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    William Maley

    Toyota Adds Some TRD Spice For Sequoia and Tundra, Makes RAV4 More Adventurous

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      It's all about the SUVs and trucks for Toyota's Chicago Auto Show debut


    The spotlight for Toyota's truck and SUV lineup has been on the Tacoma TRD Pro. But the company is moving the spotlight on three models; RAV4, Sequoia, and Tundra with the introduction of new trims and various updates.

    We'll work our way on three models that made their debut this morning at the Chicago Auto show in alphabetical order. First up is the 2018 RAV4 Adventure, position for those who live an active outdoor lifestyle. It certainly looks the part with a taller ride height, larger fender flairs, blacked-out 18-inch alloy wheels, and lower body cladding. The interior comes with all-weather floor mats, door sill protectors, and 120V outlet in the cargo area.

    Power still comes from a 2.5L four-cylinder with 176 horsepower and a six-speed automatic. But the Adventurer gets the RAV4's optional towing package as standard. This includes an upgraded radiator, engine oil cooler, and transmission oil cooler. The Adventurer goes on sale this September with pricing to announced at a later date.

    Next is the 2018 Sequoia. All trims will get the Toyota Safety Sense-P suite of active safety features as standard. This includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection. Outside, the Sequoia boasts a new front bumper and grille.

    There is a new trim joining the Sequoia lineup known as the TRD Sport. This trim features black mirror caps and exterior badges; smoked taillight lenses, and 20-inch alloy wheels finished in black. Black fabric covers the seats, with leather an option. There is also a TRD gear knob and TRD floor mats. Power comes from a 5.7L iForce V8 with 381 horsepower paired with a six-speed automatic. There is the choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Toyota has done some suspension work for the Sequoia TRD Sport with Bilstein shock absorbers and TRD antiroll bars.

    Finally, there is the 2018 Tundra. Like the Sequoia, the Tundra will get Toyota's Safety Sense-P suite as standard equipment, along with a revised grille and headlight designs. There will also be a TRD Sport trim on offer as well. For the Tundra, this includes a hood scoop, body color mirrors and bumpers; LED headlights, 20-inch silver aluminum wheels with black insets, and TRD Sport decals on the bedsides. Bilstein shocks and TRD front and rear antiroll bars are used to improve handling.

    The TRD Sport will be available on the double cab and CrewMax body styles, along with the choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

    The 2018 Sequoia and Tundra arrive at dealers in September.

    Source: Toyota
    Press Release is on Page 2


    Roughing It in Style - - Toyota Introduces the New 2018 Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport and RAV4 Adventure Models

    • New Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport Grades Receive added Styling and Performance Handling Upgrades
    • Standard Toyota Safety Sense – P
    • Refreshed Styling on all Tundra and Sequoia Models
    • New RAV4 Adventure adds Dirt-Inspired Styling and Higher Ride Height

    CHICAGO, Feb. 9, 2017 - - Families on the go, TRD style!  Toyota’s Tundra full-size pickup truck and Sequoia large SUV have long been ideal for adventuresome families in need of that unique combination of performance, utility, towing ability and comfort.  For 2018, the experts at Toyota Racing Development (TRD) have developed the new TRD Sport grade for Tundra and Sequoia, offering active families an extra dose of sportier styling and performance for added fun and excitement on their next journey.   

    In addition to the new TRD Sport grades, Tundra and Sequoia will receive new styling, convenience and safety features for all 2018 models, including Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) as standard equipment.

    Outdoor family fun isn’t exclusive to Toyota’s two largest truck and SUV models.  For the 2018 model year, the popular RAV4 compact crossover adds a new Adventure grade for young families looking for fun in out-of-the-way places.   Already a fun-to-drive crossover for young families with active lifestyles, the new RAV4 Adventure adds a sportier take-me-anywhere attitude for the weekend warrior.

    Tundra TRD Sport
    The new Tundra TRD Sport is available on 4x4 and 4x2 grades in CrewMax and Double Cab configurations and powered by the proven 381-horsepower 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine.  Driving performance will be enhanced with the addition of TRD Sport Tuned Bilstein Shocks and TRD front and rear anti-sway bars.  Key exterior features for the TRD Sport include:

    • Color-keyed mirrors, front and rear bumpers
    • Color-keyed hood scoop
    • 20-inch alloy silver sport wheels
    • LED Headlights with smoked chrome bezel, Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and LED Fog Lights
    • Mesh grille with body color surround
    • TRD Sport bedside graphic

    Exterior colors for the TRD Sport will include Super White, Magnetic Gray, Midnight Black Pearl, Blazing Blue Pearl and Barcelona Red Metallic.

    The exterior styling is complemented with interior features that include a TRD shift knob and TRD Sport floor mats. 

    The TRD Sport is just part of an overall refresh for the 2018 Tundra.  Safety will be enhanced on all Tundra models with the addition of Toyota Safety Sense™ (TSS-P) as standard equipment.  This multi-feature advanced active safety suite bundles a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Auto High Beams (AHB) and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).  Drivers can view the status of TSS-P through an upgraded Multi-information Display.

