The facelifted Toyota Kluger crossover has been revealed ahead of its official debut at the New York auto show next week.
Under the bonnet, the post-facelift Kluger — or Highlander as its known in North America — will be available with a 3.5-litre direct-injection V6, which is mated exclusively to a more compact eight-speed “direct shift” automatic transmission.
Toyota has yet to provide any figures for the new direct-injection drivetrain, but claims that the new combo will “generate significantly more horsepower, provide enhanced fuel efficiency, and deliver a more direct driving feel by expanding the lock up range”.
The current port-injection 3.5-litre V6 develops 201kW of power and 337Nm of torque, and is paired with a six-speed automatic.
In the US, the Highlander will also be offered with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and as a hybrid, with the hybrid variants adopting the new direct-injection V6.
Stateside, mid- and high-spec Highlander V6 models will be equipped with automatic engine stop/start as standard. Other upgrades include the addition four extra USB ports (for a total of five), and the availability of a sportier SE model with firmer suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a meaner visage.
The changes wrought to the exterior of the Kluger/Highlander are far less dramatic than those applied to the related Camry sedan.
Up front, the revised Highlander sports new headlights with LED elements, and a completely revised front bumper with a new two-part grille treatment. A variety of grille styles will be available, with the blacked out version seen here reserved for sportier trim lines.
Cosmetic revisions elsewhere are a little less dramatic, with new alloy wheel designs and tail-light graphics incorporating LED light tubes being the key standouts.
On the safety front, the updated Highlander will be available with automated emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure alert, radar-guided cruise control, automatic high beam activation, blind spot monitoring, and a surround view camera system.
Production of the updated Kluger/Highlander will start soon at the company’s factory in Princeton, Indiana. Sales in the USA kick off in the third quarter of 2016.
Toyota Australia has confirmed to CarAdvice.com.au that the new Kluger will arrive in Australian showrooms during the first half of 2017.
Whilst specifications and available equipment packages have yet to be nutted out, the company has confirmed that Australia-bound versions of the updated Kluger will feature the new direct-injection 3.5-litre V6 and eight-speed automatic.