The Highlander hybrid is a midsize SUV that can seat up to eight, and return excellent mileage if you give it a chance. Toyota's 3.5L V6 is detuned, but combined with a trio of electric motors to generate 280 hp and a whole lot of torque. It also uses one of those electric motors to provide the rear wheel drive. Meaning that there is no driveshaft to drag around, and no waiting for a transfer case to engage before rotating the rear wheels. The torque is available at the rear immediately, and there is torque vectoring to send the power where you need it for both traction and improved handling. In fact, the Highlander hybrid is a much more nimble machine than the size would indicate and if given the opportunity would likely surprise the driver with handling capability. The shelf in the dash is also a great place to put your phone, snacks, or any number of smaller items. As a bonus, it is rated at 8.4 L/100 km city and 8.3 highway. The only other midsize hybrid is the Lexus RX, but it's much smaller. If you don't want the fuel economy, but need the space, the Ford Flex and GMC Acadia are an excellent value, or the Volvo XC90 has a nicer interior.
The Highlander continues into 2016 unchanged, and comes in LE, XLE, and Limited trims. LE gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen with satellite radio, backup camera, three-zone climate control, power windows, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, keyless entry, heated front seats with eight-way power adjustment, and 18-inch wheels. XLE adds navigation, text to speech, second row window sunshades, leather first and second row seats, and 19-inch wheels. Limited gets a JBL audio system with 12-speakers, dynamic backup camera, heated steering wheel, blue LED ambient lighting, ventilated front seats with perforated leather, heated second row seats, a power tailgate, and unique chrome look 19-inch wheels. It also gets rear park-assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, auto high beams and wipers, and radar cruise control.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed