Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2021

Toyota Highlander 2021

Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2021

Three-row SUVs are the modern-day equivalent of the old-school family station wagon, and the 2021 Toyota Highlander dutifully gets the job done—and then some. Buyers can choose from the standard V-6 engine or go with the fuel-sipping hybrid option; both powertrains are available with all-wheel drive. Inside, there are three rows of seats—although the rearmost perches are sized for kids or young adults. The nicely-equipped cabin is packed with infotainment features and thoughtful storage cubbies. Toyota also equips every Highlander with an extensive suite of standard driver-assistance features to provide an additional layer of safety. The Highlander’s ride is placid and its acceleration performance is adequate, but an apathetic driving demeanor places it just behind top contenders—such as the Kia Telluride and the Hyundai Palisade—in the mid-size SUV class.

What’s New for 2021?

The sporty-looking XSE trim level joins the Highlander lineup for 2021. It punches up the looks with more aggressive exterior styling, unique 20-inch wheels, black exterior accents, and a sportier calibration for the suspension. Elsewhere, LED projection headlamps are now a standard feature and all models receive additional driver-assistance features, including semi-automated emergency steering technology that’s designed to help a driver avoid collisions.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Highlander comes with a 295-hp 3.5-liter V-6, which pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. During a brief test drive, we found the V-6 could tackle short on-ramps without straining; at our test track, our all-wheel drive test vehicle made it to 60 mph in reasonably-quick 6.7 seconds. Handling is unexciting but stable, and the ride is perfectly suitable for family-chauffeur duty. More driving enjoyment can be found in the Mazda CX-9.

Hybrid Powertrain

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors team up for a combined 243 horsepower in the Highlander Hybrid. This model comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a choice between front- and all-wheel drive. Leveraging Toyota’s hybrid expertise, this powertrain provides buyers with something more fuel efficient than the standard model. The tradeoff comes in acceleration performance, both due to the hybrid’s lower horsepower rating and the fact that this model uses a CVT instead of the nonhybrid’s eight-speed automatic. At our test track, the hybrid model made it to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. Potential buyers in this segment will perhaps know that the Ford Explorer comes in hybrid form, too. But pitting these utes against each other, the Toyota comes out on top in terms of fuel economy, and the Highlander Hybrid’s starting price of $39,585 is a whopping $11,810 less than the Explorer Hybrid’s.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The EPA estimates that the Highlander V-6 will deliver up to 29 mpg on the highway when equipped with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive cuts that by 2 mpg. Hybrid models carry higher ratings, with front-wheel-drive variants earning 36 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. We’ve tested the standard Highlander on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route, where it delivered the 28 mpg. When the hybrid visits our office, we’ll be putting its fuel efficiency to the test on the same route.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Base L and mid-range LE models can seat eight passengers using bench seats in the second and third rows, but a seven-seat arrangement with second-row captain’s chairs is available on higher trims. Passenger space is more generous here than in the CX-9, but not as spacious as in the Chevrolet Traverse, especially in the third row. Materials throughout the cabin are much improved over those in the last-generation Highlander. Upscale Limited and Platinum models provide the most creature comforts but compared with the features proffered by the Palisade or Telluride, they fall short. The cargo area behind the third row fit a mere four carry-on suitcases; the Traverse fit six.

Car Model Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Model Year 2021
Color Pearl, Gray
Mileage 0KM
Car Type SUV
Seating Capacity 5
Engine Capacity V6
Engine Configuration 3.5-Liter V6 DOHC 24-valve with D-VVT-i
Bore/Stroke unknown
Compression Ratio unknown
Fuel Type Petrol-Electric
Power 295 hp @ 6600 rpm
Torque 263 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
Top Speed Unknown
Fuel Consumption 35 mpg City/35 mpg Hwy
Drive Train
Drive Train Type All wheel drive
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Dimension (L x W x H) (194.9 x 76.0 x 68.1) in
Wheelbase 112.2 in
Passenger volume: 132 ft3
Kerb Weight 4504 lb
Fuel Tank Capacity, Approx (gal) 17.1
Front Brakes Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes Disc


  • High-output LED fog lights
  • Rear bumper scuff plate
  • Roof rails
  • Panoramic View Moonroof
  • 10-in. Head-Up Display (HUD)
  • Digital rearview mirror
  • Smart Key System
  • Bird’s Eye View Camera
  • Twin-tip exhaust
  • Direct Shift-8AT
  • 20-in. alloy wheels
  • Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD

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