The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Toyota Announces Prices for 2004 Highlander, RAV4, Tacoma, and Echo

TORRANCE, Calif., Sept. 3 -- Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., announced manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) today for the 2004 Highlander mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV), RAV4 compact SUV, Tacoma compact pickup truck, and Echo subcompact sedan. All four vehicles go on sale in September.

Toyota has extensively enhanced the value of its popular Highlander mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) for 2004, increasing power and performance, adding safety features and offering a new third-row seat in specific models. Freshened front and rear exterior styling and numerous interior enhancements also distinguish the 2004 Highlander.

The new available third-row seat expands Highlander's passenger capacity to seven and includes privacy glass, a rear-heater system, and additional cupholders. "Walk-in" steps and a second-row sliding seat make it easier to enter and exit the third row seat. The third row seat also folds completely flat into the floor to create added cargo space.

Highlander gets more powerful engine choices for 2004, including a new and larger V6 that produces 230 horsepower, 10 more than the previous model. The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine now produces 160 horsepower, five more than the 2003 model.

Teamed to a new five-speed automatic transmission with "snow" mode throttle-control start, the larger, more powerful V6 yields better performance than before. A new electronic throttle control provides more precise engine response and helps reduce emissions. An Active Control Engine Mount helps to reduce vibrations when idling.

For 2004, a redesigned front bumper, grill, headlights, fog lamps, rear bumper, and taillights freshen Highlander's distinctive look. The front bumper features integrated molding that accentuates its styling. Standard 17-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels in the Limited model add to Highlander's refined look and also enhance handling response.

Designed to exude high quality and attention to detail, the Highlander interior receives further enhancements for 2004, including new seat fabric and a new instrument and door panel trim.

To enhance all-weather capability and traction for 2004, Highlander features Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with electronic traction control (TRAC) as standard n both 2WD and 4WD models. VSC helps keep the vehicle going on its intended course by detecting front-wheel slide and rear-wheel slide during cornering and attempting to control either condition with torque intervention and/or by braking individual wheels.

New safety features for 2004 include driver and passenger multi-stage front airbags that inflate according to collision severity. A new front seat passenger sensor determines if there is a person in the seat as well as the person's weight category to determine whether the airbag should inflate, and the correct inflation power. New for 2004, the optional front-seat-mounted side airbags now include first and second row curtain side airbags. A new standard tire pressure warning system can help to reduce the possibility of loss of handling and stability or excessive tire wear due to a serious loss of tire pressure.

Even with this array of enhancements for 2004 the base MSRP for the Highlander V6 4x2 with two rows of seats is only $25,140, a decrease of $420, or 1.6 percent from last year. The base MSRP for the Highlander four-cylinder 4x2 with two rows of seats is $24,080, an increase of only $200, or 0.8 percent over last year. The base MSRP for the Highlander four-cylinder 4x4 with two rows of seats is $25,480, also an increase of $200, or 0.8 percent.

Base MSRP for non-Limited grade Highlander's with the new third-row seating range from $24,930 for the four-cylinder 4x2, to $27,390 for the 4x4 V6.

The premium Limited grade adds a power front passenger seat, electrochromic rearview mirror with compass, 17-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel audio switches, and third-row seating, all as standard equipment. With all of these enhancements, the base MSRP for the Limited 4x2 is $29,980, an increase of $285, or 1.0 percent. The base MSRP for the Limited 4x4 is $31,380, an increase of only $285, or 0.9 percent.

Toyota has thoroughly revised the RAV4 sport utility vehicle (SUV) for 2004, giving it a larger, more powerful engine, exterior restyling, new safety enhancements and interior upgrades.

Power is increased thanks to a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) that produces 161 horsepower and 165 lb.-ft. of peak torque. To match the added performance of RAV4, Toyota retuned the suspension and steering for crisper response. Rear disc brakes also have been added.

For 2004, RAV4 receives a redesigned front bumper, headlights, grille and fog lights in front, new taillight and spare tire cover designs in the rear and five sporty new colors.

The freshened look continues inside, where the 2004 RAV4 features a redesigned steering wheel, instrument cluster and center dashboard area. The interior fabric is also new, with a dark charcoal color now available. Along with the new look comes expanded standard equipment including air conditioning, 3-in-1 AM/FM/cassette audio system with six speakers, cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, power windows, door locks and mirrors, and variable intermittent windshield wipers.

Formerly optional, the anti-lock brake system (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist is now standard on RAV4.

Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with integrated traction control is standard on 2004 models. A new standard tire pressure monitor warns the driver of a serious loss of tire pressure, a condition that can potentially lead to loss of stability and control.

Passive safety has also been revised, with new multi-stage front airbags that inflate according to impact severity and passenger weight.

With the performance enhancements and the array of additional standard equipment valued at more than $2,000 that was previously optional or not available, the base MSRP for the 2004 RAV4 ranges from $18,350 for the 4x2 with a five-speed manual transmission to $20,800 for the 4x4 with an automatic transmission. On average, 2004 RAV4 prices increase $1,725.

Toyota redesigned the exterior and upgraded the interior of its entry-model Echo for 2003, and this distinctive entry-level model carries into 2004 with no changes. The affordable Echo retains its excellent value with prices unchanged for 2004. Base MSRP for Echo ranges from $10,245 for the two-door with a five-speed manual to $11,575 for the four-door with an automatic transmission.

For 2004 the popular Tacoma pickup carries over with minimal changes. The 4x2 PreRunner V6 and Tacoma 4x4 V6 models are available with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), while the 4x4 models now also feature Active TRAC, a traction control system that's especially useful in rugged off-highway driving conditions.

The base MSRP for Tacoma 4x2 Regular Cab ranges from $12,260 for the five-speed manual to $14,175 for the PreRunner with an automatic transmission. Tacoma 4x2 Xtracab prices range from $14,920 for the four-cylinder five-speed manual to $20,160 for the performance focused S-Runner V6 with a manual transmission. Prices for the 4x2 Double Cab are $18,490 for the PreRunner four-cylinder automatic and 19,350 for the PreRunner V6. On average, 2004 Tacoma 4x2 prices increase only $75, or 0.5 percent.

Tacoma 4x4 MSRPs range from $16,670 for the Regular Cab four-cylinder with a five-speed manual to $22,500 for the Double Cab V6 automatic. On average, 2004 Tacoma 4x4 prices increase only $78, or 0.4 percent. Total Tacoma prices (4x2 and 4x4 combined) increase $76, or 0.4 percent.