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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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Expert's Rating

4.9Excellent

MPG 28 City / 28 Highway
Pros
  • Hybrid drivetrain maximizes in-city mileage
  • Lots of cargo space
  • Many standard safety features
  • Configurable rear seats
Cons
  • Interior quality lags behind competitors
  • Handles more like an SUV than a car
The Highlander is Toyota's 3-row SUV, designed for family utility rather than off-road excitement. The Highlander Hybrid comes with a 3.6-liter V6 combined with an electric motor that powers the rear wheels. This hybrid system actually increases the total horsepower to 280 hp (over the non-hybrid Highlander's 270 hp). It can cruise on electric-only power at low speed, run gas-only, or combine both motors, giving it 28 mpg in both city and highway driving conditions - as good as many sedans. In exchange for the excellent mileage, the Highlander Hybrid trades towing capacity. It can haul 3,500 pounds compared to the non-hybrid?s 5,000.

Introduction

The Highlander’s listed seating capacity is seven. However, the middle seat in the second row is quite narrow (it can be folded away and left open or replaced with a console), and there’s so little legroom in the third row that it might be a tight fit for adults. The third row is accessible by folding down one of the second row seats. The second and third rows fold down for increased cargo capacity – a total of 146.8 cubic ft.

See our picks for best SUVs in the CarsDirect SUV Buying Guide.

Interior features include a backup camera and a 3.5-in. LCD touchscreen Multi-Information Display with customizable settings, outside temperature, clock, fuel economy history, distance to empty, tire pressure monitoring, hybrid system information and warning messages. 8-way adjustable power driver’s seat and 4-way adjustable power front passenger seat are standard, along with audio, Bluetooth, and voice-command controls built into the tilting, telescoping steering wheel.

Standard safety features include stability control, traction control, ABS, and brake assist technology. Both the driver and front passenger are protected by front and side airbags and all three rows get curtain airbags in case of a rollover. The driver also gets a knee airbag.

The Highlander Hybrid gives you the best of both worlds. You’ve got the capacity and power to haul around half a soccer team or tow the family camper when you need it, but if you’re just driving around town, the hybrid system gives you far better mileage than a non-hybrid SUV.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Starting price
$34,995

2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Base V6

Recommended for: Anyone who wants the hauling and towing capabilities of an SUV with the mileage of a much smaller vehicle

The base model of the Highland Hybrid is anything but bare bones. It comes with integrated fog lights, a distinctive grille that shows of the SUV’s hybrid nature, and 17-in. 7-spoke wheels. The interior sports a 6-speaker audio system with a USB port and Bluetooth audio streaming capability. Remote keyless entry is standard.

2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Starting price
$34,995

2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited V6

Recommended for: Anyone who wants to haul lots of people around, get great mileage, and enjoy some extra luxury while they're at it

The mechanical aspects of the Highlander Hybrid base model and the Limited are identical, so the differences are all either cosmetic or luxury. From the outside, the Limited has 19-in. 5-spoke wheels and chrome door handles. Inside, the Limited gets an upgraded audio system with 9 speakers, including a sub-woofer, and three-zone automatic climate control. Leather trimmed seats (heated in front) add additional style along with wood grain and chrome interior trim. The Limited also gets the Smart Key system, anti-theft system, and power/tilt moonroof.

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