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 Performance

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

The Highlander Hybrid's ride is geared more toward comfort than sporty driving, but that doesn't bother reviewers. In fact, they say that driving the SUV is almost like driving a conventionally-powered car, which is a big compliment for any hybrid vehicle.

  • "There’s no excitement in the driving experience, but trying to maximize mileage can be entertaining." -- Car and Driver
  • "Bring your own pulse because you won't find one here." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid gets a new powertrain for 2011. A 3.5-liter V6 is paired with an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This combination pushes out 280-horsepower to the front-wheels. Out back another electric motor puts power to the rear wheels. This motor kicks in when the front wheels slip. Reviewers appreciate the seamlessness of the new powertrain as well as the additional power. 

  • "It’s mostly about fuel economy, so it’s not too thrilling to drive" -- Car and Driver
  • "As you might expect, more total power makes the 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid quicker." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The Highlander Hybrid's steering and brakes please most test drivers, though there are a few minor complaints about braking response. Complaints about brake feel is common to hybrids, though, since they use regenerative brakes that capture the car's energy, rather than normal-feeling brakes.

  • "The size and high center of gravity of the Highlander Hybrid means cornering can be a little scary. We were initially disconcerted by the amount of body roll, but found the car handled an emergency maneuver without a problem. Steering is relatively tight on the Highlander Hybrid, without a lot of play in the wheel." -- CNET
  • "Braking is fine until the final feet when the drive train disengages and the vehicle tends to surge forward a bit." -- Boston Globe
  • "The Highlander Hybrid changes direction when we turn the wheel, but that's the only way to know it's connected to anything because there's precious little sensory feedback through the column." -- Edmunds

Next Steps: 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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