    The 2018 Tundra will receive exterior updates that include a new mesh grille on select trims while the Tundra Limited and 1794 Edition will receive a new billet style grille.  The Limited, Platinum and 1794 Edition will be equipped with new LED Headlights and Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and LED Fog Lights.  LED headlights and Fog Lights are also available when the TRD Off-Road Package is selected on SR5 models.  The SR and SR5 grades will receive halogen headlights with a black bezel and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL). 

    Sequoia TRD Sport
    The brawny 2018 Sequoia TRD Sport will be available in 4x4 and 4x2 models equipped with the 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine.   Road handling is enhanced with TRD Sport Tuned Bilstein Shocks and TRD front and rear anti-sway bars.  Key exterior features on the Sequoia TRD Sport will include:

    • New front grille and bumper grille insert
    • Metallic black mirror caps
    • 20-inch alloy black sport wheels
    • Darkened rear tail light housing
    • Black satin finish TRD Sport badging on the front doors and a Metallic black and chrome Sequoia badge on the liftgate

    Exterior colors for the Sequoia TRD Sport will include Super White, Magnetic Gray Metallic, and the new Midnight Black Metallic.  The stylish exterior treatment will be complemented by an assortment of interior convenience features exclusive to the Sequoia TRD Sport including:

    • Standard black fabric seven-passenger seating
    • Optional Black leather captain chair seats (part of the optional Premium Package)
    • TRD shift knob
    • TRD Sport floor mats
    • TRD Sport sill protectors

    In addition to the TRD Sport, Sequoia will be available in SR5, Limited and Platinum grades in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations.  All will be powered by the i-Force V8 engine. Like Tundra, the 2018 Sequoia will raise the bar in the area of safety as TSS-P will be standard on all models (includes PCS w/PD, LDA, AHB, and DRCC).    

    All Sequoia models will also come standard with new LED headlights with LED DRL, and LED fog lights.  Additional exterior updates include a new front grille and bumper grille insert, distinctive to each grade.  A bumper opening chrome surround will be equipped on TRD Sport, Limited and Platinum grades. 

    The 2018 Sequoia will be available in eight exterior colors including three new colors: Midnight Black Metallic, Shoreline Blue Pearl and Toasted Walnut Pearl.  Additional colors include: Super White, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Blizzard Pearl, and Sizzling Crimson.

    Inside, all Sequoia models will come standard with a new instrumentation panel gauge cluster and 4.2-inch Multi-information Display (MID) that tracks the status of TSS-P.  Also new are an updated center speaker grille smoothed to the surrounding dashboard and interior trim with wood-like accents for Platinum grade.

    RAV4 Adventure
    The active lifestyle-inspired RAV4 Adventure will be available in front-wheel drive with an Automatic Limited-Slip Differential, or with Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive.  Both versions feature a standard Tow Prep Package that includes an upgraded radiator and supplemental engine oil and transmission fluid coolers, as well as a suspension system with a higher ride height.  As with all RAV4 models, the Adventure grade will come standard with Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), and TSS-P.  Exterior styling features exclusive to the RAV4 Adventure includes:

    • Large overfender flares
    • 18-inch five-spoke black alloy wheels with 235/55R18 tires
    • Lower body guards
    • Black headlight bezels
    • Black fog lamp surround, roof racks and Adventure badging

    The RAV4 Adventure will be available in five exterior colors including Black, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Super White, and one new color for RAV4 models, Ruby Flare Pearl.

    The sporty exterior features of the RAV4 Adventure are mated to exclusive interior features that include:

    • Unique interior trim panels
    • Leather-wrapped shift knob
    • 120V/100W power outlet in the cargo area
    • Adventure door sill protectors
    • All-weather mats floor and cargo mats with Adventure logo

    Additional features new for 2018 in select RAV4 models include optional heat/power fabric front row seats, heated steering wheel, and wiper de-icer as part of a new Cold Weather Package.

    The 2018 RAV4 Adventure grade along with the Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport grades will begin arriving in dealer showrooms in September.

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    TRD Upgrade, is nice starting point. Toyota, Listen to Frisky, You need to do way more in the update department.

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    18 hours ago, Frisky Dingo said:

    Actually just found pictures elsewhere. Looks like the Sequoia got a new dash and instrument cluster. About time.

    That's good but it does seem like Toyota is pulling the Ford treatment (the current Expy) and letting it languish by not giving a fresh re-design on the outside as well.

     

    BTW, where are these other pictures? I'm guessing that it probably matches what's in the Tundra now?

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    11 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

    That's good but it does seem like Toyota is pulling the Ford treatment (the current Expy) and letting it languish by not giving a fresh re-design on the outside as well.

     

    BTW, where are these other pictures? I'm guessing that it probably matches what's in the Tundra now?

    I think they were at C&D. There were no interior shots of the Tundra, but this piece mentions it received a new instrument cluster, so I would assume they got matching pieces.

    Also in question is if the mild changes they made to the front of the TRD Sequoia extend to other trims. I would think, but then again.....

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      LE and above grades offer Service and Remote Connectivity. A move up to XLE or Limited grade offers available Dynamic Navigation. A move up to Platinum grade offers standard Dynamic Navigation and the 12.3-inch screen.
       
