2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review: Good Where It Counts

by Gerhard Horn

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid used to have the three-row hybrid segment all to itself, but an influx of new models in the USA will soon add some stiff competition. Traditionally, the Ford Explorer is seen as its main competitor, but its focus on performance greatly impacts fuel economy. This has left the door wide open for the 243-horsepower Toyota and its 36 mpg combined fuel consumption claim. Toyota can't offer the same sort of fun as Ford does, but you have to ask yourself whether it matters in this niche segment. The first of many new rivals to head its way recently made its debut. Kia's all-new Sorento Hybrid has a claimed combined mileage figure of 39 mpg, and a plug-in derivative will join the line-up shortly. Toyota can always rely on brand loyalists, but devotion will only get you so far if another brand offers a superior product.

Read in this review:

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2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Highlander Hybrid?

Both the LE and XLE trims now come with LED headlamps as standard. In addition, Toyota's Safety Sense 2.5+ is standard across the range. This new safety suite consists of a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, left turn intersection support, lane departure alert with steering assist, risk avoidance steering, lane tracing assist, full-speed radar-guided cruise control, road sign assist, curve speed management, and cyclist detection.

Pros and Cons

  • Impressive fuel economy
  • Loads of cargo capacity
  • Good looking interior
  • Spacious first and second row
  • Plenty of standard safety features
  • The third row is cramped
  • Relatively expensive
  • Driving experience not the best

Best Deals on Highlander Hybrid

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Hybrid LE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$38,735
Hybrid XLE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$41,535
Hybrid Limited
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$45,490
Hybrid Platinum
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$48,690

Highlander Hybrid Exterior

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Front View CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Rear View CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Front Angle View CarBuzz
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Dimensions

  • Length 194.9 in
  • Wheelbase 112.2 in
  • Height 68.1 in
  • Max Width 76.0 in
  • Front Width 65.3 in
  • Rear Width 65.4 in
  • Curb Weight 4,330.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Celestial Silver Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Opulent Amber
  • Blueprint
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Moon Dust
  • Ruby Flare Pearl

Highlander Hybrid Performance

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Front Angle View 1 CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Wheel CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Highlander Hybrid Interior

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Dashboard CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Front Leg Room 42.0 in
  • Front Head Room 41.2 in
  • Rear Leg Room 41.0 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.4 in

Highlander Hybrid Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Front Seats CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Rear Passenger Seats CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Trunk Space CarBuzz

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    2 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles

Highlander Hybrid Safety

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a good SUV?

Whether the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a good SUV depends entirely on what your needs are. If you value performance, an engaging drive, and a dynamic exterior, the answer is no. Several SUVs for sale in the US cater to those specific needs. Oddly, there aren't many three-row SUVs with ultimate efficiency in mind. Ford's Explorer Hybrid uses its power plant for performance more than anything else, which means the Highlander has realistically competed in a segment of one until now. The arrival of the Kia Sorento Hybrid has mixed things up a bit, though. It's more affordable, and its advanced hybrid engine is even more efficient. Still, the Highlander has enough seating for eight people, while the Sorento can manage only six. Toyota's new safety suite is impressive, too, but the all-new Sorento hits back with an equally impressive set of safety features from the base specification. Since this particular segment is about ultimate fuel efficiency, it remains an impressive SUV, but a review of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid shows that it is not as remarkable as it was last year when it had no competitors. Toyota is going to have to work harder to retain the top spot.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

The price of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid starts at $38,735 for the base model in FWD configuration, while the FWD XLE costs $41,535. Upgrading to AWD on either of these entry-spec trims adds $1,600 to the total price. Limited trims start at $45,490, while the top-spec Platinum will cost $48,690 - to add AWD to either of the top-end models requires a further $1,950, which puts the AWD Platinum over the $50k mark without other options. These prices are MSRP and exclude Toyota's destination charge of $1,175.

Check out other Toyota Highlander Styles

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Comparisons

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2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Video Review

Check out some informative Toyota Highlander Hybrid video reviews below.

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