2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review


2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review - Low gas costs have actually resulted in tough times for crossbreeds. Also today's most effective gas-electrics-- the Toyota Prius, the Kia Niro, as well as the Hyundai Ioniq-- do not pencil against less effective however a lot more economical nonhybrid counterparts in the very same general course. And also those are crossbreeds that top 50 mpg. The Toyota Highlander crossbreed SUV remains in an also tougher place, given that its EPA ratings are just a few mpg much better compared to a regular Highlander's.

Updated for 2021 in addition to the remainder of the Highlander schedule, the hybrid, as previously, marries a V-6 engine to a 167-hp motor/generator to power the front wheels, with a second 68-hp electric motor fitted to the back axle giving on-demand all-wheel drive. The engine, nevertheless, is new, and for the first time is shared with the nonhybrid Highlander. It's currently direct injected and also makes 295 horsepower and also 263 lb-ft of torque, renovations of 64 ponies and also 48 lb-ft over the previous model, nudging the hybrid powertrain's total outcome (taking into consideration both electrical motors) from 280 to 306 horse power.

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

Of the four Highlander hybrid trim degrees, the base LE design boasts the greatest EPA ratings: 29 mpg combined, 30 mpg city, as well as 28 mpg freeway. The figures for the various other three (including the Restricted tested below) are each 1 mpg lower. Either way, compared to the all-wheel-drive V-6 Highlander, the hybrid's EPA estimates are just better by a few mpg. Our real-world gas economic climate was even much less outstanding, at 23 mpg generally-- simply 4 mpg much better than the last nonhybrid Highlander we evaluated, a 2014 version that had the previous, less-efficient V-6 engine and also a six-speed transmission. With its new V-6 as well as eight-speed automatic, the present variation likely would narrow the performance gap even more. In our 75-mph freeway fuel-economy test, this newest Highlander hybrid accomplished 26 mpg-- precisely the like a nonhybrid 2016 Highlander V-6-- or 1 mpg worse than its EPA freeway ranking and no better than several of its nonhybrid peers, such as the Mazda CX-9.

If there's a positive side, it is that the Highlander's hybrid rate premium is smaller compared to most. The entry-level LE is just $2130 greater than an all-wheel-drive, V-6-- powered Highlander LE; on the XLE trim, the hybrid's rate penalty is just $1350, whereas the Limited and Platinum crossbreeds are $1620 dearer than their gas-only equivalents. Oh, and this crossbreed (thanks to the upgraded, extra powerful V-6 engine) is the quickest Highlander we've ever before evaluated, getting to 60 miles per hour in 7.0 seconds flat. That's 0.6 2nd quicker than the old crossbreed and also 0.3 second quicker compared to the pre-refresh conventional Highlander with the previous V-6 engine.
Still, we 'd conserve the money and also just purchase the nonhybrid model, which likewise takes advantage of an extra typical owning experience. Increase swiftly in the crossbreed, and also the V-6 and also electrical motors incorporate for a sort of mooing soundtrack as the engine revs to its power optimal and remains there while the transmission involves the optimum drive proportion.

Regardless of the crossbreed's AWD setup, there is obvious torque steer as the front wheels defend purchase during difficult velocity. Approximately concerning 30 mph, the hybrid really feels peppy and fast; over that rate, the sense of velocity subsides as the electric motors lose wind as well as the V-6 shoulders more of the worry. This isn't completely shocking; inning accordance with Toyota's weight numbers, the battery-assisted Highlander Limited hybrid is 310 extra pounds larger compared to an equal nonhybrid.
Dynamically, the three-row Highlander is unexciting, with lifeless steering, occasionally floppy body activities, as well as dreadful brake feeling. Toyota has yet to find out ways to change smoothly from regenerative stopping-- where the electric motors act like mechanical brakes, transforming kinetic energy into electrical energy-- to traditional rubbing braking via the brake blades. The outcome is vague and unforeseeable feedback from the brake pedal, although the crossbreed's real stopping distances are par for this class.

A Routine Three-Row Program
Powertrains aside, the hybrid adheres to the general Highlander manuscript as a proficient household hauler. All designs amass aesthetic updates for 2021, consisting of a wide-mouth grille, more LED lights accents front and back, as well as a typically classier appearance overall. The cabin's assembly is top quality and good-looking, as well as we such as the large rack that spans the majority of the lower dash and is handy for saving everyday sediment. Demerits consist of the touchscreen's range from the driver (it's an easier reach for the front guest) and the squat sound and also COOLING AND HEATING handles that are virtually flush with the surrounding surface and also consequently challenging to grasp.

The Restricted tested below, along with the top-end Limited Platinum version, comes with a pair of second-row captain's chairs as well as a third-row bench, but buyers could go with three-person benches in both rows to seat 8 in total on the LE and XLE. The Highlander's 2nd row supplies plenty of area, plus fore/aft as well as recline changes-- although the seats have an instead low pillow-- while the confined third row is unbearable for any individual yet small children. Usefully, the third row, when folded up, creates a clean ramp in between the freight floor and the fold-flat second-row chairs, so one can move boxes or other heavy items in without snagging freight on anything.

At $46,154 with only extra-cost floor mats as well as body-side moldings, the Limited you see right here isn't really unreasonably pricey for a nicely equipped mid-size three-row crossover. Every 2017 Highlander now comes criterion with forward-collision caution, automated emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control, and every trim over the base LE likewise has blind-spot surveillance. The Restricted includes warmed and aerated pole positions, 19-inch wheels, as well as more chrome exterior trim in addition to the sunroof, power pole position, power liftgate, and natural leather seats (plastic in the third row) that the XLE brings.

So the Highlander crossbreed is every bit the sensible and also beneficial three-row family members crossover that its gasoline-powered brother or sister is. As well as therein exists the rub: There's no engaging reason to pay extra for it or to take care of its drivability peculiarities. The tiny fuel-economy renovation is unlikely to be of much rate of interest, especially when gas is so economical.


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