      The JBL® Premium Audio System is standard for Limited and Platinum grades and rocks music of all genres with 1,200 watts of power playing through 11 speakers in nine locations. Clari-Fi®technology breathes new life into compressed digital music formats, with the result like a mobile concert. The system will not, however, settle arguments over which music to play.
       
      Exceptional Toyota Value, Naturally 
      Toyota’s typical outstanding value is clearly evident in the Highlander L grade, where the standard equipment list includes features that one might expect in an upgraded model:
       
      L: Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 18-in. alloy wheels 3-zone automatic climate control 4.2-in. Multi-information Display (MID) in instrument panel 8-way power driver’s seat Auto up/down for all power windows Multimedia with 8-inch touchscreen display Front seat reading lights and cargo area light. LED headlamps and taillamps Privacy glass on rear side, quarter and liftgate windows Smart Key entry on front doors and back door  
      LE adds over L: Power liftgate Blind Spot Monitor Additional multimedia capability LED fog lamps Leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob  
      XLE adds over LE: 10-way power driver’s seat 2nd-row sun shades 4-way power front passenger seat 7-in. Multi-information display Auto dimming rear-view mirror with garage door opener Auto LED headlamps with Auto High Beam Plated interior door handle Heated front seats LED fog lamps Machined-face alloy wheels Captain’s Chairs second row (standard) Power tilt and slide moon roof Roof rails SofTex®-trimmed seats and door trim  
      Limited adds over XLE: 120V 2nd-row power outlet 20-in. Limited style alloy wheels Ambient interior lighting Cargo area cover Driver’s seat memory Hands-free power liftgate Heated and ventilated front seats “Highlander” puddle lamp Perforated leather trimmed seats in Beige, Gray or Black Metal door scuff plates Projector beam headlamp with chrome bezels and separate, stylized DRLs Wood interior trim JBL® Audio System as standard Embedded navigation system  
      Platinum adds over Limited: 12.3-in. Multimedia head unit 20-in Platinum style wheels Adaptive, self-leveling headlamps Additional leather seating color choice: Glazed Caramel Digital display rear view mirror Embossed, perforated leather trimmed seats Head-up display Heated 2nd-row seats Illuminated door scuff plates Panoramic moonroof Rain-sensing windshield wipers Birds eye camera  
      Safety at Its Core
      The new TNGA-K platform forms the foundation for exemplary collision protection in the 2020 Toyota Highlander, while a suite of standard driver-assist technologies is designed to help prevent collisions, or to mitigate their impacts.
       
      The 2020 Highlander is equipped with the second-generation of Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0). Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) are standard on LE grade and above. Rear Cross Traffic Braking (RCTB) is available with clearance sonar on Limited and above.
       
      The standard backup camera features projected path. A Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, available on Limited and standard on Platinum, provides a live rotating 360-degree view around the vehicle.
       
      The 2020 Highlander is equipped with eight airbags, including side-curtain airbags for all three rows. Toyota’s Star Safety System includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Toyota took the wraps off the all-new Toyota Highlander at the New York International Auto Show today.  This new fourth generation Highlander rides on Toyota's new TNGA-K platform.   
      Powering the Highlander will be a choice of a V6 with 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque with both direct and port injection, or a hybrid that is 17% more efficient than the outgoing model. The hybrid is a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder combined with two electric motors for a total system rating of 240 horsepower.  Preliminary estimates put the Highlander hybrid at 34 mpg combined fuel efficiency.   The new hybrid setup is lighter and more compact than before while the battery pack has been reduced in physical size and now sits below the rear seats so as not to reduce cargo room. 
      On the safety front, Toyota loaded the Highlander up.  Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard.  This includes Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard on LE grade and above. Rear Cross Traffic Braking is available with clearance sonar on Limited and above.
       
      The standard backup camera features projected path. A Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, available on Limited and standard on Platinum, provides a live rotating 360-degree view around the vehicle.
       
      The 2020 Highlander is equipped with eight airbags, including side-curtain airbags for all three rows. Toyota’s Star Safety System includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control , Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution , Brake Assist , Anti-lock Braking System , and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
       
      More from Toyota on the Press Release on Page 2 
      World Premiere of All-New 2020 Highlander at New York International Auto Show
      Toyota’s Fourth Generation SUV Redesigned from the Ground Up;
      Offers Best-in-Class MPG for Hybrid
        17 Percent Fuel Economy Improvement Over Current Gen Hybrid with Estimated 34 MPG Combined Bold, Chiseled New Design New TNGA-K Platform Enhances Driving Refinement Standard Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, SiriusXM®, Waze and Amazon Alexa Compatibility Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 Standard (TSS 2.0) Available with 7- or 8-Passenger Seating Choice of V6 or New-Generation Hybrid Powertrain New Available Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Driveline Disconnect and Multi Terrain Select Largest in segment 12.3” multimedia display April 17, 2019 NEW YORK (April 17, 2019) – Toyota is on a major roll with new SUVs, especially the next-generation three-row 2020 Highlander debuting at the New York International Auto Show. Arriving in Toyota dealerships in winter, the Highlander Gas model will arrive in December 2019 and the Highlander Hybrid will make its way to customers in February 2020.
       
