Here's One Model That Toyota Won't Be Plugging Any Time Soon

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Not unless enough customers ask for it, anyway.

In the market for a hybrid crossover? Toyota can hook you up. It offers electrified versions of both the RAV4 and Highlander. But while the former is a plug-in hybrid, the latter isn't. And that, according to the latest, is not about to change any time soon.

At the launch of the new Highlander recently, Yoshinori Futonagane – one of Toyota's top engineers – told AutoGuide that the two hybrid crossovers serve different purposes for different clients. Speaking to the prospect of a plug-in Highlander, Futonagane said "right now we're not considering it."

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Futonagane-san explained, combines more power with better economy than the conventional model, serving as the top version of the popular crossover – and adopting a similar approach, we might add, to the one that Toyota has embraced with its Lexus hybrids. The Highlander Hybrid meanwhile gets only a modest, 50-horsepower boost over the standard version, targeted at buyers more interested in fuel efficiency than output.

While Futonagane's response to the prospect of a plug-in hybrid version of the Highlander might seem on the surface to be pretty much final, there is a glimmer of hope for the PHEV faithful among us.

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Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

The engineer added that while a Highlander PHEV isn't currently part of the company's plans, it's listening to what customers have to say, and if enough ask for it, Toyota could develop just such a model. That'd put it in direct competition with the plug-in hybrid versions of the Ford Explorer and the smaller (but still three-row) Mitsubishi Outlander.

So if the RAV4 Hybrid is too small for your needs, and the Highlander Hybrid doesn't offer the plug-in capability you're looking for, better let your local dealer know, and make sure they pass the word on up the chain.

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Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

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