Although Toyota still stubbornly refuses to offer a Highlander SUV with a diesel engine that could be able to deliver an adequate combination of impressive fuel economy, high torque and still fairly low maintenance costs, the company still invests lots of efforts to squeeze some more from a gasoline engine. At least, it was recently reported that the 2009 Toyota Highlander mid-size crossover SUV will come powered by a new, more fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine.
However, producing only 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, it will be just a shadow of current Highlander’s 3.5-liter V6 VVT-i engine, which is capable of producing up to 270 hp 248 pound-feet of torque.
Instead of the five-speed gearbox that the V6 is mated for, the 2009 Toyota Highlander will feature more efficient six-speed transmission good for towing up to 3500 pounds. The company says, that the 2.7-liter four-cylinder powerplant will come as standard on the FWD model with two rows of seating. The third row will also be available with this engine, but only as an option.
Toyota promises to announce recommended prices, equipment options and official EPA fuel economy ratings closer to the product launch, which is scheduled for January 2009.
However, if you can’t wait to start saving fuel, there is a 2008 Toyota Highlander hybrid available for as low as $33,700.
The hybrid crossover SUV features a 3.3-liter V6 270 hp engine and offers an impressive fuel economy of 31 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
See also: 2008 Toyota Highlander hybrid