Toyota Higlander, the proof – the maxi SUV becomes hybrid

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The Toyoya Highlander is a very particular car, which occupies a slice of the market that is only a niche in Europe, and even more so in Italy. After all, with measures close to five meters, the large Japanese SUV is more suited to the American scenarios, for which it was designed from the beginning, at the end of the last millennium. What we tried in the Roman hinterland, in fact, is the fourth generation of the Highlander, which for the first time is imported into Italy. With this model, moreover, Toyota expands its range of SUVs going to preside over the E segment. R and the stainless RAV4. In this way Toyota will have a fully full-hybrid SUV line-up, as the Highlander is only offered with such a powertrain. Under the imposing bodywork, in fact, there is the fourth generation full-hybrid system, combined with AWD-i all-wheel drive.

The total power is 248 HP and there are two electric motors that work together with the thermal, a 2.5 4-cylinder petrol and Atkinson cycle: the first is located under the front hood, while the second is under the central row of seats, together to the 6.5 Ah NiMh (nickel metal hydride) battery. The homologated data speak of an average consumption of 6.6 l / 100 km and CO2 emissions of 149 g / km, which constitute the best power / CO2 ratio in the E segment, excluding plug-in models. A record that is also achieved thanks to the TNGA-K platform, which allows to contain the weight within 21 quintals. Inside, Highlander has seven seats in three rows (the second can slide 18 cm) and excellent comfort on board, both in terms of soundproofing and suspension absorption. The use of an acoustic windscreen and front windows, the adoption of sound-absorbing surfaces on the roof, dashboard and floor, as well as soundproofed wheel arches and load compartment linings create a very quiet interior.

Using only five seats, the trunk has a useful volume that varies from 579 to 658 liters, depending on the positioning of the central bench, while using all the seats it drops to 268; if, on the other hand, only the front row is kept, 1,909 liters of useful capacity are reached. The interior, in any case, is littered with many storage compartments, several of which are equipped with USB sockets. In this regard, the equipment is complete already from the access version and includes keyless access, full-led headlights, three-zone climate control, heated seats and wireless charging. There is also the most recent version of the “Toyota Safety Sense” which includes automatic emergency braking with recognition (even at night) of pedestrians and cyclists, adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, lane maintenance, assistance at intersections. road and emergency steering.

With a maximum speed of 180 km / h and a sprint from 0 to 100 km / h in 8.3 seconds, the performance is not lacking, but what is surprising is the intervention rate of the hybrid system, which also allows a load capacity of 2 tons. Its strength is also demonstrated by the fact that the Highlander can reach 125 km / h only with the thrust of the electric motors. Their contribution to real driving is continuous and well perceptible, so much so that approved consumption does not seem unattainable. Obviously a lot depends on the driving style and the mode chosen between Eco, Normal, Sport and Trail; all four can be used when the vehicle is in EV mode. But apart from the electronic adjustments, what we like about the Higlander is the feeling of control it gives when you are behind the wheel, both in the perception of the external dimensions and in the lightness and fluidity of the controls, which never give the impression of being driving a big and clumsy car.

Toyoya Highlander, the card
What is that
: the fourth generation of the large Toyota SUV born for the American market
Dimensions: length 4.96 meters, width 1.93 m height 1.75 m, pitch 2.85 m
Trunk: 168 to 1,909. liters
Motor: hybrid powertrain: 2.5 4-cylinder petrol Atkinson cycle + two electric motors, total power 248 HP

Exchange: planetary with continuous variation of the ratios
Traction: integral on-demand
Benefits: technology, comfort, space on board, efficiency
Defects: not very European design, infotainment logic not always immediate
Production: Princeton, Indiana, United States
Prices: the Toyota Higlhlander price list starts at 52,200 euros, but in the event of an exchange they immediately drop to 47,200 euros.

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