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Evolution Of Toyota Highlander SUV From 2001 To 2020

Nwogbunyama Emeka

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toyota highlander suv

The Toyota Highlander SUV is another SUV Nigerians love dearly. Just like the Lexus RX SUV, you’ll see the Toyota Highlander gracing many roads in Nigeria.

The mid-size crossover SUV by Toyota has been in production since the year 2001 to present day. The reliability, resale value, decent fuel consumption, good ride quality, and many other factors has kept it around all these while without its discontinuation.

From the year it entered the market, it became the best selling SUV by Toyota, until 2006 when Toyota RAV4 took the spot.

Let’s take a walk down history lane and see how the Toyota Highlander SUV has changed throughout its 19 years of existence.





First Generation (2001 – 2007)

toyota highlander suv

This first generation Toyota Highlander dominates our Nigerian roads. You’ll basically see one anywhere you go. It is that common. The 2001 to 2005 model came in five-seat configuration while the 2005 to 2007 model came in seven-seat configuration. This generation of Highlander has three trim levels – Base model, Sports model and the Limited model.

Second Generation (2008 – 2013)

toyota highlander suv

The second generation Highlander was revealed at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show. It is bigger in size than the Highlander of the previous generation and it came with a 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 mated to a five-speed automatic which produces 270 horsepower. The same three trims in the first generation made it to the second generation until 2010. The Sports model got a replacement – SE model.

Buyers were also able to pick between front-drive or all-wheel drive on V6 platforms.The Sports and Limited models got a touch of standard backup cam. This is displayed on a 3.5inch LCD screen on the dashboard.

In the 2011 model, Toyota made new headlights, a new black with chrome accent rocker panel, and new front grille. It still maintained most of its features in the 2010 model.

toyota highlander suv





Third Generation (2014 – 2019)

toyota highlander suv

The third generation Highlander came with a sleeker body that is more appealing to the eyes. Its roofline became sloppier coupled with a bolder front fascia. It has slimmer headlights linked in by a thin chrome trim piece, as well as the big trapezoidal grille. This generation is not yet as common as the first and second generation in Nigeria.

The third generation Highlander is more soundproof in the inside than all other Highlanders which came before it. It features the seating of eight people and has a 6.1-inch touchscreen display audio system.

Fourth Generation (2020 – Present)

toyota highlander suv

The fourth generation Toyota Highlander made its debut at the just concluded New York International Auto Show. The fourth generation Highlander’s new look, covers a new vehicle platform called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K). This robust new foundation, shared with other Toyota models, enables even greater capability, comfort and safety than before.

It offers the choice between a powerful V6 or new-generation hybrid powertrain, with the gas version offering a manufacturer-estimated 22 MPG combined fuel economy and the Hybrid offering an manufacturer-estimated 34 MPG combined fuel economy. The Hybrid will get 17 percent improved fuel economy that the current generation Highlander.





Emeka is a Contributor at Autojosh. A graduate of Electrical/Electronic Engineering with a B.Eng degree. Emeka is a car enthusiast who is interested in traveling, writing, movies and driving. He also loves drinking garri with cold water.

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