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The stop-start technology is nothing new in the world of cars and SUVs. However, Toyota hasn’t introduced the feature yet in its North American vehicles. All that is about to change as the 2017 Toyota Highlander will come equipped with that system.
Simply put, the stop-start technology works by shutting off the engine of the vehicle when it is stationary. Brian Williams of Toyota explained that the integration of the function in their vehicles will allow the Highlander to have a fuel efficiency of one mile per gallon. It will also improve the EPA fuel economy of the SUV.
Even after turning off the engine, the stop-start functionally will still feed electric supply to the vehicle for at least two-minutes during a complete halt or when stopped under a traffic light. The engine is configured to be turned on by default every ignition cycle. Customers can choose to manually shut it off though with a push of a button. The auto stop-start operation is overridden too when the air conditioning unit of the auto is at a maximum or on a grade higher than eight degrees.
Williams revealed that more Toyota models will get the stop-start technology after the Highlander. However, he remained mum though about the specific models that will get it. The report claimed that the larger vehicles of the brand will most probably have it because those are the ones that could benefit more from it. The upcoming 2018 Toyota Sienna is a likely recipient of the system.
Williams estimated that around 85 percent of all 2017 Toyota Highlander SUVs will get the stop-start tech. He added eight percent of the Highlanders that will be sold to customers this year will be the LE trim while seven percent will come from the hybrid variants of the range.
The crossover segment is getting into a tough fight this year, and Toyota’s not letting their Highlander just go by without a bang. The new 2017 Highlander is expected to debut at the New York Auto Show on March 23, and will highlight some new mid-cycle updates Toyota has been boasting about.
The current Toyota Highlander has done very well in the segment. It has record gains in both 2014 and 2015 with 146,127 and 158,915 examples sold, respectively. With these upgrades, Toyota is expecting for a boost on this trend according to a report.
The new Highlander has a refreshed front grille, a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, LE and XLE trims on the hybrid, the sporty SE trim level, and a host of other safety features on the standard variant.
It will continue offering eight seats, a choice of a four-cylinder, hybrid, or V-6 powertrain, FWD or AWD, and other optional equipment. Those who are not a fan of the minivan can get the Highlander instead—Toyota’s premiere people hauler.
On the exterior, the new Highlander will change nothing from the 2016 version except for the front grille and a larger and more SUV-ish appearance. There are three new color options available—the Celestial Silver Metallic, the Toaster Walnut Pearl, and exclusive on the SE is the Salsa Red Pearl.
The SE, by the way, will also come with trim-exclusive, 19-inch alloy wheels, dark paint treatment on the front grille and roof rails, as well as smoked headlight lenses.
Inside, Toyota is offering a new brown leather color for the Limited Platinum trim. On the SE, the new black leather seats will come with silver inserts and stitching. The Highlander will still come with eight seats, thanks to second row seating. But on the Limited and Limited Platinum, the second row can turn into captain chairs.
The new Highlander will most likely have these features under the hood: 290 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque.
Pricing for the 2017 Highlander has yet to be announced, but expect it to start at roughly $30,990.