Families who are looking for a non-minivan option that is safe, allows for flexible seating, plenty of storage room, and is eco-friendly, will appreciate the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited. Since being introduced as Toyota’s first hybrid SUV in 2006, the Highlander Hybrid been named a “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2011 and awarded the “Top 10 Green Cars” by Kelley Blue Book in 2008. It’s a sporty car that combines SUV performance and utility but is fuel efficient to save you money at the pump.
Behind the Wheel
The Highlander Hybrid is a dream to drive. As a non-minivan or SUV owner, I appreciated that it handled more like a sedan than the Toyota Sequoia that I also drove during my Toyota Women’s Influencer Network (TWIN) trip. Dubbed “the couch on wheels,” the 8 passenger Sequoia felt boat-like and hard to handle as we navigated the turns up Highway 1 from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara. It was too wide for my liking and there were many times when I felt that I was uncomfortably close to the lane lines.
Not so with the Highlander Hybrid. I felt right at home behind the wheel as I drove it from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica. The car was the right width and navigated turns and highway driving with ease without feeling bouncy or making me feel like I was encroaching on the adjacent lanes. I also liked being a little higher than a sedan, but not being so high as I was in the Sequoia.
Inside the Car
Plush leather, dark wood, and matte metallic trim exudes a feeling of luxury while inside this Limited edition hybrid. Intuitive buttons make it easy to use the car’s separate heating and cooling system for passenger and driver, navigate between MP3, radio, and satellite radio stations, while a USB connection in the center console and two 12 V / 120 W outlets provide plenty of power.
Dual screens provide lots of information in an easy-to read format. The top screen features time, temperature, distance estimate for the amount of remaining fuel, and average miles per gallon (MPG). The bottom screen is for Display Audio with Navigation, a rear back-up camera and the EntuneTM multimedia package, all of which come standard in the vehicle.
The back seat featured controls for a separate heating and cooling system, this vehicle’s in-car entertainment, and another USB.
At the Pump
With gas prices only going up and rising above $4 in parts of the country, consumers will appreciate that the Toyota Highland Hybrid is rated for 28 mpg city and 28 mpg highway ratings. Toyota is the most fuel-efficient full line auto manufacturer in the U.S.
If you’re looking for a SUV, consider the Highlander Hybrid if you’re considering the following vehicles:
- Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
- Toyota FJ Cruiser
- Subaru Forester
- Volkswagen Tiguan
- Ford Explorer
- GMC Terrain Denali
- GMC Acadia
- Dodge Durango
- Jeep Cherokee
- Honda Pilot
For current pricing and new model information, visit www.toyota.com/highlanderhybrid
As a member of the Toyota Women’s Influencer Network (TWIN) program, Toyota provided my travel, accommodations, expenses, and access to vehicles during my trip. I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own and based on personal experience and do not reflect the views of Toyota.