As far as motor show teasers go, this isn’t going to cause a stir, but in the real world people are clamouring for SUVs.
An updated Toyota Kluger (or Highlander as its known outside Australia) is due to be shown at the upcoming 2016 New York Motor Show, strengthening Toyota’s arsenal in the fast-growing SUV and crossover market.
Before the unveil, however, Toyota has released a bunch of pictures that doesn’t exactly spike the mystique factor. Instead, we now have a rather clear idea about what the refreshed Kluger will have to offer.
There are, of course, changes to the exterior such as a new front grille design that’s segmented into two pieces and some extra chrome to elevate the higher variants. Apart from that, the differences are not evident enough from these initial pictures.
Moving inside, the infotainment unit seems to have been given some treatment with a large high resolution touchscreen and what looks to be ambient lighting along the dashboard.
The most important changes, however, are beyond skin deep. The 2017 Kluger will receive new safety features such as autonomous emergency city braking with pedestrian collision warning, along with lane departure warning to go along with its active cruise control.
The engine, too, is to receive updates that keep it competitive with its rivals. Toyota is citing “significant” power and efficiency gaines over the current 3.5-litre 201kW V6, mated to a smoother (and new) eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. However, the Kluger’s hybrid powertrain does seem to be carried over along with its continuously variable transmission (CVT) and standard all-wheel drive.
The Toyota Highlander is earmarked for released in the United States somewhere in the second half of 2016, with the identical but renamed Kluger expected to follow suit shortly after, possibly in early 2017.