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Top Features of Base Model
- Room for eight passengers
- Efficient V6/electric hybrid drivetrain
- Standard Toyota Safety Sense advanced safety features
- Standard all-wheel-drive
Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Everything You Need to Know
About the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a midsize SUV with seating for up to eight passengers in three rows. The Highlander Hybrid is unique in the segment. All other midsize hybrid SUVs come from luxury brands such as Acura, Lexus, and Volvo, and these are priced much higher than the Highlander.
The eight-passenger configuration makes the Highlander Hybrid perfect for families who regularly carry lots of people and cargo. This SUV comes with a long list of family-friendly features. There’s even an optional second-row entertainment system for the kids.
While the Highlander Hybrid is not meant to be an exciting vehicle, it has more engine power than the conventional Highlander. All Highlander models are easy to drive and safe in a crash. Toyota gives every Highlander Hybrid its latest advanced safety equipment.
Toyota has used hybrid technology to implement standard all-wheel-drive. A gasoline-powered V6 engine and an electric motor drive the front wheels under normal conditions. A second electric motor automatically turns the rear wheels when extra traction is needed. This allows instant response without detracting from fuel economy.
The Highlander Hybrid is rated at 30 mpg in city driving, and 28 mpg on the highway. The luxury XLE and Limited trims return 29/27 mpg because of their extra weight. The Highlander Hybrid can tow up to 3,500 pounds, making it perfect for recreational use.
What’s New in the 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?
Toyota has announced a revised Toyota Highlander for the 2020 model year. Because of that, there were only very small exterior trim changes to the 2019 Highlander Hybrid. The 2019 model includes:
- 3.5-liter V6 gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain with 306 total horsepower
- Electronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT)
- Standard electronic on-demand all-wheel-drive
- Four trim levels
What Does the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Compete With?
Among economy brands, the Highlander Hybrid is the only midsize hybrid SUV. However, buyers looking for a comparable vehicle may shop luxury brands or compact SUVs. Those considering the Highlander Hybrid should also check out these vehicles:
- Acura MDX Sport Hybrid
- Lexus RX 450h
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- Nissan Rogue Hybrid
- Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Buyers who can afford a luxury brand might want to consider the Acura and the Lexus hybrids. Those who can get by with a smaller vehicle could think about a compact SUV, like the Mitsubishi and Nissan. While not an SUV, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan is a noteworthy alternative for both amenities and fuel economy.
Exterior Design of the New Toyota Highlander Hybrid
All 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid models are good-looking SUVs. Toyota has opted for a large grille area with horizontal slats. The Highlander Hybrid manages to appear substantial without seeming too heavy. The overall look of the vehicle suggests speed, and the new metallic paint colors make the Highlander Hybrid stand out.
Standard exterior features on all trims include:
- Projector headlights
- LED taillights
- Heated power side mirrors
- 18-inch wheels
- Darkened privacy glass on all rear windows
- Flip-up rear hatch window
Higher trim levels add such features as:
- LED fog lights and daytime running lights
- Roof rails
- Power liftgate
- 19-inch wheels
Interior Style in the New Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s interior reflects the vehicle’s intended family use. The standard configuration includes a three-passenger 60/40 split bench seat in the second row. The two outboard second-row positions include LATCH connections for child car seats. Individual second row captain’s chairs are available for a seven-passenger configuration. The somewhat cozy third row also has a 60/40 split seat to maximize cargo capacity.
In the front, the Highlander Hybrid’s cabin offers a near-luxury experience. This is because the Hybrid is offered only in higher trim levels compared to the standard Highlander. The Hybrid LE comes with cool fabric seating surfaces, while the XLE, Limited, and Limited Platinum all offer heated leather. The Limited and Limited Platinum trims include seat ventilation in addition to heat.
All Highlander Hybrid models have eight cup holders, as well as four bottle holders in the doors. Cargo capacity is excellent, with enough space behind the third row for backpacks, sports equipment, or groceries. Luggage for a family of four can fit easily with the third row down. Fold down all rear seats if you want to make a trip to the home-supply or appliance store.
