When Toyota introduced its Highlander crossover in 2001, the SUV craze was in full swing. Since most were used strictly as family haulers, Toyota surmised that the market was ready for a vehicle that carried people and cargo like an SUV, but behaved like a passenger car.
That thinking resulted in a front-wheel-drive vehicle (with optional all-wheel drive) on a car chassis with four- and six-cylinder engines. A hybrid version of the Highlander hit the market in 2005—years before many competitors—and carries into the current generation, which debuted in 2007. The 2013 hybrid's 3.5-liter V6 is assisted by three electric motors, which accounts for its hefty 280 horsepower and 28 mpg, even in town.