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2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

$37,520 - $49,180
Price Range (MSRP)
Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

by Gabe Beita Kiser

The Toyota Highlander remains one of the best-selling midsize SUVs in the United States and has been carried over with only minor aesthetic changes for the 2019 year. The Hybrid model remains popular for its superior reliability ratings and excellent fuel efficiency which is maintained without sacrificing power and performance; the available V6 engine is paired with three electric motors to create a combined 306 horsepower across the range and is paired with a CVT transmission and all-wheel-drive. Comparing to the likes of the popular Honda Pilot and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the Highlander scores highly for its premium cabin, spacious interior, powerful engine, and brilliant gas mileage, ultimately proving to be the better value for money option and retaining its three-row configuration. With a host of awards that include Top Safety Pick for 2019 by the IIHS and Value For Money Utility for 2019, the Highlander Hybrid remains an excellent buy.

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Highlander Hybrid?

Not much has changed for the Highlander Hybrid, with only minimal exterior touch-ups being made from last year's model. Black rocker panels are now included as a standard feature on the two base trims (LE and XLE) and the top two trims (Limited and Platinum Limited) boast LED fog lamps with chrome detailing for 2019.

Pros and Cons

  • Quiet, comfortable cabin
  • Extensive standard safety features
  • Brilliant predicted reliability
  • Good gas mileage
  • Retains third-row in hybrid guise
  • The infotainment system is dated
  • Less agile than competitors
  • Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto not supported

Highlander Hybrid Exterior

Differences between the regular Highlander and its hybrid counterpart are few, with the Highlander Hybrid retaining halogen smoked-chrome accented headlamps and LED taillights. 18-inch machined alloy wheels on the base trim are upgraded to 19-inch on the top-end model, while color-coded exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals feature across the range. Black rocker panels and Hybrid badging complete the look. The mid-range variant offers Chromtec roof rails and a power tilt-and-slide moonroof while the fully loaded model adds daytime running lights and bigger wheels.

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Front View Driving
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Front View Driving
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Front Angle View
See All 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Fitting neatly between main rivals Honda Pilot and Mitsubishi Outlander, the Highlander Hybrid's 192.5 inches in length and 75.8 inches in width are relatively standard for this segment and match the figures on the regular model. At 68.1 inches tall, the Highlander is not quite as large as the Pilot. With a wheelbase of 109.8 inches, the Highlander offers excellent ground clearance of eight inches, which is better than most competitors. It does weigh more than others, however, at a total curb weight of between 4,398 lbs for the entry-level Hybrid, and 4,861 lbs for the top-of-the-range edition, 200-500 lbs heavier than non-hybrid models.

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Exterior Colors

  • Predawn Gray Mica
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Shoreline Blue Pearl
  • Celestial Silver Metallic
  • Ooh La La Rouge Mica
  • Toasted Walnut Pearl
  • Alumina Jade Metallic
  • Blizzard Pearl

Highlander Hybrid Performance

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Front View Driving
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Front View Driving
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Front Bumper

Engine and Transmission

The Hybrid range is characterized by a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with three electric motors. Configured as all-wheel-drive and with a continuously variable automatic transmission, the system produces a combined 306 hp and makes 215 lb-ft torque. While the Hybrid offers no other options in terms of bigger engines, the standard powertrain is more than adequate; throttle responses are rapid, although there is a sense of the engine hurrying through available automatic gears, and the resulting acceleration is relatively average for this segment. It manages 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds, and although this is more than sufficient for an SUV, there is quite a lot of engine noise accompanying the feat. Towing capacity is rated at 3,500 lbs in hybrid guise.

  • Engine
    3.5-liter V6 Hybrid
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

For such a large vehicle, the Highlander is surprisingly agile. While by no means a sporty drive, it handles with ease and takes corners with confidence and a good sense of grip. Steering is well-weighted for higher speeds on the open road, although a little more feedback would have been beneficial. In tight spaces, it maneuvers effortlessly, and for every-day braking performs with confidence. Emergency stops prove to be a bit uncertain, with the extra weight and electric integration unsettling things, but in general handles with a capable and sturdy feel with a quieter engine than most.