One interior feature to call out is Toyota’s Driver Easy Speak system. This uses the hands-free microphone to project the driver’s voice all the way back to the third row. Parents will find this feature quite handy, especially car-pool days or road trips.
What Technology Comes in the 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?
Toyota equips all 2019 Highlander Hybrid trims with a touchscreen infotainment system. The Hybrid LE trim gets a 6.1-inch display. Higher trims receive an 8.0-inch screen with more functions.
Technology common to all trims includes:
- AM/FM six-speaker audio system
- CD player
- Voice recognition
- Auxiliary port
- USB port
- Hands-free phone capability
- Bluetooth connectivity
Higher trims add such features as:
- HD radio
- Sirius/XM satellite radio
- Predictive traffic and weather
- JBL premium audio system with 12 speakers
- GPS navigation
The Highlander Hybrid also offers an optional second-row Blu-ray disc entertainment system. This comes with a 9.0-inch screen mounted up on the headliner in view of the rear seats, plus two sets of wireless headphones.
What Kind of Safety Features are in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid?
The Toyota Safety Sense P system is standard on every 2019 Highlander Hybrid. This includes advanced features such as:
- Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. This system warns the driver if a collision is imminent. If the driver does not respond, the Highlander Hybrid brakes automatically.
- Lane-departure alert with steering assist. If the Highlander begins to wander, the system automatically steers the vehicle back into its lane.
- Automatic high-beam headlights. This system senses oncoming traffic and switches to low beams until the vehicle passes.
- Dynamic radar cruise control. This allows the Highlander Hybrid to maintain a set speed with prevailing traffic automatically.
Additionally, Toyota equips the Highlander Hybrid with the Star Safety System. This feature set includes traction, stability, and braking controls.
Together these systems make the 2019 Highlander Hybrid one of the safest SUVs on the market. The Highlander earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the 2019 Toyota Highlander as a Top Safety Pick.
What is the 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Like to Drive?
Hybrids have a reputation for being slow, but the 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is actually more lively than the standard model. The electric motors in the hybrid drivetrain deliver power instantly. They help the Highlander Hybrid get moving quickly, and they are integral to the traction- and stability-control systems.
As a midsize SUV, the Highlander Hybrid is large and a little bit heavy. However, the steering is responsive, and the brakes inspire confidence. More importantly, the Highlander Hybrid is smooth and quiet on the highway. Among midsize SUVs, the Highlander Hybrid is definitely above average.
Should I Buy a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?
As the only midsize economy hybrid SUV on the market, the 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the best value in its class of one. However, if your family wants to get the benefits of a hybrid in a quality SUV at a good price, you don’t need more than one option.
The only reason not to buy a Highlander Hybrid this year is that Toyota has unveiled a next-generation Highlander for the 2020 model year. Those who demand the latest features in a vehicle might want to wait for the new model.
Should I buy a Used Toyota Highlander Hybrid? Are There Any I Should Avoid?
The Highlander Hybrid has been sold in America since 2006. However, the last major update came in 2014. Buyers should seek out the newest certified pre-owned Highlander Hybrid available. Newer vehicles will have more current safety, driver assist, and technology equipment.
How Much Does the New Toyota Highlander Hybrid Cost?
The 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE starts at $37,320. The XLE trim offers a small upgrade for $42,380. The Limited trim provides quite a few more features for $45,860. Finally, the top Limited Platinum trim carries a retail price of $48,980. A destination charge of $1,095 will be added to these prices.
Pros and Cons of the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
- Wide range of standard and optional features
- Only hybrid midsize SUV in its class
- Low price compared to luxury brands
- Excellent safety features and ratings
- Space for eight people
- 3,500-pound towing capacity
- New 2020 model already announced
- Infotainment system can be tricky to use
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto not available
- Third-row seat not as comfortable as some competitors
- Higher initial cost than the standard Highlander
The History of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Toyota’s Largest Hybrid
Toyota added a Hybrid option to its Highlander midsize SUV for the 2006 model year. And the company has refined the Hybrid system several times since the introduction.
