New for the 2009 Toyota Highlander is a 2.7L four-cylinder engine that spits out 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque paired to a six-speed automatic on the base two-wheel drive trim, which increases performance and fuel economy on the 7-passenger crossover SUV. For the rest of the trims, a 3.5L V6 engine stomps out 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, and a five-speed automatic transmission is standard. While front-wheel drive is also standard, all-wheel drive is optional on all but the base four-cylinder trim. With the V6 engine, the front-wheel drive Highlander's fuel mileage is 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy and 20 mpg combined, while the AWD V6 version chops that down by 1 mpg across the board. Toyota Highlander standard safety equipment includes stability control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, three-row side curtain airbags and a driver-side knee airbag. In addition, hill-start assist helps to keep it from rolling backward on uphill starts, and downhill assist on the all-wheel drive facilitate controlled descents. A properly equipped V6-powered Highlander can tow 5,000 pounds.