      Just as the first RAV4 launched the compact crossover SUV segment 22 years ago, the original Highlander redefined the midsize family SUV when it arrived in 2001. At a time when most midsize SUVs were truck-based, the Highlander’s unibody structure with four-wheel independent suspension quickly became the template for a new segment of more comfortable and family-friendly SUVs. After adding a third row, the Highlander not only grew in size, but is also now the best-selling retail model in the segment since 2016.
       
      Now, the fourth-generation of this benchmark SUV brings a new level of bold, distinctive design to a foundation built on safety, comfort, quality, durability and reliability set by predecessors. The 2020 Highlander amplifies all qualities while taking on a dramatic new design direction that combines a powerful SUV presence with sophisticated detailing.
       
      The 2020 Highlander’s new sophisticated look, covers a new vehicle platform called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K). This robust new foundation, shared with other Toyota models, enables even greater capability, comfort and safety than before.
       
      The fourth-generation Highlander offers the choice between a powerful V6 or new-generation hybrid powertrain, with the gas version offering a manufacturer-estimated 22 MPG combined fuel economy and the Hybrid offering an manufacturer-estimated 34 MPG combined fuel economy.
       
      Whether they’re young families or empty nesters exploring a new chapter in life, safety remains the top priority for Highlander customers.  Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 comes standard in all models in the 2020 Highlander. This comprehensive active safety system includes:
        Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA) Automatic High Beam (AHB) (New) Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) (New) Road Sign Assist (RSA) Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection offers automatic braking capability under certain circumstances should the driver not react in time in a system-detected emergency situation. Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Parking Support Braking and Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) are available depending on the model grade.
       
      The 2020 Highlander delivers renowned Toyota value in a choice of five grades, starting with a new L grade, then layering amenities and technology in LE, XLE, Limited and the top-of line Platinum. (The Hybrid is offered on all but the L grade.)
       
      The 2020 Highlander offers cutting-edge entertainment and connectivity for all ages through its intuitive and versatile multimedia system, including a new 12.3-inch touchscreen display on the Platinum grade and 8-inch on the other models. The available new JBL Premium Sound System delivers a whopping 1,200 watts of power to turn any music source into a mobile concert.
       
      The midsize SUV segment has become fiercely competitive, and the 2020 Toyota Highlander is ready to take on all.
       
      The Strong, Athletic Type
      A sculpted new shape with chiseled lines gives the 2020 Highlander a more powerful stance, yet with a modern, sophisticated attitude. The 2020 Highlander remains a family-friendly SUV, now with capability for bigger family adventures.
       
      Setting off the new design, the L, LE and XLE grades feature a black front grille with silver trim, while the Limited and Platinum grades are distinguished by a black grille with chrome trim and chrome-plated lower rear fascia, premium projector headlamps and the Highlander’s first-ever 20-inch alloy wheels. The Platinum stands apart with silver painted front bumper and rear fascia and a unique 20-inch wheel.
       
      Accentuating the 2020 Highlander’s bold lines, the exterior color palette carries over three colors from 2019 (Blizzard Pearl ($395 option), Celestial Silver Metallic and Midnight Black Metallic) while adding five new ones: Magnetic Gray Metallic, Moon Dust (a striking blue premium paint), Ruby Flare Pearl (a daring red premium paint), Blueprint and Opulent Amber (a deep, luxurious brown).
       
      While Highlander’s new design will turn heads everywhere it goes, it’s also highly functional. Greater aerodynamic efficiency reduces wind noise while enhancing vehicle stability, and even the taillights and side mirror designs lend a hand.
       
      The fourth-generation Highlander is 2.36 inches (60mm) longer than before, all in the cargo area to add even greater cargo volume than before. The second row can be slid an extra 1.2-in. further up to increase distance between the second and third rows.
       
      The TNGA-K platform, which makes extensive use of high-strength steel, gives the Highlander a stiffer unibody structure than the previous model. Its inherent strength allows tuning for the front strut and rear multi-link suspension that enhances agility and a smaller turning circle while also providing a smoother and quieter ride than before.
       
       The presence of takumi is evident whenever the driver experiences the Highlander’s premium touch and feel in everyday driving. Throughout vehicle development, these highly trained master craftsmen focused on the finest technical details to ensure a higher level of operating smoothness in all driving conditions - especially at everyday speeds.
       
       
      Take It All with You
      Looking sporty does not come at the expense of practicality in the 2020 Highlander. The L and LE grades come standard with a second-row bench for seating for eight, while the XLE and Limited grades come standard with a Captain’s Chair second row with seating for seven and the option of a second-row bench for seating for eight. Finally, the Platinum grade will come standard with a Captain’s Chair second row with seating for seven. Either way, the large rear doors provide easy access, while versatile seat folding features make it easy to enter the third row. And, passengers in the third row stay comfortable thanks to standard three-zone climate control that ensures ample flow of warmed or cooled air.
       
      With all seat rows in use, Highlander offers 16.1 cu. ft. of carrying space behind the third row. Folding the 60/40 split fold-flat third-row seatbacks opens the space to 40.6 cu. ft., and then folding the second row increases that to 73.3 cu. ft. The versatile cargo area makes the most of its additional length with side surfaces and pockets shaped for maximum space usage.

