It might look a bit of a ground-hugging beast, but Toyota’s latest version of its Highlander SUV, which has just rolled into the UAE, may well surprise you with its ability to creep around in a rather quiet and more dignified manner than you might expect.
That’s because this upgraded model is the latest in the Japanese manufacturer’s line-up of hybrid electric vehicles – or HEVs, as they’ve become known.
The power, then, comes from two sources: a 2.5-litre petrol engine producing 183 horsepower accompanied by a pair of electric motors that generate 191hp.
It’s a seven-seater, of course, with zoned air conditioning which only targets occupied places. The cluster gauge features a pair of information displays, and the Highlander has Toyota’s Safety Sense tech package that includes various driver aids.
HEVs have been a strong focus for Toyota since 1997. Since then, the company has launched a variety of different models, leading to cumulative sales of more than 15 million individual units worldwide.
The Highlander is the biggest HEV the company has produced to date. No surprise there – there’s a pleasing sense of presence and confidence about the look of the rejigged body shell, which is likely to make it an unusual sight on UAE roads.
And by that we mean it’s the kind of vehicle you’d expect to be making a lot more noise than its hybrid drive system is likely to produce as it trundles along. Best to keep your eyes open if your neighbour gets one then, as you’ll probably see it well before you hear it.
They're available now and prices start at Dh154,900 for a base model.