When it arrives at dealerships in mid-to-late January, Toyota's new 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder engine will help make the Highlander mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) one of the best in its segment in the areas of fuel economy, low emissions, performance, and value. It is expected to appeal to value-driven, mid-size SUV buyers seeking these characteristics without the price premium of a V6.

The four-cylinder Highlander will be among the leaders in fuel efficiency in the gas mid-size SUV segment with EPA fuel economy estimates of 27 MPG highway, 20 MPG city and 22 MPG combined. In addition, it will be EPA-rated as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEVII).

Highlander's new four-cylinder powertrain will produce impressive power, while greatly reducing noise and vibration to levels normally expected in a V6 or larger engine. It will generate 187 horsepower at 5,800 RPM and 186 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,100 RPM on regular 87 octane fuel.

The state-of-the-art powerplant is equipped with a variable intake manifold and dual variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i), which controls phasing of both the intake and exhaust camshafts to maximize fuel efficiency and torque. Both of these technologies help give the 2.7-liter engine a broad torque curve providing enhanced fuel efficiency, lower emissions and a strong response at all engine speeds. A dual exhaust manifold will also help achieve exceptional low-end torque and maximize power output.

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The new engine will be mated to an all-new six-speed electronically-controlled automatic overdrive transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) that is one of the lightest and most compact in its class. The new transmission delivers a smooth shifting, remarkably quiet ride that is on par with a V6, and acceleration that is surprisingly quick for a four-cylinder. Internal preliminary 0-60 mph testing was timed at 9.7 seconds, nearly one second quicker than the average four-cylinder mid-size SUV. When equipped with a tow package, the new powerplant will achieve a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

The new engine will come standard on the well-equipped Highlander grade two-wheel-drive model with two rows of seats, contributing to its all-around excellent value. Adding to its appeal is an array of standard convenience features that include air conditioning; an AM/FM/CD audio system with six-speakers; front seats with height-adjustable active head rests and eight-way adjustable driver's seat; power door locks and windows with driver's window jam protection and auto-up/down feature; cruise control; a multi-function keyless entry system; UV-reduction windshield and rear privacy glass; a digital clock; dual sun visors with vanity mirrors and sliding extensions; a conversation mirror; an illuminated entry system; manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel; scheduled maintenance indicator light; full-size spare tire; and much more.

Along with its long list of standard features, a third-row seat package will also be available for families requiring additional seating capacity. Other key optional equipment will include an eight-way power driver's seat, manual rear air conditioning, and an AM/FM/six-disc CD changer with satellite radio capability, MP3/WMA capability and six speakers.

With the new four-cylinder engine, Highlander will be the only mid-size SUV in the current market to offer three powerplant choices. The 3.5-liter Highlander V6, available in two- and full-time four-wheel drive, is among the leaders in fuel efficiency among V6 gas engines in its segment. The full-time 4WD-i Highlander Hybrid, equipped with a V6 powerplant with front and rear electric motors, stands above all others for fuel efficiency among all mid-size SUVs.

Since it first launched in 2001, Highlander continues to be one of Toyota's most popular vehicles, setting the standard for car-based SUVs in innovation, refinement and comfort. Driver and passenger comfort is accomplished with segment-leading seating flexibility for up to seven people. Comfort is complemented with one of the highest levels of standard safety features in the small- and mid-size SUV market including a segment-leading total of seven airbags.




TYPE 2.7-liter, four-cylinder, double-overhead cam, 16-valve w/ Dual VVT-i
VALVETRAIN DOHC, four-valve/cylinder
HORSEPOWER 187 @ 5,800 RPM
MAXIMUM TORQUE 186 ft.-lbs. @ 4,100 RPM
EPA FUEL ECONOMY ESTIMATES 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway/22 mpg combined
DISPLACEMENT 163.1 cubic inches
BORE X STROKE 3.54 x 4.13 inches
OCTANE RATING 87 or higher
0-60 TIME 9.7 seconds


TRANSMISSION TYPE six-speed ECT automatic
1st 3.300

2nd 1.900



GVWR 5,500 pounds
Curb Weight 4,050 pounds