2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid review: Astonishingly efficient

Like a bountiful harvest pouring forth from a horn of a great deal, you can find no scarcity of 3-row SUVs readily available currently. The Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are preferred solutions, to name a few, but you can find also the Mazda CX-nine, Subaru […]

Like a bountiful harvest pouring forth from a horn of a great deal, you can find no scarcity of 3-row SUVs readily available currently. The Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are preferred solutions, to name a few, but you can find also the Mazda CX-nine, Subaru Ascent and even Volkswagen’s up to date 2021 Atlas. Of system, Chevrolet will also fortunately promote you a Traverse. But if compact automobile-rivaling gasoline mileage is a precedence then Toyota’s manufactured items easy. The Japanese automaker’s Highlander Hybrid is really the only choice. 


  • Lexus-like refinement
  • Magnificent interior
  • Fantastic efficiency

Really don’t Like

  • Curious placement of wi-fi charger
  • Uninspired infotainment technique
  • Smaller third-row seat

The most crucial numbers

Just how cost-effective is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid? Very well, engineers manufactured this newest product all over twenty% additional successful than the prior era, which translates to 36 miles for each gallon city and 35 mpg highway for a entrance-generate product. Range-topping Platinum-trim variants with all-wheel generate are slightly less successful, while the difference is, truthfully, negligible. My critique device stickers at 35 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 35 mpg merged. In genuine-environment use, the vacation computer system indicated 31 mpg and adjust for the duration of testing, which I bought without even attempting. If you generate in a additional conservative fashion, you could even be equipped to beat people EPA estimates. 

How dominating is the Highlander Hybrid’s gas-economic system overall performance? Very well, in comparison, a rear-generate Ford Explorer Hybrid, arguably its only direct rival, returns a claimed 27 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 28 mpg merged. Get 4-wheel generate and people figures are even reduce, producing this Toyota’s efficiency scores seem all the additional extraordinary.

You can find a large amount of sculpting together the system sides.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Two motors, one particular motor

Enabling this SUV to sip gas like when you get that first, tongue-scalding slurp of piping-scorching coffee is a acquainted drivetrain. Powering that wide, smiling grille you can expect to uncover a two-motor hybrid technique designed all over a two.five-liter 4-cylinder motor. That gasoline-burner is matched to a pair of electric powered motor-turbines that, between other items, operate as a repeatedly variable transmission. Whole technique output clocks in at 243 horsepower, a additional-than-enough determine, if hardly a thrilling one particular.

It is accurate, I want the Highlander Hybrid experienced a small additional giddy-up. That drivetrain is mainly clean and quiet, while you do know when it truly is straining. Give this car the spurs and unmistakable 4-cylinder thrum becomes clear. No, it truly is not obtrusive, specifically in Restricted and Platinum types, which feature laminated entrance-window glass for an even quieter cabin, but you can hear that combustion motor churning absent at certain periods.

Highlander Hybrids can tow a modest 3,500 kilos. That should be more than enough for a small boat or a pair of dust bikes, things like that. Non-hybrid types are a bit additional able, equipped to drag up to five,000 kilos.

When shedding velocity, the Highlander Hybrid’s brakes are easy to modulate and the pedal feels fantastic underneath your tootsies. Regenerative braking, which places electrons back into the battery pack for use afterwards, is clean, and the transition to friction braking just about seamless.

Due to the fact it truly is a hybrid, this SUV can also be pushed shorter distances in electric powered-only mode — emphasis on shorter. This is not a plug-in hybrid, so EV array isn’t really a genuine component, but the Highlander can silently motor down your block or waft into the garage without disturbing anyone. 

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD

Aside from hoses and cables, you can find not much to see here.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The softer facet

The Highlander’s cabin is extremely very well completed. Even while its dashboard is oddly asymmetrical, the materials utilised and overall flexibility are great. My tester has a great deal of delicate leather-based, rendered in a hue named Glazed Caramel. It is wealthy looking and unique to the array-topping Platinum product.

