Toyota has announced that its new 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder Highlander SUV will arrive at dealerships in mid-to-late January. 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 is powerful, but reduces 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 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.
The new engine will have an all-new six-speed electronically- controlled automatic overdrive transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). The new transmission delivers a smooth shifting, a quiet ride that is on par with a V6, and quick acceleration for a four-cylinder. Internal preliminary 0-60 mph testing was timed at 9.7 seconds. When equipped with a tow package, the new powerplant will achieve a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
The four-cylinder Highlander will offer three powerplant choices: the 3.5-liter Highlander V6, available in two- and full-time four-wheel drive, and the full-time 4WD-i Highlander Hybrid, equipped with a V6 powerplant with front and rear electric motors.