      Power, Performance and Panache … with Efficiency
      Power and efficiency are a whole lot sexier when wrapped in Highlander’s striking design. The 2020 Highlander offers a choice between two advanced powertrains, a gas V6 or a new version of the Toyota Hybrid System.

      The 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 is the epitome of smoothness. Its Toyota-innovated D-4S Injection system combines direct fuel injection with port fuel injectors to optimize efficiency, power and emissions in all conditions. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i) likewise ensures ideal response and efficiency at all engine speeds.

      That translates into 295 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. of torque, which further translates into exemplary everyday performance and generous towing capability. The Direct Shift 8-speed automatic transmission maximizes Highlander’s acceleration and highway merging capability while operating seamlessly and transparently.

      On V6 models, the available towing package enables a 5,000-pound towing capacity. The package includes a heavy-duty radiator with engine oil cooler and improved fan performance. Trailer Sway Control (TSC) uses the Vehicle Stability Control to help control unwanted trailer movement.
       
      Why use fuel when you don’t need to? The Highlander’s standard Stop and Start Engine System allows the engine to shut off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop, and then instantly restarts when the driver’s foot lifts from the brake pedal. This technology reduces fuel consumption and cuts emissions.


      Hybrid Aims Even Higher 
      Toyota made “hybrid” synonymous with high fuel efficiency more than 20 years ago. Later, Toyota introduced the first hybrid SUV in its class, the 2006 Highlander. Leave it to Toyota to again raise the bar for hybrid SUV functionality by making the 2020 model the most fuel-efficient Highlander Hybrid ever.

      The new-generation Toyota Hybrid System in the 2020 Highlander Hybrid combines a high-efficiency 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine with two electric motors in a system that’s more compact, and more efficient than before. The gas engine employs Variable Valve Timing-intelligent system by Electric motor (VVT-iE) on the intake camshaft, and VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft. A variable cooling system (electric water pump, electric thermostat) and a fully variable oil pump further improve engine efficiency.

      The bottom line is an eye opener for the efficiency-minded: 240 total system horsepower and an EPA-estimated 34 combined MPG. The latter is a 17-percent improvement over the previous-generation Highlander Hybrid’s 28 combined MPG. Yet, Highlander Hybrid still delivers the everyday acceleration, power and responsiveness that family buyers expect. In another Highlander first, the hybrid is now available in either 2WD or AWD, further expanding hybrid technology to a new group of buyers.

      The transaxle mounts the electric motors (MG1 and MG2) coaxially rather than in-line, and the resulting smaller and lighter package reduces frictional losses. The gas engine and MG2 work in concert to deliver dynamic performance, while both MG1 and MG2 charge the hybrid battery.

      To reduce the transaxle’s size and weight, the reduction gear is now a parallel shaft gear, rather than a planetary, and a new multi-function gear integrates the power-split planetary ring gear, parking gear, and counter-drive gear. New computer integration and a smaller, lighter power stack installed directly above the transaxle reduce energy transmission losses.

      The battery pack is small enough to be installed under the rear seats, so it does not take up any cargo or passenger space.  

      Seamless Everyday Performance
      The Highlander Hybrid delivers its exemplary fuel economy and performance without calling attention to its high-tech powertrain operation. Quite the contrary, like all Toyota Hybrid vehicles, it simply goes about its business in a transparent way. For example, the new system optimizes the level of electric motor assistance and gas engine speed without the engine running at high revs. Engine speed is synchronized with vehicle speed, yielding effortless and quiet acceleration.

      As on many modern vehicles, the Highlander Hybrid offers selectable NORMAL, ECO and SPORT driving modes that let the driver choose the vehicle’s performance personality. The bonus is the EV mode, which allows electric-only driving at low speeds for short distances.

      SPORT mode unlocks boost from the hybrid system for improved acceleration response. ECO mode gets maximum efficiency from the fuel and battery, while NORMAL mode is ideal for everyday driving.

      Special, easy-to-use hybrid tech adds an element of control and fun. Using a sequential shifting feature, the driver can “downshift” to increase the regenerative braking in steps, which fosters greater control when driving in hilly areas, for example.

      The 2020 Highlander Hybrid can also coach the driver to drive as economically as possible. For example, an accelerator guide function suggests an acceleration level to the driver according to the driving conditions, and a scoring function adds a measure of fun to eco driving.
       
      Features for More Efficiency
      Highlander Hybrid’s Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) analyzes the driver’s daily driving habits and upcoming road and traffic conditions to more efficiently charge and discharge the hybrid battery accordingly alongside actual driving.

      The more the vehicle is driven, the more data is accumulated, contributing to practical fuel efficiency. Many actual roads chosen to represent common usage scenarios, such as in urban congestion or on mountain roads, were driven on and analyzed to create control that feels natural to the driver when operating to enable more efficient driving.
       
      All-Wheel Drive Gets Smarter
      The 2020 Highlander gets a grip on any road with a choice of front-wheel drive or three different available all-wheel drive systems -- two for the V6 models and a unique AWD system for the Highlander Hybrid. For the Highlander Gas L, LE and XLE models, the optional AWD system can send up to 50 percent of available torque to the rear wheels to counter wheel slip when necessary.
       
      Sounding like something from a high-end sports car, Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD with Drive Mode Select and Driveline Disconnect is available for the Highlander Limited and Platinum for even greater agility and capability. In addition to governing torque distribution between the front and rear wheels, this advanced system uses special couplings to actively manage torque distribution between the left and right rear wheels.
       
      Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD doesn’t need wheel slippage before springing into action. Rather, a sophisticated AWD Integrated Management (AIM) manages Electric Power Steering (EPS), throttle control, transmission shift control and drive torque distribution to continually optimize handling.
       
      Using the Multi-Terrain Select control dial on the console, the driver can maximize traction when driving through inclement weather or road conditions. Mud & Sand mode works well for beach driving, while Rock & Dirt mode optimizes AWD traction for trails. The driver can monitor, in real time, torque allocation and slip control on the Multi-Information Display (MID).

      In addition, Highlander models include the following features for optimal on-road and off-road performance and safety:
        Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) Trailer Sway Control (TSC) Downhill Assist Control (DAC)  
      All-wheel drive is a great traction partner, but it’s not needed all the time, such as during steady highway cruising. In such situations, Rear Driveline Disconnect automatically disengages drive to the rear wheels and stops the propeller shaft’s rotation. As one might guess, that reduces the energy needed to propel the vehicle and therefore reduces fuel consumption. When AWD is needed, the system instantly re-engages, without the driver even noticing.
       

      Hybrid AWD
      As with the AWD system in the previous Highlander Hybrid, the 2020 model’s AWD employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. Like the hybrid powertrain itself, the AWD works seamlessly and transparently.
       
      The rear electric motor operates independently, with no mechanical connection between the transmission and the rear wheels. Preemptively distributing more driving force to the rear wheels, such as when accelerating, helps suppress front wheel slip during off-the-line starts. The system also enhances cornering agility by helping to reduce understeer. And, when venturing onto a trail, the increased rear-wheel torque helps move the Highlander Hybrid confidently over rough or slippery surfaces.
       
      A New Level of Comfort
      From the L grade to the top-of-line Platinum, the 2020 Highlander offers its plushest accommodations ever. Designers took inspiration from luxury crafted interiors to create a more premium ambience. Details include softer padded surfaces and a more tailored look with stitching that continues from the door trim to the instrument panel. The dash integrates the multimedia and HVAC controls in an elegant and functional way.
       
      The 2020 Highlander cabin offers improved functionality throughout, from a center console that offers available Qi wireless charging to plenty of storage spaces and USB charging ports. On Limited and Platinum grades, new ambient LED lighting sets a relaxing mood. Inset steering wheel controls are a modern luxury touch on all grades.
       
      Highlanders have long been renowned for a quiet ride, and with the high-strength TNGA platform, Toyota pushes the bar even higher. Sound-damping and soundproofing materials have been optimized throughout the vehicle, with the takumi approach focusing particularly on minimizing noise in the frequencies that interfere with conversation.
       
      The seating color palette enhances the sense of luxury permeating the 2020 Highlander. The L and LE grades offer comfortable woven cloth in Graphite or Black; the XLE offers embossed Softex®artificial leather trim in Harvest Beige, Graphite or Black, while the Limited offers those colors in perforated leather trim. The top-of-line Platinum grade, the most luxurious Highlander ever offered, exclusively features embossed, perforated leather trim in those three colors plus Glazed Caramel, a luxuriously delicious new brown.


      Multitalented Multimedia 
      However passengers listen to music and connect with their worlds, the 2020 Highlander is ready with the latest multimedia systems.  All grades come standard with Apple Car Play®, Android Auto™, Alexa In-Car compatibility, Waze, SiriusXM®, and Wi-Fi connectivity through AT&T.
       
      All Highlander models come equipped with Toyota Safety Connect with a one-year trial subscription.
       
      LE and above grades offer Service and Remote Connectivity. A move up to XLE or Limited grade offers available Dynamic Navigation. A move up to Platinum grade offers standard Dynamic Navigation and the 12.3-inch screen.
       
      The JBL® Premium Audio System is standard for Limited and Platinum grades and rocks music of all genres with 1,200 watts of power playing through 11 speakers in nine locations. Clari-Fi®technology breathes new life into compressed digital music formats, with the result like a mobile concert. The system will not, however, settle arguments over which music to play.
       
      Exceptional Toyota Value, Naturally 
      Toyota’s typical outstanding value is clearly evident in the Highlander L grade, where the standard equipment list includes features that one might expect in an upgraded model:
       
