in the diesel variant.
Very few people buy petrol MPVs (or SUVs) in Ireland (or most of Europe) - it is nearly always diesel.

I get about 36mpg (IMP) in a Renault Grand Espace 2.2 dCi in actual mixed driving, but there are more efficient models available now.

It is a pity there are no hybrid MPVs (as we call them) available, as the vehicles are fairly heavy on the juice, and people with 4 or more kids actually NEED these vehicles.
Even stop-start would be a starting point.


In the US (which is where the other poster was referring to offering a 30mpg minivan) most people would NOT buy a manual minivan. You would be lucky to get even 5% penetration with a manual transmission model in minivans (unless it were something along the lines of a dual-clutch style automated manual.


^^ true to what the above said. A minivan is not built for handling purposes due to its super long wheelbase and weight that it drags along with (people + cargo). To the contrary this engine will be in the Toyota Venza as well so it would be interesting if the Venza would cannibalize Highlander sales because of the similar interior dimensions offered but only difference is exterior.

Although I don't mind waiting for a new body style of the sienna to come out though before they release a hybrid powertrain in it, because the current model just looks so dull compared to the Honda Oddessy.

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