2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid review: Astonishingly efficient

Like a bountiful harvest pouring forth from a horn of a good deal, there’s no scarcity of 3-row SUVs readily available now. The Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are common choices, to identify a number of, but there’s also the Mazda CX-nine, Subaru Ascent and even Volkswagen’s current 2021 Atlas. Of training course, Chevrolet will also happily market you a Traverse. But if compact automobile-rivaling gasoline mileage is a priority then Toyota’s made items effortless. The Japanese automaker’s Highlander Hybrid is really the only preference. 


  • Lexus-like refinement
  • Luxurious inside
  • Fantastic effectiveness

Will not Like

  • Curious placement of wi-fi charger
  • Uninspired infotainment method
  • Smaller 3rd-row seat

The most significant figures

Just how affordable is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid? Very well, engineers made this hottest model all-around 20{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca} far more successful than the prior technology, which translates to 36 miles for every gallon town and 35 mpg highway for a entrance-drive model. Range-topping Platinum-trim variants with all-wheel drive are somewhat much less successful, although the big difference is, truthfully, negligible. My critique unit stickers at 35 mpg town, 34 mpg highway and 35 mpg merged. In genuine-planet use, the vacation laptop indicated 31 mpg and transform during screening, which I obtained with out even making an attempt. If you drive in a far more conservative way, you could possibly even be equipped to defeat those people EPA estimates. 

How dominating is the Highlander Hybrid’s fuel-financial system functionality? Very well, in comparison, a rear-drive Ford Explorer Hybrid, arguably its only direct rival, returns a claimed 27 mpg town, 29 mpg highway and 28 mpg merged. Get four-wheel drive and those people figures are even reduced, generating this Toyota’s effectiveness scores look all the far more extraordinary.

You can find a whole lot of sculpting alongside the entire body sides.

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Two motors, just one motor

Enabling this SUV to sip fuel like when you just take that very first, tongue-scalding slurp of piping-incredibly hot coffee is a familiar drivetrain. Behind that wide, smiling grille you can come across a two-motor hybrid method crafted all-around a two.5-liter four-cylinder motor. That gasoline-burner is matched to a pair of electric powered motor-turbines that, amid other items, perform as a consistently variable transmission. Complete method output clocks in at 243 horsepower, a far more-than-enough figure, if rarely a thrilling just one.

It is correct, I wish the Highlander Hybrid had a little far more giddy-up. That drivetrain is largely sleek and quiet, although you do know when it truly is straining. Give this automobile the spurs and unmistakable four-cylinder thrum results in being clear. No, it truly is not obtrusive, specifically in Minimal and Platinum models, which characteristic laminated entrance-window glass for an even quieter cabin, but you can hear that combustion motor churning away at sure periods.

Highlander Hybrids can tow a modest 3,five hundred lbs .. That must be more than enough for a tiny boat or a few of filth bikes, things like that. Non-hybrid models are a little bit far more capable, equipped to drag up to 5,000 lbs ..

When shedding pace, the Highlander Hybrid’s brakes are effortless to modulate and the pedal feels great less than your tootsies. Regenerative braking, which puts electrons back into the battery pack for use later, is sleek, and the changeover to friction braking just about seamless.

Due to the fact it truly is a hybrid, this SUV can also be driven brief distances in electric powered-only manner — emphasis on brief. This is not a plug-in hybrid, so EV assortment isn’t really a genuine component, but the Highlander can silently motor down your block or waft into the garage with out disturbing anyone. 

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD

Apart from hoses and cables, there’s not much to see right here.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The softer facet

The Highlander’s cabin is very very well accomplished. Even although its dashboard is oddly asymmetrical, the resources used and in general versatility are outstanding. My tester has a good deal of gentle leather, rendered in a hue termed Glazed Caramel. It is rich looking and exceptional to the assortment-topping Platinum model.

Beyond all that, there’s no scarcity of USB ports, the storage cubbies on the dashboard are super helpful and the center-console bin is borderline cavernous, with a caveat. An individual believed it was a great idea to place the wi-fi-charging plate beneath the center armrest, which slides away like the lid on a roll-top desk. Not only does this layout block entry to that center bin, the pad alone is way too tiny to accommodate greater handsets in cases. My Iphone 8 Plus would not in good shape in the recess, although it however prices though tipped up at a slight angle. I have so many issues about this design and style selection.

For the most element, passenger comfort in the Highlander is a solid place. Its entrance buckets present La-Z-Boy concentrations of cushiness and the next row ain’t way too undesirable, possibly. However, the 3rd row is a disappointment. Nearly no vehicles in this course will easily accommodate grownup passengers in their rear-most seats for any important duration of time. But this Toyota’s 3rd-row legroom is the tightest amid big rivals. In accordance to manufacturer-posted figures, it has nearly 6 much less inches of legroom than a Chevy Traverse, and that is a enormous big difference.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD

The Highlander Hybrid’s cabin is properly created and very well crafted.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

In keeping with the Highlander Hybrid’s polished and properly trimmed cabin, it only usually takes you about 10 seconds at the rear of the wheel to understand how refined it is. It is quiet, sleek and, in a whole lot of strategies, feels like a Lexus. This vehicle’s ride excellent is supple and the steering is mild to the contact but fast more than enough to make the Highlander feel at minimum a little little bit agile.

Technically talking

An infotainment method with a twelve.3-inch touchscreen is readily available. It can be had in Minimal models, although it truly is regular gear on the Highlander Platinum. Apart from built-in navigation, it also receives you an eleven-speaker JBL sound method, which is loud and distinct.

That display screen is rather great, both of those crisp and colourful, but I am not a fan of the software that operates on it. Toyota’s multimedia choices tend to have out-of-date person interfaces and baffling menus. Although it truly is not terrible, the Highlander’s infotainment array is far more of the same. I come across it a little bit way too difficult, it truly is not very fairly and then there’s a unusual smattering of mismatched bodily buttons beneath the display. At minimum Amazon Alexa compatibility as very well as Apple CarPlay and Android Car are regular across the assortment, so you only have to use Toyota’s infotainment choices for as lengthy as it usually takes to plug your phone in.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD

This is not my most loved infotainment method around 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Preserving each Highlander owner, no make any difference their price range, Toyota Protection Perception two. is regular across all trim concentrations. This consists of items like automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, targeted visitors indication recognition and lane-departure warning with steering support. This past item proficiently keeps the Highlander centered in its lane of travel. It is very great, although it appears to be a very small little bit much less accurate than Honda or Nissan techniques these times. Keyless entry with pushbutton start off is regular across the board, ditto LED foglights and taillamps. 

Illuminating the darkness, Platinum models arrive with super-vibrant LED adaptive headlights. Not only are they self-leveling, they swivel as you change the steering wheel to support improve visibility. Rain-sensing windshield wipers are regular as very well.

Judgement rendered

The Highlander Hybrid is offered in four trim concentrations, each and every of which can be had with possibly entrance- or all-wheel drive. An entry-level LE edition, the most very affordable supplying in the assortment, is priced at $39,320, including $1,a hundred and twenty for vacation spot. As for my top-of-the-line Platinum model, it checks out for $fifty two,512, a much steeper figure.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD

You could do much even worse than the Toyota Highlander.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Correct now, the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are the shining stars in the 3-row utility-automobile segment. They are upscale and refined, adaptable and fashionable, plus they give masses of tech. These corporate twins are great at just about every little thing and, in some strategies, superior than this Toyota, even with out readily available hybrid electric power.

The 2020 Toyota Highlander is an outstanding 3-row crossover, certainly just one of the best readily available now, specifically in hybrid type, which presents unbeatable fuel effectiveness.