      L: Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 18-in. alloy wheels 3-zone automatic climate control 4.2-in. Multi-information Display (MID) in instrument panel 8-way power driver’s seat Auto up/down for all power windows Multimedia with 8-inch touchscreen display Front seat reading lights and cargo area light. LED headlamps and taillamps Privacy glass on rear side, quarter and liftgate windows Smart Key entry on front doors and back door  
      LE adds over L: Power liftgate Blind Spot Monitor Additional multimedia capability LED fog lamps Leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob  
      XLE adds over LE: 10-way power driver’s seat 2nd-row sun shades 4-way power front passenger seat 7-in. Multi-information display Auto dimming rear-view mirror with garage door opener Auto LED headlamps with Auto High Beam Plated interior door handle Heated front seats LED fog lamps Machined-face alloy wheels Captain’s Chairs second row (standard) Power tilt and slide moon roof Roof rails SofTex®-trimmed seats and door trim  
      Limited adds over XLE: 120V 2nd-row power outlet 20-in. Limited style alloy wheels Ambient interior lighting Cargo area cover Driver’s seat memory Hands-free power liftgate Heated and ventilated front seats “Highlander” puddle lamp Perforated leather trimmed seats in Beige, Gray or Black Metal door scuff plates Projector beam headlamp with chrome bezels and separate, stylized DRLs Wood interior trim JBL® Audio System as standard Embedded navigation system  
      Platinum adds over Limited: 12.3-in. Multimedia head unit 20-in Platinum style wheels Adaptive, self-leveling headlamps Additional leather seating color choice: Glazed Caramel Digital display rear view mirror Embossed, perforated leather trimmed seats Head-up display Heated 2nd-row seats Illuminated door scuff plates Panoramic moonroof Rain-sensing windshield wipers Birds eye camera  
      Safety at Its Core
      The new TNGA-K platform forms the foundation for exemplary collision protection in the 2020 Toyota Highlander, while a suite of standard driver-assist technologies is designed to help prevent collisions, or to mitigate their impacts.
       
      The 2020 Highlander is equipped with the second-generation of Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0). Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) are standard on LE grade and above. Rear Cross Traffic Braking (RCTB) is available with clearance sonar on Limited and above.
       
      The standard backup camera features projected path. A Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, available on Limited and standard on Platinum, provides a live rotating 360-degree view around the vehicle.
       