Past all that, you can find no scarcity of USB ports, the storage cubbies on the dashboard are super useful and the centre-console bin is borderline cavernous, with a caveat. A person assumed it was a fantastic plan to put the wi-fi-charging plate beneath the centre armrest, which slides absent like the lid on a roll-top desk. Not only does this format block accessibility to that centre bin, the pad itself is way too small to accommodate much larger handsets in scenarios. My Apple iphone 8 Additionally would not suit in the recess, while it nonetheless expenses even though tipped up at a slight angle. I have so many thoughts about this structure decision.

For the most section, passenger convenience in the Highlander is a solid level. Its entrance buckets present La-Z-Boy concentrations of cushiness and the second row ain’t way too lousy, possibly. Unfortunately, the third row is a disappointment. Nearly no automobiles in this class will easily accommodate adult passengers in their rear-most seats for any major size of time. But this Toyota’s third-row legroom is the tightest between significant rivals. In accordance to manufacturer-published figures, it has practically six fewer inches of legroom than a Chevy Traverse, and that is a large difference.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD

The Highlander Hybrid’s cabin is nicely made and very well designed.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

In keeping with the Highlander Hybrid’s polished and nicely trimmed cabin, it only takes you about 10 seconds powering the wheel to notice how refined it is. It is quiet, clean and, in a large amount of approaches, feels like a Lexus. This vehicle’s journey excellent is supple and the steering is gentle to the contact but fast more than enough to make the Highlander appear to be at the very least a small bit agile.

Technically speaking

An infotainment technique with a twelve.3-inch touchscreen is readily available. It can be experienced in Restricted types, while it truly is conventional devices on the Highlander Platinum. Aside from integrated navigation, it also gets you an eleven-speaker JBL audio technique, which is loud and very clear.

That exhibit is pretty wonderful, equally crisp and colorful, but I’m not a lover of the software package that operates on it. Toyota’s multimedia offerings are likely to have out-of-date person interfaces and perplexing menus. Though it truly is not horrible, the Highlander’s infotainment array is additional of the very same. I uncover it a bit way too difficult, it truly is not very fairly and then you can find a odd smattering of mismatched actual physical buttons beneath the display. At the very least Amazon Alexa compatibility as very well as Apple CarPlay and Android Car are conventional throughout the array, so you only have to use Toyota’s infotainment offerings for as prolonged as it takes to plug your telephone in.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD

This is not my favourite infotainment technique around 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Defending just about every Highlander owner, no issue their price range, Toyota Basic safety Sense two. is conventional throughout all trim concentrations. This involves items like automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and lane-departure warning with steering guide. This last item efficiently keeps the Highlander centered in its lane of travel. It is very fantastic, while it appears a small bit less accurate than Honda or Nissan units these days. Keyless entry with pushbutton start off is conventional throughout the board, ditto LED foglights and taillamps. 

Illuminating the darkness, Platinum types arrive with super-vivid LED adaptive headlights. Not only are they self-leveling, they swivel as you turn the steering wheel to assist improve visibility. Rain-sensing windshield wipers are conventional as very well.

Judgement rendered

The Highlander Hybrid is supplied in 4 trim concentrations, every of which can be experienced with possibly entrance- or all-wheel generate. An entry-amount LE edition, the most cost-effective offering in the array, is priced at $39,320, which include $1,120 for location. As for my top-of-the-line Platinum product, it checks out for $fifty two,512, a much steeper determine.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD

You could do significantly even worse than the Toyota Highlander.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Proper now, the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are the shining stars in the 3-row utility-car section. They are upscale and refined, functional and elegant, furthermore they give hundreds of tech. These corporate twins are fantastic at just about almost everything and, in some approaches, greater than this Toyota, even without readily available hybrid energy.

The 2020 Toyota Highlander is an great 3-row crossover, unquestionably one particular of the greatest readily available currently, specifically in hybrid type, which presents unbeatable gas efficiency.

Rosa G. Rose

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