Toyota continues its push for hybrid vehicles with the
Highlander Hybrid. The new Highlander Hybrid and is based on the new Toyota
Camry/Avalon chassis and rides on a wheelbase that is 3" longer. The
vehicle is also 3" wider and 4" longer than the previous Highlander
Sadly, the powertrain for the 2008 Highlander Hybrid is a carryover
from the previous model. In this case, the old 3.3 liter V6 (which itself
is an outgrowth of the even older 3.0 liter corporate V6) and continuously
variable transmission (CVT) is still being used to carry the majority of the
load on the vehicle. There was speculation that the new 3.5 liter V6 would also
be paired with the Synergy hybrid system used on the 2008 Highlander hybrid,
but keeping the price down on the model was probably the reasoning for the
That being said, the Highlander retains its EPA rating of
31MPG/27MPG city/highway despite picking up an additional 500 pounds of heft.
The 2008 Highlander Hybrid also offers the option to shut off the gasoline
engine completely and run solely on battery power according to AutoblogGreen.
The only problem is that the Highlander Hybrid’s NiMH batteries mean that you’ll
only be able to travel an astonishing one
mile on battery power alone.
GM’s 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line promises to deliver as much as 10
miles of battery-only power thanks to its lithium-ion batteries.
Pricing has not yet been announced for the new 2008
Highlander Hybrid, but expect modest price increases over the 2007 model. The 2007
model retails between $32,490 for a FWD Highlander Hybrid Base to $36,550
for an AWD Highlander Hybrid Limited.