The Highlander Hybrid has become an important part of Toyota’s industry-leading hybrid offerings. As the only midsize hybrid SUV from an economy brand, the Highlander Hybrid stands alone. Toyota sells about 400,000 Highlanders of all kinds in the U.S. each year.
Specs & Key Features of the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
- Body Style
- Sport Utility
- 3.5L V6 DOHC 24-Valve VVT-i MPI
- 280 hp
- Electronic Continuously Variable
- Passenger Doors
- Passenger Seating
- All Wheel Drive
- City MPG
- Hwy MPG
- Air Conditioning
- Back Up Camera
- Blind Spot Sensor
- CD Player
- Cruise Control
- Heated Seats
- Leather Seats
- Leather Steering Wheel
- Remote Keyless Entry
- Tinted Glass
- Engine: 3.5L V6 DOHC 24-Valve VVT-i MPI
- Transmission: Electronic Continuously Variable -inc: planetary gear unit for gear reduction and power splitting
- 3.542 Axle Ratio
- GVWR: 6,270 lbs
- Engine Auto Stop-Start Feature
- Transmission w/Driver Selectable Mode, Sequential Shift Control and Oil Cooler
- Automatic Full-Time All-Wheel Drive
- Engine Oil Cooler
- Battery w/Run Down Protection
- Hybrid Electric Motor
- 1305# Maximum Payload
- Gas-Pressurized Shock Absorbers
- Front And Rear Anti-Roll Bars
- Electric Power-Assist Speed-Sensing Steering
- 17.2 Gal. Fuel Tank
- Single Stainless Steel Exhaust
- Permanent Locking Hubs
- Strut Front Suspension w/Coil Springs
- Double Wishbone Rear Suspension w/Coil Springs
- Regenerative 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front Vented Discs, Brake Assist, Hill Descent Control and Hill Hold Control
- Nickel Metal Hydride Traction Battery
- Wheels: 19" 5-Spoke Chromtec Alloy
- Tires: P245/55R19 105S AS
- Steel Spare Wheel
- Compact Spare Tire Stored Underbody w/Crankdown
- Clearcoat Paint
- Express Open/Close Sliding And Tilting Glass 1st Row Sunroof w/Sunshade
- Body-Colored Front Bumper
- Body-Colored Rear Bumper w/Black Rub Strip/Fascia Accent
- Black Wheel Well Trim
- Chrome Side Windows Trim
- Body-Colored Door Handles
- Body-Colored Power Heated Side Mirrors w/Manual Folding and Turn Signal Indicator
- Flip-Up Rear Window w/Fixed Interval Wiper and Defroster
- Deep Tinted Glass
- Variable Intermittent Wipers w/Heated Wiper Park
- Fully Galvanized Steel Panels
- Splash Guards
- Lip Spoiler
- Black Grille w/Chrome Surround
- Power Liftgate Rear Cargo Access
- Tailgate/Rear Door Lock Included w/Power Door Locks
- Roof Rack Rails Only
- Fully Automatic Projector Beam Halogen Daytime Running Headlamps w/Delay-Off
- Front Fog Lamps
- Perimeter/Approach Lights
- Radio: Entune Premium JBL Audio w/Nav & App Suite -inc: the Entune Multimedia Bundle (8-inch high resolution touch-screen w/split screen display, AM/FM CD player, MP3/WMA playback capability, 12 JBL GreenEdge speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port w/iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology), Siri Eyes Free, Entune App Suite, Intelligent Touch controls, SiriusXM All-Access Radio w/3-month complimentary trial, HD radio, HD predictive traffic and doppler weather overlay, AM/FM cache radio, Gracenotes album cover art, and integrated backup camera w/dynamic gridlines
- Radio w/Seek-Scan, Clock, Speed Compensated Volume Control and Steering Wheel Controls
- Digital Signal Processor
- Window Grid Diversity Antenna
- Heated/Ventilated Front Bucket Seats
- Front Seats w/Leatherette Back Material and Power 2-Way Driver Lumbar
