2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Reliability – Looking for the most fuel-efficient three-line crossover with all wheel drive? Chances are you have focused attention on the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Not much has changed for the Hybrid Highlander 2019 except the market. Automakers launch a more fuel-efficient crossover day by day, apparently, with a plug-in hybrid and a fully-electric battery-planned vehicle for the immediate future.
As one of just a few crossover three lines of hybrids, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2019 deserves a review back since our last article for the 2015 model year. Is it worth the expensive price, and how has this old model endured new competition? And, does it need to pay to be patient until the redesigned 2020 model falls this year?
306-horsepower V-6 with electric continuous variable transmission comes standard in four trim. We test Limited, second after Platinum Limited ($3,520 more). Motors in front and rear axle provide AWD capability.
Toyota Safety Sense, an advanced suite of driver support systems including adaptive roaming, automatic high beam, line departure warning and much more is standard on all Toyota models. In addition, the technology on the second-generation Hybrid Highlander feels old. But old can also feel familiar. No big surprises or steep learning curve, functional infotainment system, control layout quite reasonable. It has a smooth and quiet power delivery and offers plenty of room for six families. Lack of electric folding chair or automatic headrests that can be folded at this price point seem cheap.
This $1,620 is more expensive than a Highlander gas-only in limited trim. It gets 28 mpg combined versus 22 mpg combined in the gas-only version.
Based on an estimated EPA of 15,000 miles driven annually with current gas prices, the annual fuel costs are $1,250 for hybrids and $1,600 for gas models. Hybrid owners will reimburse their additional fees in five years of ownership. But it is based on 55 percent driving in the city. The hybrid is the most efficient in driving around the city, getting 9 miles to a gallon over the gas version. With a special city drive, the surcharge can be regained in gas savings for three years by $550/year (annual fuel costs rise to $1,800 in the gas version). But do you really drive 15,000 miles around the city? For some parents, it feels like that.
In the fourth year of ownership, the hybrid owner wins. Then there is an added bonus of having cleaner, greener cleaners and shows on future drivers that you give the opportunity. Let economists charge you a fee. But seriously.
However we had a little on average of 24 mpg at 33 mph in the depths of winter.
So, yes, in most cases, Hybrid is worth the expensive price compared to the gas version of the Highlander and three other fuel-efficient lines such as the Mazda CX-9 and Kia Sorento. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV does not come with the third line, so raises the question that everyone is asked, from regulators to automakers: how much green do you want to spend to be green?
The beautiful Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid starts from $67,000, nearly 50 percent higher than the Hybrid Highlander. All luxury brands launch plug-in or crossover electric full battery in the next year or two, so maybe they think we have money for… Compost.
What about the very good Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in? I could hear the eye rolls from here. You hate the style, I understand, but the sliding doors and the wide space make minivan the most practical family car around. Pacifica got 29 mpg combined as well, without taking into account the electricity range of 32 miles. We estimate that it is enough for most family tasks, so there will be no gas costs every year except for the trip triggered by all the money you save for gas!
But this is not a crossover. Now I’m turning my eyes on.
With a combination of $52,800 and 26 mpg, the excellent Acura MDX Sport Hybrid is the closest competitor. It’s fresher, smoother and stronger, but also more expensive and less efficient.
More mainstream automakers are launching a three-line hybrid crossover. Ford Explorer 2020 will come as a hybrid, although fuel economy numbers will not be released until approaching the spring release date. The new police version of Explorer Explorer 2020 gets 24 mpg combined.
Even if the Explorer Hybrid is in the range of 24 to 26 mpg, the Highlander Hybrid is better. In this case, the Hybrid Highlander is in front of the game. Maybe that’s the only sense in which this is true, but for car shoppers who are aware of fuel, family transport, and minivans, it’s the most important feeling.