Toyota reveals 2017 Highlander SUV and new Prius Prime plug-in hybrid
Toyota reveals 2017 Highlander and new Prius Prime (Photo: Dan Heyman/Autofocus.ca)
Dan Heyman, Autofocus.ca
Published Thursday, March 24, 2016 3:25PM EDT
Toyota had two big reveals at this year’s New York Auto Show in the form of a new Pruis hybrid and and a new Highlander SUV.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime
The Prime is a plug-in hybrid that makes a claimed 120 MPGe and can cruise for up to 35 km on full-EV when charged to full capacity. Charging can be accomplished in about 5.5 hours on a standard 110V trickle charge. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a 240V outlet, expect that charge time to be halved. 135 km/h speeds are possible in EV mode, as well. In order to achieve these figures, the Prius Prime gets a larger 8.8-Kwh battery pack bigger than its non-plug-in equivalent. On the flip side, however, the Prime is the first Toyota to use a dual-motor generation system that uses both the electric motor and generator to provide power to the wheels. This means more acceleration, for when you really have to make that amber light.
A new body shape not only improves aerodynamics, but increases cargo space, too. And not content with just adding a charge port to differentiate the Prime from the Prius Hybrid, the new car gets styling tweaks all around, including all-new front and rear fascias, the latter having a full-width taillight bar as its defining factor.
In order to keep the pace with the car’s techy powertrain and modern exterior styling, the interior has been given a once-over, too. There are not one but two 4.2-inch colour TFT displays that can be alternated between with steering wheel controls, and Toyota’ advances Safety Sense P (for “pedestrian detection) safety suite is also available, providing pre-collision automatic braking, lane departure alert and full-stop dynamic cruise control. Want more? You can have rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring, too.
The 2017 Prius Prime arrives in dealers this fall. Expect pricing info closer to then.
2017 Toyota Highlander
More of an evolution than a revolution in the styling sense, the 2017 Highlander nevertheless remains one of the more handsome vehicles in Toyota’s line-up. A newly-styled dual-tier grille can be had in either silver or painted chrome, while the rear fascia is highlighted by sleeker taillight lenses and chrome garnish on some trims.
On the performance front, a new eight-speed automatic transmission (available on all V6 gas models; the base engine is a 2.7-litre inline-four) and new direct-injection V6 with stop/start technology should ensure that high-speed passes are never an issue. If that’s not enough, a new, sportier SE trim level gets special 19-inch wheels and sport-tuned suspension.
A special black and silver interior styling package denotes the sport trim.
Arguably at the other end of the performance spectrum stands the Highlander Hybrid, which now gets two new trims – the addition of the LE and XLE trims makes for a total of four Hybrid offerings – and which has adopted the same Atkinson Cycle powertrain of the old model.
Unlike the Prius Prime, which offers Toyota Safety Sense P as an option, all 2017 Highlanders will get the suite standard, while XLE trims and up get blind spot monitoring standard, too. The safety tech doesn’t stop there, with the Platinum trim getting an all-new 360-degree “Perimeter Scan” parking camera. As the name suggests, it provides a rotating view around the entire car. If that’s not enough, then an active park-assist feature should do the trick.
The 2017 Toyota Highlander will be available in six-, seven-, or eight-passenger configurations when it goes on sale later this year.