Toyota Highlander: seven-seat hybrid SUV confirmed for UK sale in 2021

Published: 11 May 2020

► Toyota Highlander coming to UK
► Full-size SUV on sale in Europe
► Seven seats, hybrid
, 658-litre boot

The Toyota Highlander has been confirmed for UK sale for the first time, meaning buyers of full-size SUVs will have another contender to add to their shopping lists.

It's a large 4x4 with a hybrid powertrain and seven seats, hitherto sold only in the US, Asia and markets where giant SUVs are a thing. In Japan and Australia, it has historically been called the Toyota Kluger, owing to Hyundai owning the trademarks there.

At a whisker under five metres long (4950mm, to be precise), the new Toyota Highlander has three rows of seats and the middle pew slides back and forth by 180mm so owners can juggle space for passengers in the rearmost row.

The Toyota Highlander goes on UK sale in early 2021

There's also a 658-litre boot (opening at the flick of a foot under the bumper), expanding to an enormous 1909 litres if you stow all five rear seats in the floor. Toyota is convinced there's a growing market for such large SUVs bristling with family-friendly touches - and it'll compete with the likes of the BMW X5 and Volvo XC90 hybrids.

The Highlander will be sold in addition to the venerable Land Cruiser, which is more off-road biased, despite both models having all-wheel drive. A two-tonne towing weight is claimed for the Highlander, thanks to the lugging potential of 241bhp total system output.

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Hybrid powertrain to trim emissions and boost economy

Being based on Toyota's architecture called GA-K, or large hybrid car platform, means the Highlander is a full petrol-electric hybrid - no other powertrain will be offered in the UK.

Toyota Highlander interior

It mates the familiar 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with electric motors on both axles, powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery under the second row of seats. An impressively svelte 146g/km CO2 rating is promised, along with 42.8mpg on the WLTP combined cycle.

Drivers can flick between Eco, Normal, Sport and Trail on the Drive Mode Select system; each mode is available when in silent, electric-only EV mode. Clever-clogs tech highlighted by Toyota for UK models includes an acoustic windscreen to cut down wind bluster, a digital rear-view camera unobscured by luggage or headrests and the usual gamut of adaptive cruise control and other nannying safety/comfort systems. 

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Sounds good! When can I buy the Toyota Highlander in the UK?

There's a while to wait yet. Toyota says deliveries will start in western Europe in early 2021.

No word on prices yet, but we'll update this article once we know more about the full specs, prices and further details.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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