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2005 Toyota Highlander Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicle

New Car Review of the 2005 Toyota Highlander Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicle

Description: Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicle
Base MSRP Range: $24,280 - $31,580
Invoice Price Range: $21,607 - $28,104
Where built: Japan

Toyota's mid-size SUV wraps the luxurious ride quality and plush comforts of a refined FWD Toyota passenger sedan in the context of a sleek wagon package with four passenger doors applied and flexible seating on three rows plus cargo space in the back bay with access through a rear liftgate.

Powertrains range from a 2.4-liter four-pack pushing 160-hp to a 3.3-liter V6 cranked to 225-hp. To increase the traction advantage, there's an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system available that employs a center differential to divide the engine's torque equally between front and back wheels.

Standard on every version is air conditioning, floor and ceiling consoles, a tilting steering wheel, cruise control and a stereo sound kit, while 2005 versions show new features such as a roof rack with cross bars, remote keyless entry system and a tonneau cover. But there's more: Highlander is slated for a hybrid treatment with a model due later this year with the gas-electric Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) powertrain employed by Toyota's Prius hybrid sedan.