“Good on fuel and perfect for family transportation…”
The 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is truly a big people mover.
There are three models available; the Hybrid LE, XLE, both of which carry up to eight passengers and the Hybrid Limited that I drove maxes out at seven.
The designers have given the Highlander a makeover for 2015 with a new grille and more sculpted headlights along with a larger rear spoiler. This year, 17-inch alloy wheels are standard with 19-inch alloy wheels available on the Limited and XLE models.
In The Cab:
Standard features on all Highlander models include third row seating, air conditioning; front seats with height-adjustable active head rests and eight-way (10-way on the Limited) adjustable driver’s seat. The long list of standard features includes: power door locks and windows with driver’s window jam protection and auto up/down feature; cruise control; multi-function keyless entry system; UV reduction windshield and rear privacy glass; illuminated entry system.
The Limited model features a panoramic moonroof that brings in lots of natural light to the cabin.
The LE model features a standard AM/FM/CD audio system with six-speakers; XLE and Limited models have an AM/FM/six disc in dash CD changer with six speakers, MP3/WMA playback capability and satellite radio capability. All audio systems are equipped with a USB audio input.
All models have a backup camera. The lift gate has selectable memory height settings so gone are the days of walking into the edge of the gate without looking.
The Highlander comes standard with seven airbags. These include advanced driver and front passenger airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags and a driver’s knee airbag. Roll-sensing side curtain airbags help to protect the occupants of all three rows in the event of side collisions or vehicle rollovers. All Highlander models are now standard equipped with front active headrests.
Toyota has also added Smart Stop technology, lane departure alert, blind spot monitor, and rear cross traffic alert.
The tester has a higher spring rate and a high damping force type shock absorber that delivers a firm but comfortable ride. Cornering is where you really feel the difference. Missing is the typical SUV roll you experience with some other SUVs. There is lots of power and it is very easy to find yourself over the speed limit in a hurry!
I noticed that in Econ mode the heater does not put out as much force, so on a cold day you will have to turn this off to get a full amount of heat. There is lots of room inside for the whole family, especially with the addition of the third row seating.
The Hybrid comes with a towing prep package that includes a large radiator, transmission oil cooler, heavy-duty battery and towing wire harness.
Good on fuel and perfect for family transportation.
The Hybrid combines a 3.5 litre engine with a high-speed electric motor that produces a peak 280 horsepower.
Basic 60,000 km
Powertrain 100,000 km
HYBRID Limited – 8.6/8.5 L/100 km (city/highway)
Highlander Hybrid LE from $44,015
Highlander Hybrid XLE from $46,440
Highlander Hybrid Limited as tested $52,990