Although not equipped with low-range gears for official off-road business, ample ground clearance and an intelligent AWD system make for an impressive attempt over rougher terrain. The driver aids included on the Highlander present as complementary rather than intrusive, and as such, offers peace-of-mind and a comfortable drive.

Highlander Hybrid Gas Mileage

The Hybrid version of the Highlander offers a smaller gas tank capacity than the combustion-only version at 17.2 gallons, but supplements this with a battery to add extra efficiency. The entry-level LE model boasts excellent fuel economy, with gas mileage estimates that offer some of the best numbers in this class: 30/28/29 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycle. For the XLE, Limited and Limited Platinum trims, the numbers drop with one point each at 29/27/28 mpg on the same cycles. The resulting range for the LE is almost 500 miles per tank of unleaded gas, whereas the other trims offer only slightly less, at 481 miles before needing to refuel.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    17.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 30/28 mpg
* 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE V6 AWD

Highlander Hybrid Interior

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Sunroof
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Dashboard
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Armrest
See All 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Highlander stands out in terms of interior comfort, with a large, roomy cabin that offers extensive leg- and headroom in the front and second-row seats. The third row is a little tight in terms of space, and would not be ideal for taller adults over long road trips, but kids would fit in fine. Seating for the driver and front passenger is superb, with large, comfortable and well-supported seats that are also heated. The second row is not quite as opulent, but with sliding and reclining options, is still impressive. Although classed as a seven-seater, the two entry-level Hybrid variants offer seating for up to eight by means of a second-row bench instead of captain's chairs.

  • Seating capacity
    8-seater

Highlander Hybrid Trunk and Cargo Space

Rivals such as the Honda Pilot provide much more cargo space behind the third seats, with the Highlander Hybrid offering only 13.6 cubic feet, a sacrifice of 0.2 cubes compared to the standard model. There is, however, 42.3 cubic feet available when the third row is folded down, and a total of 78.6 cubic feet with all seats stowed away, with incremental losses over regular derivatives. This is on par for this segment, and worth noting as other Hybrid models tend to sacrifice substantial amounts of trunk space due to the addition of the battery pack - this is not the case with the Highlander Hybrid. With excellent in-cabin storage options that include a center console deep enough to conceal a purse, generous door pockets and a unique dashboard shelf, the Highlander rates high in terms of convenience and storage.

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Central Console
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Trunk Space
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Rear Angle View

Highlander Hybrid Infotainment and Features

Features

All variants offer keyless entry with push-button start and a power liftgate, as well as a back-up camera and the Toyota Safety Sense Pre-Collision system. On the base model, the front and rear rows of seating are air-conditioned, which is upgraded to three-zone climate control with separate controls for the front and rear on the XLE and Limited trims. Whereas the LE entry-level model offers high-quality fabric seating, the XLE equips leather-trimmed seats which are heated in the front. The top two trims offer perforated leather upholstery with heating and ventilation as standard and optional heating for the rear seats. Both the LE and XLE can also be converted to eight-seaters by means of swapping out second-row Captain's chairs for a three-seater bench.

Infotainment

At the entry point to the range, the Highlander Hybrid LE is equipped with a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display featuring Entune Audio, which offers AM/FM radio, CD and AUX/USB input fed through to six speakers. On the XLE trim, the infotainment system is upgraded to an eight-inch, high-resolution screen featuring Entune Premium audio inclusive of satellite radio and navigation. This is further enhanced on the top-of-the-range trims Limited and Limited Platinum, where the split-screen infotainment system is linked to a premium JBL twelve-speaker system with subwoofer and amplifier. Notably, there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, although smartphone connection can be utilized through the Entune App, which proves to be less user-friendly. A Blu-ray player with two nine-inch screens in the rear can also be added separately for rear-seat entertainment.

