Background, specifications, and standard and optional features for all trim levels (base and Limited) of the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Also a description of how Toyota's Hybrid technology works.
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the first seven-passenger gas/electric hybrid vehicle. While its fully-gasoline powered counterpart was first manufactured in 2001, 2006 is the first year the Highlander Hybrid has been available. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are both available. However, the Highlander Hybrid is not intended for off-road excursions. Estimated fuel economy for the 2WD model is 33 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway, while the All-Wheel drive model gets 31 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway. Front seat side airbags as well as first and second row head curtain airbags come standard.
The original 3.3-liter V6 engine used on the standard gasoline powered Highlander was modified for use in the Hybrid. What Toyota did was add two electric motors to the engine: one for starting the gas engine and recharging the 288-volt battery pack, and the other for additional power to drive the vehicle. The All-Wheel drive model gets an additional motor. Additionally, this model uses what Toyota calls a 4WD-i system. This on demand system improves traction on wet/dry pavement and recharges power from all four wheels. It is accomplished with a rear-mounted motor/generator to power the rear wheels when any slippage is detected in the front wheels. Maximum towing capacity tops out at 3,500 lbs.
MSRP for the base Highlander Hybrid is $33,595 and goes up to $39,855 for the Limited.
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