in 2013 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $31,866 - $36,636
Original MSRP: $40,170 - $46,370
MPG: 28 City / 28 Hwy
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2013 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 2013 Highlander Hybrid delivers great fuel economy and reviewers say it has plenty of power. The Highlander Hybrid’s regenerative brakes feel odd to reviewers, but this is a common complaint among hybrids. Critics also report that the Highlander Hybrid’s ride and handling are comfortable and controlled, but not sporty.

  • "If money is no object and you want the best in fuel-stretching technology, shoot for the Highlander Hybrid." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The … Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a terrific family vehicle, but not the sort that inspires driving enthusiasts." -- Mother Proof (2011)
  • "There’s no excitement in the driving experience, but trying to maximize mileage can be entertaining." -- Car and Driver (2011)
  • "Bring your own pulse because you won't find one here." -- Edmunds (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Highlander Hybrid is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a pair of electric motors which have a combined output of 280 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) routes power to the wheels. Fuel economy is the Highlander Hybrid’s forte, achieving an EPA-estimated 28/28 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class. Reviewers find that there is plenty of power for passing and merging. One critic also notes that the gasoline engine cycles on and off almost seamlessly.   

  • "Unlike some other environmentally friendly models, the 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has enough oomph under the hood to deliver satisfying acceleration. The hybrid system switches from the electric motor to the gasoline V6 and back almost imperceptibly. ... " -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "The Highlander Hybrid charged up hills without any hesitation." -- Mother Proof (2011)

Handling and Braking

The 2013 Highlander Hybrid comes standard with an on-demand all-wheel drive system that transmits power to the rear wheels as needed. Reviewers say the Highlander Hybrid handles similarly to the gas-only Highlander, meaning it is fairly comfortable and compliant, but not all that engaging. They dislike that the steering provides little feedback. One reviewer notes that the regenerative brakes feel strange, which is a complaint typical of hybrid vehicles.

  • "The brakes also have an odd feel due to their regenerative braking system." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "The ride is super-smooth, but the Highlander Hybrid has a roly-poly feeling through twisty roads, which was a bit unnerving and encouraged slower driving on my part." -- Mother Proof (2011)
  • "It’s mostly about fuel economy, so it’s not too thrilling to drive." -- Car and Driver (2011)

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