      The 2020 Highlander is equipped with eight airbags, including side-curtain airbags for all three rows. Toyota’s Star Safety System includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
    • By William Maley
      I was a bit surprised when I got word that I would be spending a few days with a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross only a few weeks after doing a brief first drive. As I noted in my report, I came away pretty impressed with certain aspects of this latest contender in the compact crossover class. But there were some items that I needed more time to mess around with such as the infotainment system and powertrain. With a bit more time behind the wheel, how would Mitsubishi’s newest model fare? 
      As I talked about in my quick first drive, Mitsubishi’s design staff went crazy with the Eclipse Cross. Sharp angles, a split shape for the tailgate, and aggressive front end treatment will draw a lot of comment. But credit should be given to the design team as they have created something that does stand out in a very crowded class. The polarizing design can be toned down a lot if you choose a different color than the red as seen on my tester. 
      Sadly, that polarizing design doesn’t carry into the interior. But the plain look does allow for most controls to be easy to find and reach. Only the placement of the trip computer controls (behind the steering wheel) and climate control (nestled deep in the center stack) will invoke some frustration. Mitsubishi has also made some noticeable improvements to overall interior quality. There are higher quality hard plastics and some soft-touch materials used throughout. Also, there were no glaring build quality concerns that I noticed in the Outlander Sport.
      The front seats provide decent support for short trips, but I was wishing for more padding after doing a day trip to Ohio. The sloping roofline and large sunroof will eat into rear headroom, but legroom is decent for most passengers. Cargo space is on the low side with 22.6 cubic feet with the seats up and 48.9 cubic feet when folded. The sloping tailgate design does also mean you’ll need to plan carefully as to how you plan on loading cargo.
      Mitsubishi equips all Eclipse Cross models with a seven-inch touchscreen, but only the LE and above get a free-standing version with a touchpad controller. The touchpad controller reminds a lot of the Lexus’ Remote Touch system and its issues. Both systems exhibit some slowness to respond when your finger is moving across the pad. At least the Mitsubishi system has a touchscreen as another input method, but you’ll be stretching your arm to use it. The graphics and overall performance do trail competitors, but it is a huge step forward when compared to the previous systems Mitsubishi has installed. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are standard on LE models and above.
      A new turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder powers the Eclipse Cross. Output is rated at 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. All models come with a CVT and the choice of either front or Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel-Control (S-AWC). During my first drive, I came away mostly impressed with the turbo-four as it moved the vehicle with subtle verve around town. This still held true during my time with the vehicle. But I did find the engine runs out of steam at higher speeds, making it somewhat difficult to pass quickly when traveling on the highway. Also, the engine does sound somewhat unrefined in hard acceleration. The CVT is similar; providing excellent performance around town, but noticeably struggles on the highway. 
      EPA fuel economy on the Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWC is 25 City/26 Highway/25 Combined. My average for the five-day period I had the vehicle landed around 27.2 on a 70/30 mix of highway and city driving.
      Despite the Eclipse name on the vehicle, this is not a sporty crossover. There is pronounced body lean and the steering feels noticeably light. But for most buyers, this is not a big issue. They’re more concerned about how the Eclipse Cross rides and the news is better. The suspension does a great job of absorbing most bumps. Wind noise is kept to very acceptable levels, but there was a fair amount of road noise coming inside - especially when traveling on the highway. This makes long trips somewhat tiring.
      While many enthusiasts may bemoan the fact that Mitsubishi is using the Eclipse name on a crossover, I’ll be the first to admit this is their best vehicle in quite some time. The design and turbo engine help the model stand out in what is becoming a quite crowded class. Plus, the starting price of $23,295 for the base ES makes it quite tempting. Still, the Eclipse Cross does trail the pack in terms of comfort, cargo space, and performance at higher speeds. There is room for improvement, but Mitsubishi has most of the basics right on the money.
      Disclaimer: Mitsubishi Provided the Eclipse Cross, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mitsubishi
      Model: Eclipse Cross
      Trim: SEL S-AWC
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.5L Direct-Injected Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 152 @ 5,550
      Torque @ RPM: 184 @ 2,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/26/25
      Curb Weight: 3,516 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Okazaki, Japan
      Base Price: $27,895
      As Tested Price: $32,310 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Touring Package - $2,500.00
      Red Diamond Paint - $595.00
      Accessory Tonneau Cover - $190.00
      Accessory Carpeted Floormats and Portfolio - $135.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      I was a bit surprised when I got word that I would be spending a few days with a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross only a few weeks after doing a brief first drive. As I noted in my report, I came away pretty impressed with certain aspects of this latest contender in the compact crossover class. But there were some items that I needed more time to mess around with such as the infotainment system and powertrain. With a bit more time behind the wheel, how would Mitsubishi’s newest model fare? 
      As I talked about in my quick first drive, Mitsubishi’s design staff went crazy with the Eclipse Cross. Sharp angles, a split shape for the tailgate, and aggressive front end treatment will draw a lot of comment. But credit should be given to the design team as they have created something that does stand out in a very crowded class. The polarizing design can be toned down a lot if you choose a different color than the red as seen on my tester. 
      Sadly, that polarizing design doesn’t carry into the interior. But the plain look does allow for most controls to be easy to find and reach. Only the placement of the trip computer controls (behind the steering wheel) and climate control (nestled deep in the center stack) will invoke some frustration. Mitsubishi has also made some noticeable improvements to overall interior quality. There are higher quality hard plastics and some soft-touch materials used throughout. Also, there were no glaring build quality concerns that I noticed in the Outlander Sport.
      The front seats provide decent support for short trips, but I was wishing for more padding after doing a day trip to Ohio. The sloping roofline and large sunroof will eat into rear headroom, but legroom is decent for most passengers. Cargo space is on the low side with 22.6 cubic feet with the seats up and 48.9 cubic feet when folded. The sloping tailgate design does also mean you’ll need to plan carefully as to how you plan on loading cargo.
      Mitsubishi equips all Eclipse Cross models with a seven-inch touchscreen, but only the LE and above get a free-standing version with a touchpad controller. The touchpad controller reminds a lot of the Lexus’ Remote Touch system and its issues. Both systems exhibit some slowness to respond when your finger is moving across the pad. At least the Mitsubishi system has a touchscreen as another input method, but you’ll be stretching your arm to use it. The graphics and overall performance do trail competitors, but it is a huge step forward when compared to the previous systems Mitsubishi has installed. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are standard on LE models and above.
      A new turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder powers the Eclipse Cross. Output is rated at 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. All models come with a CVT and the choice of either front or Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel-Control (S-AWC). During my first drive, I came away mostly impressed with the turbo-four as it moved the vehicle with subtle verve around town. This still held true during my time with the vehicle. But I did find the engine runs out of steam at higher speeds, making it somewhat difficult to pass quickly when traveling on the highway. Also, the engine does sound somewhat unrefined in hard acceleration. The CVT is similar; providing excellent performance around town, but noticeably struggles on the highway. 
      EPA fuel economy on the Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWC is 25 City/26 Highway/25 Combined. My average for the five-day period I had the vehicle landed around 27.2 on a 70/30 mix of highway and city driving.
      Despite the Eclipse name on the vehicle, this is not a sporty crossover. There is pronounced body lean and the steering feels noticeably light. But for most buyers, this is not a big issue. They’re more concerned about how the Eclipse Cross rides and the news is better. The suspension does a great job of absorbing most bumps. Wind noise is kept to very acceptable levels, but there was a fair amount of road noise coming inside - especially when traveling on the highway. This makes long trips somewhat tiring.
      While many enthusiasts may bemoan the fact that Mitsubishi is using the Eclipse name on a crossover, I’ll be the first to admit this is their best vehicle in quite some time. The design and turbo engine help the model stand out in what is becoming a quite crowded class. Plus, the starting price of $23,295 for the base ES makes it quite tempting. Still, the Eclipse Cross does trail the pack in terms of comfort, cargo space, and performance at higher speeds. There is room for improvement, but Mitsubishi has most of the basics right on the money.
      Disclaimer: Mitsubishi Provided the Eclipse Cross, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mitsubishi
      Model: Eclipse Cross
      Trim: SEL S-AWC
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.5L Direct-Injected Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 152 @ 5,550
      Torque @ RPM: 184 @ 2,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/26/25
      Curb Weight: 3,516 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Okazaki, Japan
      Base Price: $27,895
      As Tested Price: $32,310 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Touring Package - $2,500.00
      Red Diamond Paint - $595.00
      Accessory Tonneau Cover - $190.00
      Accessory Carpeted Floormats and Portfolio - $135.00
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