Toy­ota High­lander

Driv­e­train up­grades high­light the High­lander re­fresh, notes Damien O’car­roll.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

Toy­ota has given the High­lander a mild facelift for the 2017 model year, but un­der that slight ex­te­rior up­grade lie some rather ex­ten­sive driv­e­train up­grades that bring some pretty se­ri­ous im­prove­ments to the com­pany’s ever-pop­u­lar SUV. On the out­side the High­lander gets a new trape­zoidal grille with sil­ver ac­cents and new halo­gen head­lights, along with LED day­time run­ning lights. The GX and GXL mod­els get a new de­sign of 18-inch al­loy wheel, while the top-spec Lim­ited model gets a new 19-inch de­sign and ad­di­tional ex­te­rior chrome high­lights. The GXL also gains a power rear hatch, while all mod­els now get LED tail­lights. On the in­side there is even less change, with the GX and GXL gain­ing a new 4.2-inch colour in­for­ma­tion dis­play, while the GXL also gets a new 8-inch au­dio dis­play and satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion. The Lim­ited gets a new sil­ver wood grain in­te­rior fin­ish, but also gains a whole host of new safety features in­clud­ing Toy­ota’s Safety Sense suite that adds a pre-crash sys­tem, radar cruise con­trol, au­to­matic high beam as­sist, trailer sway con­trol, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, rear cross traf­fic alert and a panoramic cam­era sys­tem. While things still look pretty sim­i­lar, the big news comes un­der the bon­net of all High­lander mod­els with the ad­di­tion of a new 3.5-litre di­rect-in­jec­tion petrol V6 and an eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Both the en­gine and trans­mis­sion have pre­vi­ously only been used in Lexus mod­els and the en­gine pro­duces 218kw of power and 350Nm of torque. This means an in­crease of 17kw and two gear ra­tios over the pre­vi­ous High­lander, and while the power in­crease may not see like much, the re­fine­ment of the driv­e­train makes a mas­sive dif­fer­ence to the 2017 High­lander. The 2017 High­lander range starts at $63,490 for the 4WD GX and rises to $66,490 for the 2WD GXL and $70,490for the 4WD model. The 4WD Lim­ited tops the range at $81,490.

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