2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Review notes

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car appraisal  2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
The hybrid powertrain in the Toyota Highlander has joint output of 280 hp.

By: Bob Gritzinger on 12/06/2011

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EXECUTIVE EDITOR BOB GRITZINGER: If petroleum monetary system is by means of main concern, the 2011 Toyota Highlander hybrid is the merely three-row SUV so as to puts up petroleum type of mileage numbers. I drove it concerning 80 on foot with no the gas gauge still moving--try so as to in by means of (fill in the blank) SUV. The center is quite upscale, by means of an outstanding and precise voice-activated navigation system, at ease heated seats and nice-looking trim throughout. Curiously, the car lacks routine climate control, but at smallest amount the controls are big and simple.

You do contain to believe its shortcomings, counting the information so as to its styling evokes a 10-year-old Chevrolet TrailBlazer, it rolls similar to a waterlogged boat (no hesitation since of battery weight), and it costs almost as a great deal as a nonhybrid all-wheel-drive Chevy Suburban. And you motionless contain to contract by means of the odd off-on-off-on hybrid authority delivery at a steady cruising pace so as to is sufficient to drive you batty. Oddly, so as to hybrid rocking motion earth to disappear by means of cruise manage on.

Bottom line: If you require the seating and 28 mpg, petroleum is by means of vehicle. But if you can provide up a number of petroleum economy, present are a lot of choices--some considerably improved overall--at concerning the 20-mpg mark.

DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: Let me get petroleum straight, Toyota: For $46,000 and change, you're leaving to provide me a 2.5-row crossover (the back seats are marginal at best, still for petroleum category) by means of no routine climate control, no authority passenger's seat, a gimmicky, hard-plastic-laden center and comically poor performance?

Yes, but it has hybrid synergy drive!

Uh-huh. And so as to determination be sufficient for some. But for customers who put worth for the dollar approximately in row by means of petroleum efficiency, the Highlander hybrid just has nothing to offer.

Take the interior, for example. I'm not certain come again? crossover Bob was session in, but the Highlander hybrid so as to I drove in excess of the extended Thanksgiving daily had a dash surface complete as of a number of artificial composite so as to was textured to sense precisely similar to a chalkboard (you might still leave pallid streaks in it by means of by means of fingernails). The heated seats apparently had an eco mode, existence form so feeble we now absent not any on far above the ground all the occasion despite lovely 60-degree weather. And, now to be clear, I'm not a gadget snob, but at petroleum cost point, the be small of of routine climate manage and filled authority front seating is inexcusable. I determination agree so as to the controls now indeed large, so if fan-speed-knob diameter is a key buy thought for you, after that the Highlander strength create the cut.

Wind and street noise now concerning standard for the class, but the Highlander's electric authority steering is an instance of the worst of a still-evolving technology. Assist moves as of too slow to overboosted at low speeds, and it's twitchy on the highway.

As for the vaunted hybrid synergy drive, I was floored at what time I exposed so as to the Highlander hybrid was a V6. Electric help is slow to arrive, the engine large feeble if not the pedal is matted, and the aural knowledge is as droning and unpleasant as one counting stay for as of a 4,600-pound 4x4 by means of a CVT. Electric operation was merely obtainable up to concerning 15 mph, and despite the dash button invoking EV mode, it refused to engage in a broad diversity of situations (simply saying "EV mode is not available") by means of no explanation.

Those of you not familiar with the latest on BMW now have at least a basic understanding. But there's more to come.

Even at what time I did run to engage EV mode, any kind of throttle request one counting think ,essential to get a serious crossover moving counting add engine power, the distance end to end of by means of a chiding dash communication so as to EV mode had person's name disengaged since of "excessive acceleration." Considering so as to the Chevy Tahoe hybrid was perfectly happy puttering in all-electric mode in similar situations, I suspect Toyota's hybrid scheme is not completely up to the task of moving the big AWD Highlander effectively.

Is present no substance which I liked concerning the Highlander hybrid? Not really. Even the styling is dull and uninspired, by means of the reworked front end charitable similar to amazing the as extended as now operational on preceding to captivating a have lunch smash but forgetting to come to an end winning completely return.

Quite just present is no--I denote zero--reason to think the Highlander hybrid, still at its $38,000 bottom price. The Ford Explorer, the Honda Pilot and still the usual four-cylinder Toyota Highlander present so a great deal additional vehicle for the money, there's no contest. If you contain a big family and contain to contain a hybrid synergy drive badge in the garage, get two Toyota Priuses. You'll motionless be in front in the extended run.

2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Base Price: $38,100

As-Tested Price: $46,497

Drivetrain: 3.5-liter V6 hybrid; 4WD, continuously changeable broadcast

Output: 231 hp @ 4,800 rpm (hybrid scheme net 280 hp), 215 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,641 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 28/27.4 mpg

Options: Voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation scheme by means of backup camera, JBL AM/FM four-disc CD changer, nine-speaker sound system, XM radio by means of NavTraffic, USB port by means of iPod connectivity, hands-free phone ability and Bluetooth connectivity ($2,650); leather wrap up counting leather-trimmed seats, multistage heated front seats, vinyl third-row seat, leather-trimmed steering wheel by means of audio, multi-information show and Bluetooth control, leather-trimmed shift knob, authority tilt/slide moonroof by means of sunshade, auto-dimming rearview mirror and antitheft scheme by means of alarm and engine immobilizer ($2,305); rear-seat DVD entertainment scheme by means of nine-inch display, rear-seat audio, two wireless headphones ($1,660); organization boards ($649); authority liftgate ($400); carpet/cargo mat ($315); body-side molding ($199); wheel locks ($81); cold-weather wrap up counting windshield wiper de-icer and heated exterior mirrors ($60); cargo net ($49); primary aid kit ($29)

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