- 12-Way Power Driver Seat -inc: Power Recline, Height Adjustment, Cushion Extension, Fore/Aft Movement, Cushion Tilt and Power 2-Way Lumbar Support
- 4-Way Power Passenger Seat -inc: Power Recline and Fore/Aft Movement
- Bucket Folding Captain Front Facing Manual Reclining Fold Forward Seatback Rear Seat w/Manual Fore/Aft
- Front Center Armrest and Rear Seat Mounted Armrest
- Manual Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
- Gauges -inc: Speedometer, Odometer, Engine Coolant Temp, Traction Battery Level, Power/Regen, Trip Odometer and Trip Computer
- Power Rear Windows, Fixed 3rd Row Windows and w/Manual Sun Blinds
- Fixed 60-40 Split-Bench SofTex Leatherette 3rd Row Seat Front, Manual Recline, Manual Fold Into Floor, 3 Manual and Adjustable Head Restraints
- Leather/Metal-Look Steering Wheel
- Front Cupholder
- Rear Cupholder
- 3 12V DC Power Outlets
- Proximity Key For Doors And Push Button Start
- Valet Function
- Remote Keyless Entry w/4 Door Curb/Courtesy, Illuminated Entry, Illuminated Ignition Switch and Panic Button
- Remote Releases -Inc: Power Cargo Access, Power Fuel and Keyfob Rear Window
- HomeLink Garage Door Transmitter
- Cruise Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
- Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning
- Rear HVAC w/Separate Controls
- HVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts and Headliner/Pillar Ducts
- Locking Glove Box
- Driver Foot Rest
- Interior Trim -inc: Simulated Wood/Metal-Look Instrument Panel Insert, Simulated Wood/Metal-Look Door Panel Insert and Chrome/Metal-Look Interior Accents
- Full Cloth Headliner
- Leatherette Door Trim Insert
- Leather/Metal-Look Gear Shift Knob
- Perforated Leather Seat Trim
- Day-Night Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror
- Driver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors w/Driver And Passenger Illumination, Driver And Passenger Auxiliary Mirror
- Full Floor Console w/Covered Storage, Mini Overhead Console w/Storage, Conversation Mirror, 3 12V DC Power Outlets and 1 AC Power Outlet
- Front And Rear Map Lights
- Fade-To-Off Interior Lighting
- Full Carpet Floor Covering
- Carpet Floor Trim
- Trunk/Hatch Auto-Latch
- Cargo Space Lights
- Memory Settings -inc: Driver Seat and Door Mirrors
- FOB Controls -inc: Trunk/Hatch/Tailgate
- Instrument Panel Bin, Driver / Passenger And Rear Door Bins
- Power 1st Row Windows w/Front And Rear 1-Touch Up/Down
- Delayed Accessory Power
- Power Door Locks w/Autolock Feature
- Systems Monitor
- Trip Computer
- Outside Temp Gauge
- Analog Display
- Manual Adjustable Front Head Restraints and Manual Adjustable Rear Head Restraints
- 2 Seatback Storage Pockets
- Perimeter Alarm
- Engine Immobilizer
- 3 12V DC Power Outlets and 1 AC Power Outlet
- Air Filtration
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
- ABS And Driveline Traction Control
- Side Impact Beams
- Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
- Rear Parking Sensors
- Blind Spot Sensor
- Rear Collision Warning
- Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning
- Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
- Curtain 1st, 2nd And 3rd Row Airbags
- Airbag Occupancy Sensor
- Driver Knee Airbag and Passenger Cushion Front Airbag
- Rear Child Safety Locks
- Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners
- Back-Up Camera