Toyota Highlander seven-seat hybrid SUV coming to UK in 2021

Previously limited to foreign markets, the new Toyota Highlander will be sold in Europe for the first time from next year

Toyota Highlander

Toyota has announced that its Highlander SUV will be sold in western Europe and the UK for the first time as of early 2021. It'll be the largest SUV in the brand's range, sitting above the RAV4 and bringing a more affordable seven-seat option to Toyota's European SUV line-up, alongside the more rugged and expensive Land Cruiser.

Previous models of the Highlander have already proved popular in the American market, as well as in Japan and Australia, where it's sold as the Kluger. UK prices have yet to be announced, but we expect a starting figure close to £40,000. Rivals will include the Skoda Kodiaq, SEAT Tarraco, Peugeot 5008 and Hyundai Santa Fe; none of those are currently available as hybrids, although a plug-in Tarraco is on the way.

The new Highlander is based on Toyota’s GA-K platform, which also underpins the RAV4 and the Toyota Camry saloon. Like those cars, it’ll use ‘self-charging’ hybrid technology, with the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, here mated to a pair of electric motors to provide four-wheel drive. Toyota claims a total output of 241bhp, 146g/km CO2 emissions and 42.8mpg fuel economy.

The usual array of driving modes is offered to make the most of the car’s drivetrain, namely Eco, Normal, Sport and Trail. An all-electric mode is also offered, but Toyota hasn't confirmed how far the Highlander will travel on electric power alone; it's likely to be a mile or two at most.

At 4,950mm, the Highlander is 350mm longer than the RAV4. Toyota has used the extra space to fit a third row of seats, with the middle row able to slide by 180mm to get the best balance of legroom for all occupants. Storage is plentiful, with a 658-litre boot that’ll extend to 1,909 litres with all seats folded. All rear seats fold fully flat.

Full UK specification hasn't been confirmed, but equipment will include sat nav, a head-up display, wireless phone charger and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, along with ventilated seats and a digital rear-view mirror to give an unobstructed view rearwards when the car is full of passengers. 

The latest suite of Toyota Safety Sense technology features, including adaptive cruise control, road-sign recognition, lane-departure warning, automatic headlights and a pre-collision system with active steering assistance.