The Toyota Highlander — sold in Australia as the Kluger — is joining the turbocharged engine brigade, at least in the US.

    We’ve contacted Toyota Australia about whether the new engine is heading to Australia, but as this news broke well deep in the witching hours, we’ve yet to hear back.

    The 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine makes 198kW and 419Nm.

    Compared to the naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre V6 it replaces, the four-pot is down 22kW in the power stakes, but it does make a significant 62Nm more torque.

    Paired with a front-wheel drive setup, the 2.4-litre turbo Highlander has an unchanged combined cycle US EPA fuel economy rating of 9.8L/100km (24mpg).

    Given this, Toyota is keen to tout the new engine emits 50 per cent less NOx (oxides of nitrogen) and NMOG (non-methane organic gas).

    Stateside the 2.4-litre turbo will be available for the 2023 model year. The company has yet to announce when the 2023 model year cars will become available, though.

    With the way model years are assigned in the US, the updated Highlander could arrive in showrooms until some time in 2023. Pricing has also yet to be confirmed, so we don’t know if the 2.4-litre engine will come at a premium to the V6 or, even, the hybrid.

    Speaking of the hybrid, it remains unchanged with the 2.5-litre four-cylinder system making a total of 181kW. With its US EPA combined fuel economy rating of 6.5L/100km (36mpg), it has a lighter environmental footprint than the turbo.

    Changes to the Highlander range in the US include the addition on high-end trims of a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment unit with over-the-air software updates, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support with full-screen display.

    Ahead of the driver there’s a new 12.3-inch fully digital instrumentation display, with a number of driver-selectable modes: casual, smart, tough and sporty.

    The Qi wireless smartphone charger has been moved from the centre console bin to a shelf in the dashboard underneath the climate controls.

    There’s also a new Cypress (dark green) paint option, while the beige and brown interiors now feature black accents rather than brown ones.

    From what we can see there are no major design changes to the Highlander’s exterior, although the sporty-looking American XSE trim — which features a unique grille and front bumper treatment — now has black 20-inch alloy wheels.

    MORE: Everything Toyota Kluger

    Derek Fung

    Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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