in 2011 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $25,519 - $31,300
Original MSRP: $38,140 - $43,795
MPG: 28 City / 28 Hwy
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2011 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 appreciate the Highlander Hybrid's cabin, which is roomier and quieter than ever before. However, a few critics note some sub-par cabin materials. For 2011, Toyota has made a third row of seats standard on all Highlander models.

  • ­+"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." -- 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
  • “A third-row seat is now standard, and it folds into the floor in a 50/50 split rather than last year's single piece." -- Cars.com

Toyota Highlander Hybrid Pictures

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First- and Second-Row Seats

Reviewers have mixed opinions about driver's seat comfort. On the plus side, the cabin boasts two family-friendly features. 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.

For 2011 all Highlander’s have a third row, which allows seating for seven. Some reviewers say it's spacious enough for adults but buyers should try the seats themselves before deciding on its usefulness.

  • "Toyota has stolen every inch it can elsewhere in the vehicle, leaving taller drivers barely enough room for a comfortable driving position." -- Boston Globe
  • "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
  • "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. The base model comes with a six-speaker CD player, auxiliary audio jack, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, and Bluetooth hands-free technology. Reviewers seem to have few complaints about the Highlander Hybrids interior features, though some mention subpar materials.

  • "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
  • "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 2011 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 (nearly the same amount of space as the three-row Dodge Journey, which costs significantly less). With the third and second rows folded down, it provides 42.4 and 94.1 cubic feet of cargo space, respectively.

By contrast, the Honda Pilot provides a more impressive 18 cubic feet behind its third row (though it provides less space with the second and third rows folded down).

  • "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: 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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