2023 Toyota Kluger swaps V6 for turbo power in the US, Australia unclear

The Toyota Kluger V6 is no longer in the US, replaced by a new turbocharged four-cylinder with more torque – but identical fuel economy claim – alongside a tech update.

the 2023 Toyota Kluger V6 Petrol was phased out in the United States in favor of a new turbocharged four-cylinder – but it’s less powerful and no more fuel efficient than the larger engine it replaces.

The engine switch is part of a 2023 model update for the U.S.-market Kluger – where it’s sold as the Highlander – that brings updates to the family SUV’s infotainment technology and trim options Toyota.

Toyota Australia has yet to confirm when the updated model will launch, which is expected to see the current Kluger released until it is replaced in showrooms overseas by the next model in 2026. .

Launched in the latest Lexus NX luxury SUV, the new Kluger 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine expands 198kW and 419Nm – down 20kW, but up 69Nm from the initial 3.5-litre petrol V6 in its Australian-market version.

Despite two fewer cylinders and 1.1 liters less displacement, the new turbo engine is no more efficient than the V6 it replaces, with an identical claimed combined fuel consumption of 9.8 liters per 100 kilometers according to US EPA tests.

Toyota claims a 50% reduction in NOx (nitrous oxide) emissions, as well as “improvement in CO2 emissions”.

Auto stop/start technology is standard, like the old V6, with a choice of front or all-wheel-drive (AWD) – with premium petrol models getting a more advanced AWD system with torque vectoring and the ability to control the power distributed between the left and right rear wheels.

The hybrid option – which accounts for more than half of Kluger’s sales in Australia – continues in 2023, combining a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with three electric motors (two front, one rear) to develop a combined 181 kW in the United States. models, or 184kW in Australia.

Alongside the new engine, the US-market Highlander/Kluger benefits from Toyota’s latest infotainment system currently rolling out across its range, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, over-the-air updates and various connected services.

As before, US buyers can get the system with either an 8.0in or 12.3in center display – but only the former was offered in Australia, as the 12.3in screen was not developed for right-hand drive Kluger models. .

Ahead of the driver is a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster on flagship models – as expected for the smaller RAV4 SUV later this year – with the previously used 7.0-inch screen now offered in the models. base, to replace the old 4.2-inch driver display.

Other interior upgrades include repositioning the wireless smartphone charger from the center console box to a shelf below the infotainment screen. One USB-A port and four USB-C ports are offered.

There’s also a new Cypress Green exterior color and black accents for the beige interior combinations, along with new 20-inch black wheels for the US-market XSE variant.

the Toyota Highlander 2023 (Kluger) is likely to go on sale in the United States within the next nine to twelve months.

The Australian launch schedule has yet to be confirmed – Conduct has contacted Toyota Australia for comment.

It remains to be seen when production of the right-hand drive model will begin, given the roughly 18-month lag between the US launch of the Highlander pre-update in 2019 and the Australian arrival of the local Kluger in June 2021.

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he launched his own website, Redline. He contributed to Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist on the press team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, whether it’s about flipping through car magazines at a young age or growing up around performance. vehicles in a car-loving family.

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