2007 Chicago Auto Show: 2008 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid


Toyota is taking aim at the booming large-crossover-SUV market with its all-new Highlander. Like the outgoing Highlander, this model is based on a car platform — this time the new Camry/Avalon platform — but what most people will notice first is the much more aggressive looks and decidedly upscale-looking interior.

A 270-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine is a huge boost from the outgoing model and competes with other new offerings in the segment, like the Saturn Outlook, Hyundai Veracruz and Mazda CX-9. There are no mileage figures yet for the regular Highlander, but the company says it will be similar to the past model, even with the added power. 

The Highlander comes in front- and all-wheel-drive configurations, though the Hybrid comes only with all-wheel drive. The greener Highlander uses a smaller V-6 engine teamed with an electric motor to produce 270 net hp, but with 31/27 mpg city/highway estimated gas mileage.

We’ll have more information later in the day. For now, check out the photos below and weigh in with your opinion on how the new Highlander will fare in a crowded crossover segment.








Highlander Hybrid




Full report and live photos from the show floor.



Inside good. Outside bad. Looks like a redesigned Subaru Forester. GM's new crossovers look way better...


Nice look, a little more agressive. It actually reminds me of the Outlook/Acadia from the side profile.

What's with the cheap-style plastic looking taillights that are also found on the Camry and Prius?


Rav-4 Supersized, never liked the rav-4 so the derivate even worse looking. Interior is fine, Exterior fugly!!!

Tom L.

Typical Toyota design: try not to offend anyone. Unfortunately in doing so they don't make a lot of converts either. I'll take the look of Ford, GM, Nissan or Mazda offerings any day.


People like the binocular style speedometer and tachometer? Looks really unnecessary and moderately distracting to have that kind of sectioning.


Big C-pillar = large blind spot. Toyota really likes doing this--the new Tundra and FJ Cruiser have the same affliction.

I'm not fond of the metallic-painted plastic trim I see on a lot of new vehicles these days (the steering wheel and HVAC controls of the new Highlander appear to be afflicted). Plain plastic would be fine, and would be the same color throughout, so that the scratches and wear that will inevitably occur on trim pieces wouldn't make it look terrible.


The interior looks fantastic, but I would have to agree with Jay on the whole uncanny Forester resemblance. Overall, looks very impressive.

Not a big fan of the binocular speedo either. Passengers can't get a look at them. All complaints aside, I can't see why this wouldn't be as big a hit as the previous gen.


does anyone see "mini bmw" when they first glance at it?
I think that there is a lot of promise. true highlander lovers are going to eat this up i think it looks just amazing. if you like the american styling of anything, then good luck falling in love with a japanese designed vehicle. but if you know what most conscious motorists are aware of these days, then you will know to look for a LOT of followers to imitate this new addition to the TOYOTA FAMILY


Exterior seems like a copy of RAV4. High belt line, and all. Don't care for the instrument panel. Extermely disappointed at Hybrid still using a V6, instead of a 4-cylinder engine. I don't get it, but I thought the primary purpose of a hybrid was to obtain the best mileage. Toyota has missed the mark on this one!

Doug K

I have been waiting for a 4WD that averages over 22 MPG and seats 6 or 7, so I was happy to see the new hybrid version, especially with upgraded safety features. The interior with captains chairs is very nice, although the dash still has a plastic look. The exterior is disappointing- I was hoping for more of a styling change--I guess Toyota is playing it safe on this one.


Inside is nice... but outside is terrible. It looks just like a Subaru. Toyota should try and be more original.

What a NASTY-looking thing!

Just look at it!


Only blind Toyota loyalty or deep incentives will sell this.

I have faith in the Toyotautomatons though!

Bob D.

Few more generations and the crossover segment will be back to the good old Audi wagon style.
We're almost there :-)


The concensus opinion about it looking like a Subaru is both accurate and unfortunate for Toyota. The interior is definitely an upgrade except for the gauge cluster. The cluster is awkward and doesn't share the clean lines of the remainder of the interior.

It's interesting that, at least in the design area, the american vehicles are becoming better looking while the japanese vehicles are really missing the mark.


The outside looks like a mix of Forester, RAV4, and the 4Runner(Tailgate).
Please hang the designer who did this. Thanks.

Ken L.

Yeah... it's pretty ugly. GM did a better job of design on their new upcoming crossovers. I hope Toyota doesn't screw up the next 4Runner's redesign.

well its a gmc acadia or a saturn outlook for me! just taken the outlook for a test drive, and the interior is FAR superior of this POS, not a fan of plastic fantastic. good luck for the suckers who end up buying this highlander!


Y'all a bunch idiots!! What's going to stop the Highlander from being a sales success story. Yeah there's a lot of competition right now compared to when the it first came out. The highlander is a force to reckon with and y'all can check back at the end of the sales year to see who's at the top of the crossover segment and the automotive world, if you didn't know, TOYOTA IS TAKING OVER from gm at the end of the year. You bunch of slow Americans!! But I can understand, y'all are victims (and Pres. Bush) of the public school system (PSS)


My 328 was nearly totaled so I drove my parents car, a 2003 Highlander 4 cylinder, for close to six months while they were in Europe and my car was being put back together. I must say since I knew they were going to get a new car when they returned I beat on the Highlander like it was nobody's business. Even with 138k on her that sucker took all the punishment I could give it. I only wish my 328 was more durable. Toyota really knows how to build them.


I had the "honor" of being in the rear seat of one of them with other 2 adult passengers. 2 slim female passengers and me, a six feet male. We had only a short trip, but we felt cramped and we couldn't believe it was so narrow inside. Is this going to improve in the new version? Because I prefer an Outlook, it seems to be bigger.
Also, what is the deal with all the plastic outside like the Camry or the Cobalt? It looks cheapie.

David H

To Mark it does not look like a Subaru Forester and two you do not see the same taillights as the Camry or Prius and for three it looks ten times better then before and ten times better then any GM Outlook or Acadia. I rather drive the all-new 2008 Toyota Highlander then some ugly ass GM 2008 Outlook or Acadia.

Dave T

Toyota did not screw up with the redesign on there all-new 2008 Highlander

Not me (David Thomas) above. just to clarify.


whatever... to Juan Carlos, many of us don't buy Toyotas because of "blind Toyota loyalty," its simply far superior to other competitors and fits within out budgets while providing exceptional reliability. Loyalty? perhaps... Prudence? Definitely...


hey u guyz toyota is the best car ever it is way bttr then any of THE CRAP GM ha toyota is unbeatable u guyz r just sick. TOYOTA OWNS THE FAKING GM >>>>>>>>>>> get a life u losers


The instrument cluster is awful. I have taken the 2008 Highlander for a test drive and if you have your hands properly placed on the steering wheel, you must move your hands to fully see the RPMs and/or speed. The spot where your eye naturally travels to is a big empty void and the next closest gauges are the fuel, temp and gear indicator. Important info, but they are hardly primary to minute-by-minute driving. The designer of this instrument cluster should be horse-whipped for his/her stupidity.

I also agree with the blind spot comments. The rear privacy glass makes it even worse when driving at night.

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