Pricing for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid starts at $45,490 in Canada, $38,510 in the US.
The tested model is a top-of-the-line Highlander Hybrid Limited AWD Platinum which retails for $56,450.
With a combined fuel efficiency rating of 6.7L/100 km, the Highlander Hybrid is a tough competitor to beat.
Over the last year or so, Toyota has been on a hot streak with the launch of new models, namely the RAV4 Prime, the Sienna, and the Highlander. The RAV4 Prime is such a hit that dealers are experiencing delivery delays that can run up to over three years. Meanwhile, the all-new Sienna is the most efficient minivan on the market today, and my colleague is praising it here, and even here. That leaves us with the Toyota Highlander.
Unveiled two years ago at the New York Auto Show, this redesigned Highlander marks the popular model’s fourth generation. Like many recent Toyota products, the Highlander rides on the new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K) vehicle platform. This robust platform enables the latest generation of the Highlander even greater capability, comfort, and safety.
Introduced in 2006, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has always been a segment leader for fuel-efficiency. This new generation is estimated to deliver a 17% improvement over the previous generation in terms of combined fuel economy. That means a drop from an already good 8.3L/100 km to an astonishing 6.7L/100 km.
Although the three-row hybrid segment is tiny, with only the Ford Explorer Hybrid as competition, Toyota continues to improve it, leaving almost no chance to its competitors.
With its complete overhaul, the 2021 Highlander is a real jack of all trades and oriented towards being a great family-friendly vehicle. As said by Cyril Dimitris, Vice President, Toyota Canada Inc.: “Highlander is many things – a multi-purpose command centre, a place to connect with family, a weekend-warrior getaway vehicle, and a sanctuary from the everyday. Whatever you throw at it, Highlander rises to the occasion with grace and poise.”
That said, is the Highlander Hybrid right for you and your family? Can it do everything you need it to do? Should you buy a 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid? Let’s look at it.
Why you should buy a 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid:
- The 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with Hybrid Synergy Drive develops 243 horsepower, and I managed, over my week with it, a fuel efficiency rating of 8.1L/100 km. Knowing that I did mostly highway driving and that it was close to -30°C with the windchill, I think the Highlander greatly surpassed my expectations.
- The family-friendliness of the Highlander is evident as soon as you open the back door with how long it is. This makes the ingress/egress for the second and third-row almost as easy as a minivan.
- The fourth-generation Highlander redesigned is a hit, in my opinion. It looks planted, it’s luxurious, and, most importantly, it doesn’t look like anything else on the road right now.
- Speaking about luxury, not only is the 2021 Highlander very premium throughout the cabin, but it also drives just as well. Indeed, the perfect blending of the Toyota New Global Architecture platform, the Hybrid powertrain, and a high-quality interior give it a Lexus-like smoothness that I enjoyed.
- All the 2021 Toyota Highlander models now come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ suite. Also available is the handy Driver Easy Speak system, which ensures that everyone up to the third row hears you loud and clear, a head-up display system as well as a bird’s eye view camera, to only name a few.
Why you should not buy a 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid:
- Even though the Highlander offers a third row of seats, they are more for occasional use. With around 100 millimetres less legroom than most competitors in the segment, the last row of seats is fine for short trips only. Furthermore, the fact that you are almost sitting on the floor brings your knees to your torso and plays limiting comfort, even for kids.
The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a family-oriented SUV that’s as fuel-efficient as it’s packed with technologies, no doubt about that. Can it handle everything you throw at it? Yes, absolutely. Being a father of three, I dream about plenty of space all the time; unfortunately, when you want that, it’s usually paired with a significant gas bill. Well, the 2021 Highlander Hybrid makes it possible more than ever with this new fourth generation.
If you are looking for an agile and highly comfortable SUV capable of delivering unrivalled fuel efficiency in its segment, then yes, you should buy a 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.