Highlander Hybrid Problems and Reliability

Always a strong suit for Toyota, the Highlander receives a superb reliability rating of 4.5 out of five, listing it as "among the best". No recalls have been issued for the Hybrid variants of the Highlander, and the vehicle is supported by a three-year/36,000 mile basic warranty, a five-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, and an eight-year/100,000 mile hybrid component warranty.

Highlander Hybrid Safety

The 2019 Toyota Highlander range was named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS in the midsize SUV segment, achieving the highest possible rating of good for crashworthiness. The NHTSA allocated a full five stars to the overall side crash rating of the vehicle. Standard safety tech includes eight airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain, driver knee, and front passenger seat airbags), as well as Safety Sense assistance systems with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and pre-collision systems with pedestrian detection.

Verdict: Is 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a good SUV?

Billed as an all-rounder, the Highlander Hybrid compares excellently to its main competitors on all fronts. With superior reliability and safety, above-average fuel economy for this segment, and a spacious, comfortable, high-end cabin, there's not much the Highlander Hybrid can be criticized on sufficiently to deter buyers. The few negatives there are - such as a somewhat bland acceleration and less sporty drive than rivals - are markedly outweighed by the advantages of this powerful, yet efficient, midsize SUV. The standard onboard features are plentiful, and sufficient room for upgrade is available by means of choosing one of the higher-spec models, although the mid-range variant is impressive and well-equipped as it stands.

What's the Price of 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

The base model LE has an MSRP of $37,320 and is the cheapest available trim for this range. The next level up variant costs $42,380 (mid-range XLE). The two top-end trims, the Hybrid Limited and Limited Platinum, are priced at $45,860 and $48,980 respectively with the Limited Platinum model being the fully-loaded (and subsequently most expensive) version. A destination charge of $1,095 must be added to all the prices listed above.

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Models

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Hybrid LE
3.5-liter V6 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$37,520
Hybrid XLE
3.5-liter V6 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$42,580
Hybrid Limited
3.5-liter V6 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$46,060
Hybrid Limited Platinum
3.5-liter V6 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$49,180
See All 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Trims and Specs

What Toyota Highlander Hybrid Model Should I Buy?

Although the base model is well-equipped, the mid-range XLE is the better option as it takes the already-comfortable cabin one notch up by adding leather seating, a refreshed eight-inch infotainment screen, sunroof, and the benefit of heated front seats. This model also offers standard navigation and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, together with additional driver aids such as blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Although the higher-spec models offer more in terms of cabin features and superior sound-systems, the XLE is priced at almost $3,500 less.

Check out other Toyota Highlander Styles?

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Comparisons

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot features prominently in the SUV segment for its incredible cabin space and the subsequent ability to seat adults comfortably in the third row which - for the Highlander - would be a squeeze at best. As the Highlander Hybrid has a decreased towing capacity (3,500 lbs, which is 1,500 lbs down from the standard gasoline-powered Highlander) the Pilot is a better option when towing is needed. It is also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which the Highlander does not support. While both vehicles have nicely appointed cabins, the Highlander does take the lead with attention-to-detail and soft-touch finishes, as well as the better fuel economy ratings. With superior predicted reliability, the Highlander is the winner in this comparison, albeit at a price premium.

See Honda Pilot Review

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

While both the Outlander and the Highlander have similar pricing, the Mitsubishi has the added benefit of plug-in power options that enable it to travel 22 miles on battery power alone. The Highlander offers a higher-end cabin, whereas the Mitsubishi provides a low-rent interior that leaves much to be desired. The biggest drawback for the Mitsubishi is that it has only two rows of seats with a maximum capacity of five, sacrificing its third-row in hybrid guise, while the Highlander can seat up to eight passengers. Naturally, this means the Mitsubishi has better cargo volume and utility options, while it also has class-leading warranties. We still prefer the overall comfort of the Highlander and the practical implications for a mid-sized family.

See Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Review

Toyota Highlander Hybrid Popular Comparisons