2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review - Reduced gas rates have actually resulted in hard times for hybrids. Even today's most effective gas-electrics-- the Toyota Prius, the Kia Niro, as well as the Hyundai Ioniq-- don't pencil versus less reliable yet much less expensive nonhybrid counterparts in the exact same basic class. And those are crossbreeds that top 50 mpg. The Toyota Highlander crossbreed SUV remains in an even tougher spot, considered that its EPA ratings are just a couple of mpg much better compared to a regular Highlander's.

Upgraded for 2018 in addition to the rest of the Highlander schedule, the hybrid, as before, weds a V-6 engine to a 167-hp motor/generator to power the front wheels, with a 2nd 68-hp electric motor fitted to the back axle giving on-demand all-wheel drive. The engine, nonetheless, is brand-new, and also for the very first time is shared with the nonhybrid Highlander. It's now straight injected and also makes 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque, improvements of 64 horses and 48 lb-ft over the previous model, nudging the crossbreed powertrain's total outcome (considering both electric motors) from 280 to 306 horse power.

2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

Of the four Highlander hybrid trim levels, the base LE model boasts the highest EPA rankings: 29 mpg combined, 30 mpg city, as well as 28 mpg freeway. The figures for the other three (including the Minimal examined right here) are each 1 mpg lower. Either way, compared to the all-wheel-drive V-6 Highlander, the crossbreed's EPA price quotes are just much better by a couple of mpg. Our real-world gas economy was even much less outstanding, at 23 mpg in general-- simply 4 mpg much better than the last nonhybrid Highlander we examined, a 2014 model that had the previous, less-efficient V-6 engine and also a six-speed transmission. With its new V-6 and eight-speed automatic, the present variation likely would narrow the effectiveness space even more. In our 75-mph highway fuel-economy examination, this most current Highlander crossbreed accomplished 26 mpg-- exactly the like a nonhybrid 2016 Highlander V-6-- or 1 mpg even worse than its EPA highway ranking and also no better than some of its nonhybrid peers, such as the Mazda CX-9.

If there's a silver lining, it is that the Highlander's hybrid rate costs is smaller sized compared to many. The entry-level LE is only $2130 greater than an all-wheel-drive, V-6-- powered Highlander LE; on the XLE trim, the crossbreed's cost penalty is just $1350, whereas the Limited and also Platinum crossbreeds are $1620 dearer than their gas-only counterparts. Oh, and also this crossbreed (thanks to the updated, much more powerful V-6 engine) is the quickest Highlander we have actually ever evaluated, reaching 60 miles per hour in 7.0 seconds flat. That's 0.6 2nd quicker than the old hybrid as well as 0.3 2nd quicker than the pre-refresh standard Highlander with the previous V-6 engine.

Still, we 'd conserve the money and also simply purchase the nonhybrid model, which likewise takes advantage of a more traditional driving experience. Increase promptly in the crossbreed, as well as the V-6 and electric motors integrate for a kind of mooing soundtrack as the engine revs to its power optimal and remains there while the transmission engages the optimum drive ratio.

Regardless of the crossbreed's AWD setup, there is noticeable torque guide as the front wheels fight for acquisition throughout tough acceleration. Up to about 30 mph, the crossbreed feels peppy and quick; above that rate, the feeling of acceleration wanes as the electric motors shed wind and also the V-6 shoulders even more of the problem. This isn't completely shocking; inning accordance with Toyota's weight figures, the battery-assisted Highlander Limited crossbreed is 310 extra pounds larger than an equal nonhybrid.

Dynamically, the three-row Highlander is uninteresting, with lifeless steering, occasionally floppy body motions, and also awful brake feel. Toyota has yet to identify how you can transition efficiently from regenerative stopping-- where the electrical motors imitate mechanical brakes, converting kinetic energy right into electrical power-- to standard rubbing stopping by means of the brake blades. The result is unclear as well as unpredictable action from the brake pedal, although the hybrid's actual quiting ranges are par for this class.

A Regular Three-Row Program
Powertrains aside, the crossbreed adheres to the basic Highlander script as a competent family members hauler. All models obtain aesthetic updates for 2017, consisting of a wide-mouth grille, even more LED illumination accents front and back, and a typically classier appearance overall. The cabin's assembly is excellent quality and also good-looking, as well as we like the large shelf that extends a lot of the lower dash and also comes in handy for storing day-to-day fragments. Demerits consist of the touchscreen's range from the vehicle driver (it's an easier reach for the front traveler) as well as the squat sound and also HVAC knobs that are virtually flush with the bordering surface as well as therefore tough to grasp.
The Minimal examined right here, in addition to the top-end Limited Platinum version, features a pair of second-row captain's chairs and a third-row bench, however customers can opt for three-person benches in both rows to seat eight in total on the LE and XLE. The Highlander's 2nd row uses lots of area, plus fore/aft as well as recline modifications-- although the seats have an instead reduced cushion-- while the cramped 3rd row is excruciating for anybody however kids. Usefully, the third row, when folded up, creates a tidy ramp in between the freight flooring and the fold-flat second-row chairs, so one could slide boxes or various other heavy items in without snagging cargo on anything.

At $46,154 with only extra-cost floor mats and also body-side moldings, the Limited you see below isn't really unreasonably costly for a well equipped mid-size three-row crossover. Every 2017 Highlander now comes requirement with forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, as well as adaptive cruise ship control, and also every trim over the base LE additionally has blind-spot tracking. The Minimal includes heated as well as ventilated pole positions, 19-inch wheels, as well as much more chrome outside trim along with the sunroof, power front seats, power liftgate, and also leather seats (plastic in the 3rd row) that the XLE brings.

So the Highlander hybrid is equally the functional as well as valuable three-row family members crossover that its gasoline-powered sibling is. As well as therein lies the rub: There's no engaging need to pay additional for it or to manage its drivability peculiarities. The tiny fuel-economy renovation is unlikely to be of much interest, particularly when gas is so inexpensive.

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