The Toyota Highlander hybrid is a full-size, 3-row SUV that will shake up your preconceived notions of what a hybrid auto can be. No longer are hybrid vehicles restricted to sedans and crossovers. With a decent powertrain, comfortable interior, a smooth ride, and a vast list of other features all standard, the Highlander is a machine that helps to redefine the SUV.
How Does The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Work?
Though it looks like a giant SUV which you might expect to be a real gasoline guzzler, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is, in fact, a hybrid model.
This means that key elements of the powertrain work in tandem. The first is a traditional gasoline engine, and the other is a system of electric components which provide electrical power to boost the engine. The Highlander comes as either a front-wheel-drive (2 electric motors at the front) or all-wheel drive (3 motors, one at the rear).
When driving at low speeds, the battery-powered electric motors will bear the brunt of the drive work. They propel the car forward quietly and efficiently, perfect in the city, and anywhere you encounter heavy traffic. Once you pick up speed, however, the 2.5L engine automatically takes over, and the gasoline engine will recharge the battery as you drive, readying it for use again later when you’ve slowed down or hit traffic once more.
Is The Toyota Highlander Hybrid A Good Car?
In 2020, the Toyota Highlander underwent a significant redesign, making it more beautiful and feature-packed than ever before. Some look at the smaller engine when compared to the regular Highlander’s 3.5L V6 and think that it might have performance issues. Must make it a worse car somehow. They could be more wrong. U.S. News and World Report ranked the 2020 model as #1 in their Hybrid and Electric SUVs category.
What helps it to stand out from the hybrid competition is its third seating row. Where even the enlarged Prius V Hybrid promised more cargo space, it remained a 5-seater. The Highlander Hybrid, on the other hand, seats up to 8. What’s more, even with a smaller engine, it packs 243 horsepower and is built with a plush, comfortable interior and smooth ride capabilities.
Do Toyota Highlander Hybrid Batteries Ever Need To Be Replaced?
Toyota is more than generous when it comes to providing warranties for its hybrid parts. Yes, the real answer to this question is that they eventually need to be replaced, but it’s improbable that you will need a new hybrid battery while your warranty is still in effect, especially if you bought the car brand new. The warranty on hybrid parts covers them for eight years or 100,000 miles, but the battery pack gets an extra 10-year or 150,000-mile warranty.
If the batteries do expire, you can replace them. Still, according to many Toyota dealerships, the percentage of those who have been forced to swap out their Toyota Highlander Batteries is minuscule.
How Economical is this hybrid car?
When you think of hybrids, you most often think of sedan-sized cars. Even the SUVs have mostly been smaller crossovers. When you see the full-size Highlander it is hard to imagine that such a machine could still be so efficient and economical. As a big family car, it’s incredibly efficient. Try finding a 3-row SUV anywhere to do up to 36mpg in the city and 35mpg on the highway.
Better yet, the strong warranty available on the hybrid parts, as well as the bumper-to-bumper warranty for three years, make it an excellent purchase for any family wanting to take the sting out of gasoline bills.
What Are The Advantages Of A Toyota Highlander Hybrid Car?
The two most significant advantages of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid are the fuel efficiency and the seating space. In pure numbers, it doesn’t rank up there with a hybrid sedan or even a crossover, but when you factor in the Highlander’s sheer size and scale, the numbers do not disappoint.
The Highlander also makes large-scale hybrid cars more affordable than similar-size models like the Volvo XC-90 Hybrid, which, even for a 2020 model, you would have to pay from $67,000. The top-of-the-line Highlander Hybrid is still far below this price.
Where hybrid sedans give the best of both worlds to a degree, the Highlander Hybrid gives you truly the best of two worlds. The first is the giant family SUV with all its space and comfort, and the second is the economical and fuel-efficient family car that doesn’t strain the finances.
Is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Reliable?
When such a fierce warranty protects your essential battery pack and a 4.5-star rating from J.D. Power, it’s nearly impossible to argue that the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is anything but among the most reliable hybrids on the market today. Currently in its fourth design generation, the Highlander has proven itself a worthy family companion, delivering affordability, dependability, and most importantly for many, supreme utility.
Is The Toyota Highlander Hybrid A Good SUV?
The primary reason people choose to purchase SUVs is for their utility. The clue is in the acronym. As the family grows, you need a bigger car to load up the kids’ school bags, groceries, and of course, all the members of the family, too. In this respect, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is an excellent SUV, but there’s even more to it than that.
The Highlander Hybrid’s inherent efficiency and adaptability to city and highway driving rigors make it more than just a “good” SUV. It’s the ideal SUV for those who want all that space, comfort, and utility but want to do so without losing the efficiency afforded them by their former family sedan.
How Much Does The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Cost?
The base price of the top-of-the-line Platinum AWD 2020 model, which has been the primary focus of today’s piece, is $49,975 brand-new. In the 2021 model year, the new entry-level LE model starts at just $38,410, and the Platinum starts at $48,365.
Should I Buy This Car?
If you’re in the market for a high-class, efficient, spacious, and fun-to-drive hybrid SUV, then the Toyota Highlander is undoubtedly the one for you. U.S. News and other services speak of the Highlander with high regard, and Edmunds rated every aspect of the vehicle at 7.5/10 or higher. There are four trim levels to choose from, so you can find a Highlander that perfectly suits your budget and needs.
Performance And Fuel Economy
The 2.5L engine may look on paper to be the same as the smaller RAV4 Hybrid, but the Highlander Hybrid’s engine has been powered up a bit more to deal with the frame’s extra weight. It’ll get you from 0 to 60 in a pleasing 8.2 seconds, comparable even with some non-hybrid V6 engines that will burn way more fuel in the process. As we mentioned above, the Highlander Hybrid gets 36/36mpg in the city and on the highway.
Despite its significant size, the Highlander handles rather nimbly, and the brakes are responsive, too, making an overall comfortable driving experience. It’s good news for those with limited SUV driving experience.