in 2010 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $21,132 - $26,560
Original MSRP: $34,900 - $41,220
MPG: 27 City / 25 Hwy
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2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers appreciated the Highlander Hybrid's cabin, which they said is roomy and quiet, but features some subpar materials. The available and surprisingly spacious third row makes the Highlander Hybrid especially useful for families.

  • "You'll be comfortable in the Highlander's roomy new seven-passenger interior, especially since the optional third-row seat is actually made for adults." -- Edmunds
  • "Inside, the dash layout, materials and fit-and-finish are excellent, and the Highlander provides a commanding driving position that makes SUVs a trusted companion on the road." -- MSN
  • "Inside, the Hybrid Limited is as well-appointed as any luxury car. There's plenty of room in the front and middle seats, but the flat-folding third-row seat is best left to the kids." -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "Our base model Highlander Hybrid used some questionable material in the cabin, such as fake wood-grain plastic over the console. We had a little trouble getting a 12-volt adaptor out of one of the car's console power points, and as we tugged at it, we saw the plastic cover bend and pull upwards." -- CNET
  • "The Base model's interior is fitted with above-average-grade plastics and comfortable cloth upholstery. Only the fuzzy headliner feels cheap." -- Consumer Guide

Toyota Highlander Hybrid Pictures

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The base Highlander Hybrid seats five in two rows, but reviewers had mixed opinions about the driver's seat comfort. On the plus side, the cabin boasts two family-friendly features. On models with three rows of seats, the sliding second row moves back and forth to allow entry to the third row or varying levels of space. The second row's center stow seat can be converted to a center console or stowed to create two captain's chairs in the second row.

The Limited model comes with leather-trimmed first- and second-row seats, as well as heated front seats. The Limited model adds a third row, which increases occupancy from five to seven. Some reviewers said it's spacious enough for adults, but buyers should try the seat themselves before deciding on its usefulness.

  • "Unfortunately the front seats offer little in the way of lateral support and as is too often the case the bottom cushions are too short. The steering wheel rim is also a bit too skinny for a comfortable grip." -- Autoblog Green
  • "[The Center Stow seat] is amazingly light and easy to handle, and even a scrawny 6-year-old with arms like twigs was able to get the job done without whining for help." -- Edmunds
  • "The Center Stow seat provides decent comfort, and it can be removed when it isn't needed." -- Cars.com
  • "Ample 2nd-row space for two adults on a 40/20/40 split seat that slides fore and aft a few inches to benefit either 2nd- or 3rd-row legroom. The center section of the 2nd-row seat can be configured one of three ways: as a very narrow, sparsely padded seat; as a console with tray table; and as an empty passageway to the 3rd row." -- Consumer Guide
  • "In the interest of full testing, I climbed back there. My head was jammed against the roof and there wasn't enough legroom to even raise the second-row seats to their normal position." -- Boston Globe
  • "We were surprised with the roominess inside, especially for third-row passengers, who made little consolation in terms of ingress, egress, and overall comfort. The Highlander Hybrid was quite flexible, easily morphing to accommodate different passenger/cargo needs, while providing outstanding long-distance comfort." -- MSN

Interior Features

The Highlander Hybrid comes with plenty of luxury features, but its interior is plagued by cheap materials. The base model comes with a six-speaker CD player, auxiliary audio jack, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and a multi-information display that shows average fuel economy and outside temperature. It also features a family-friendly conversation mirror, which allows the driver to keep an eye on kids in the back without turning around.

Few options were available on the base model when it was new. A premium sound system with Bluetooth, a voice-activated navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system were available on Limited models.

  • "Budget realities mean there are more hard plastic finishes than in a typical Lexus, but those plastics are nicely grained and assembled with care. Only the headliner, which looks like a cardboard egg carton, disappoints." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Visually the dashboard looks attractive enough and the plastic surfaces appear to be of a reasonably high quality. However, that impression ends when you touch the dashboard surface. All the plastic surfaces in the Highlander (aside from the armrests) are hard plastic with no padding." -- Autoblog Green
  • "The instrumentation is clear, with the exception of a kilowatt/power meter that seems as extraneous as the tachometers on most of today's vehicles." -- Boston Globe
  • "The audio system in this base model only uses six speakers, two tweeters in front and a woofer on each door. We were surprised how much bass came out of the speakers, but not in a good way. It wasn't a particularly deep bass, and it overwhelmed the sound quality." -- CNET
  • "All versions have large, easy-to-read gauges and high-mounted audio and climate controls. The available navigation system is fairly intuitive but absorbs and complicates audio-system adjustments. The Hybrid includes a fuel-economy-indicator gauge behind the steering wheel that shows when it's being driven most efficiently." -- Consumer Guide


Overall cargo space in the 2010 Highlander Hybrid may be impressive, but space with all three rows in use still doesn't measure up to top rivals. With the third row in use, it provides just 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space. With the third and second rows folded down, it provides 42.4 and 94.1 cubic feet of cargo space, respectively.

  • "If you don't need the extra people capacity, a tug on the strap at the top of the rear seat allows the head rests to flip down and the seat back folds down providing a flat load floor." -- Autoblog Green
  • "The Highlander Hybrid was quite flexible, easily morphing to accommodate different passenger/cargo needs, while providing outstanding long-distance comfort." -- MSN
  • "Top-notch small item storage includes 10 cupholders and four bottle holders, not to mention assorted map pockets and other convenient nooks and crannies." -- Consumer Guide

Next Steps: 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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