|Toyota Highlander Mid-Size Car-Based SUV Premiers At 2000 New York Auto
April. 19, 2000 - New York - The world premier of the 2001 Toyota Highlander car-based,
sport utility vehicle (SUV) took place today at a press conference held at the New York
Photo: Jeff Orlando
"The thinking behind Highlander is simple," said Don Esmond, Toyota Division
group vice president and general manager. "With more and more new buyers entering the
segment from passenger cars, it makes sense to diversify our mid-size SUV offerings into
two distinctly different products. Sometimes you feel like a truck, sometimes you don't.
For buyers seeking the real-deal in traditional mid-size performance, with a bias toward
multi-use, we have 4Runner. For buyers demanding the image and versatility of an SUV, but
who prioritize car-like ride and handling, we will have Highlander."
Highlander will ride on a platform that is similar to the popular Camry sedan, but
engineered for increased ground clearance, ride height, suspension travel and off-road
durability. Its overall length, width and wheelbase dimensions will be larger than
4Runner. It will also have a slight edge in interior leg and head room.
Highlander will be available in both two- and full-time four-wheel drive, powered by
either a four-cylinder or 220-horsepower V6 engine, matched to a four-speed automatic
transmission. Both engines will carry LEV, low emission vehicle, certification. The V6 4x4
configuration is expected to be the predominant seller. Highlander will be offered in a
single, well-equipped grade level. Options will include an upscale Limited Package.
Highlander will have a sales target of more than 50,000 in calendar year 2001, with an
annual sales volume of approximately 72,000 units.
When it arrives in about a year, Highlander will become the fifth member of Toyota's
comprehensive line-up of SUVs. With Highlander and RAV4, Toyota will be the first
automotive division to market two car-based SUVs.
"The 2001 Highlander is an important new product and a key strategic element in
Toyota's plan to take a leadership role in the North American light truck arena,"
said Esmond. "It is the product we needed to round out one of the broadest, most
comprehensive lineup of sport utility vehicles offered by any first-tier manufacturer in