Since Toyota introduced an all-new Highlander Hybrid for the 2020 model year, we anticipate that the 2021 model will be a carryover. The only major change we expect to see for 2021 is the addition of Toyota Safety Sense 2.5. Toyota’s latest safety suite is expected to become standard throughout the 2021 Highlander Hybrid lineup.
Just like the all-new 2020 Highlander Hybrid, the 2021 model year will wear the same aggressive design that Toyota introduced for last year’s SUV. From the angular headlights, wide front air intake, flowing grooves along the side, hefty spoiler, and sharp taillights give the current Highlander Hybrid a look that’s unlike any other hybrid SUV on the market. The design of the cabin is just as dramatic with sharp edges, a tiered center console layout, and upscale materials.
On the tech front, the 2021 Highlander Hybrid will come with the same technology as the current model. That includes an 8-inch touchscreen, a USB port, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, and Bluetooth. Higher trims come with a 12.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, a premium JBL audio system, and wireless charging.
Toyota will continue to offer the Highlander Hybrid with the upscale Platinum trim. The model will come with 20-inch alloy wheels, grille shutters, gray metallic exterior trim pieces, a floating-roof design, and chrome badges. It’s not a large difference, but the subtle changes help the Platinum trim stand out as the most luxurious one in the lineup.
No changes are expected to take place underneath the 2021 Highlander Hybrid’s hood. That means power will come from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and up to two electric motors for a combined output of 243 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission is included with the powertrain, as is a nickel-metal-hydride battery. As standard, the Highlander Hybrid comes with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive will also be available.
When it comes to safety features, that’s where the 2021 Highlander Hybrid is expected to receive an update compared to the 2020 model year. Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 will be standard on every Highlander Hybrid. The suite includes all of the same features from last year, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and automatic high beams. TSS 2.5 will add an updated pre-collision system that supports left turns at intersections and a Curve Speed Management feature for the adaptive cruise control system. Furthermore, lane-detection will now offer enhanced line recognition with something Toyota calls Risk Avoidance Emergency Steering.