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#8

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $40,170 - $46,370
Invoice: $36,956 - $42,428
MPG: 28 City / 28 Hwy
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Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid ranks 8 out of 23 Affordable Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is ranked:

If you’re looking for a comfortable SUV that doesn’t feel sluggish while still getting great fuel economy, the 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is one of your best bets. 

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is very similar to the regular Highlander, except it gets much better gas mileage. With its V6 engine and pair of electric motors, it achieves 28/28 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for a midsize SUV. Test drivers are also pleased with the Highlander Hybrid’s power. Reviewers say the Highlander Hybrid has comfort-oriented handling and gives little steering feedback. The Highlander Hybrid has regenerative brakes that auto writers say have an odd feel. The Highlander Hybrid also stands out with an above-average reliability score for the class.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the 2013 Best Hybrid SUVs for Families because it has the best combination of quality, size and family-friendly features in its class.

Critics say the Highlander Hybrid is like its gas-only sibling on the inside. Reviewer report its controls are fairly straightforward, and it is made with good-quality materials. Reviewers like its supportive front bucket seats but dislike its cramped third row. Cargo space is adequate for the class, but not particularly impressive. The Highlander Hybrid comes standard with a six-speaker stereo with a USB port and Bluetooth. Features like a backup camera and Toyota’s Entune infotainment system are available as options.

  • "There is a hybrid model that attains best-in-class fuel economy without sacrificing power or interior space." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Versions with the conventional engines best represent Highlander's positive attributes, as the Hybrid's stiff price premium may take years to offset in fuel savings." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "Despite its electric bits, the hybrid drives almost exactly like a conventional Highlander. That means a high level of equipment, a cushy ride, great interior versatility, decent power, and spacious passenger accommodations." -- Car and Driver (2011)
  • "The interior is flexible and comfortable, it finally has a useful third row and interior controls don't get any more logical or easier to use than these. It may not tickle the enthusiast's fancy, but the … Highlander Hybrid is a very well-rounded and well thought-out family crossover that just happens to be a 28-mpg hybrid. … If you're going into this with a minivan budget but can make do with a little less size and space, the … Toyota Highlander Hybrid starts to make a good deal of sense." -- Edmunds (2011)

Other SUVs to Consider

One fuel-efficient alternative to consider is the Ford Explorer. It is available with a few engine choices, including an Ecoboost four-cylinder engine that gets among the best fuel economy in the class for a non-hybrid, at 20/28 mpg city/highway. Keep in mind that this engine only comes on models with front-wheel drive. Reviewers also aren’t enamored with this model’s power, and some note that it can feel slow.

If you like the Highlander Hybrid, you should give the gas-only Highlander a look as well. Its fuel economy can’t match the Hybrid model’s, but the regular Highlander costs significantly less. The two models are otherwise very similarly-equipped, so your best bet is to decide if the added price of the hybrid powertrain makes sense for you.

Compare the Highlander Hybrid, Explorer and Highlander »

Details: 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid seats seven and comes in base and Limited trims. Power comes from a V6 engine and two electric motors paired to a continuously variable transmission. On-demand all-wheel drive is standard on all models. The gas-only Toyota Highlander is reviewed separately. All Highlander models were updated for the 2011 model year, and since there are no changes for 2013, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 to 2013 model years.

See the full 2013 Highlander Hybrid specs »

Review Last Updated: 10/8/13

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