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New turbocharged engine for 2023 Toyota Highlander

10 October 2022

The 2023 Toyota Highlander models are equipped with a new, higher torque and efficiency turbocharged gasoline engine. The 265 hp, 2.4 L four-cylinder engine, which uses balance shafts for smooth performance, delivers 310 lb-ft (420 Nm) of torque—a 17% increase over the previous 3.5 L V6 engine’s 263 lb-ft (357 Nm). Fuel efficiency is also improved, with an EPA estimate of up to 25 mpg (9.41 L/100 km) combined. The new engine, standard across all Highlander grades, also features more than a 50% reduction in NOx and NMOG emissions compared to the outgoing V6 engine, according to Toyota.

The new Highlander turbo models are capable to tow a trailer of up to 5,000 lbs. The standard stop-and-start system further helps reduce fuel consumption.

The 2023 Highlander turbo models offer a choice of FWD or two different available AWD systems. For the Highlander Gas L, LE and XLE models, the optional AWD system can send up to 50% of available torque to the rear wheels to help counter wheel slip when necessary.

Highlander Hybrid. The Highlander Hybrid, with its 36 combined mpg (6.53 L/100 km) EPA-estimated rating, accounts for more than a quarter of Highlander US sales. The 2023 Highlander Hybrid combines a 2.5 L DOHC four-cylinder engine with two electric motor-generators. The gas engine employs Variable Valve Timing-intelligent system by Electric motor (VVT-iE) on the intake camshaft, and VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft. A variable cooling system (electric water pump, electric thermostat) and a fully variable oil pump help to further enhance engine efficiency.

The gasoline engine and Motor Generator 2 (MG2) work in concert to deliver dynamic performance, while both MG1 and MG2 charge the hybrid battery. The hybrid delivers 243 total system horsepower and a towing capacity of up to 3,500 lbs. The Highlander Hybrid’s battery pack is installed under the second-row seats, so it does not take away cargo or passenger space.

Regenerative braking captures the wheel energy as the vehicle slows, sending it to the hybrid battery. To foster greater control when driving in hilly areas, the driver can manually control regenerative braking in steps, similar to the engine braking effect of downshifting a manual transmission.

The Highlander Hybrid is available in FWD and AWD versions. The unique AWD system employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed.

Arriving at US dealerships this month, the 2023 Highlander with the new turbo engine will have a starting MSRP of $36,420 and the 2023 Highlander Hybrid will have a starting MSRP of $40,220.

Source: Toyota