2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review | Mid-Size SUV Gets 28 MPG

1 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review | Mid-Size SUV Gets 28 MPG

Review: 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Last updated on December 7th, 2012

The mid-size Toyota Highlander Hybrid remains one of the few vehicles on the market that offers a large SUV experience, while getting reasonable fuel economy for its size. For the 2013 model, Toyota has added a new trim to the general Highlander line and makes its previously optional Entune Multimedia System standard across all trims. Additionally, the 2013 hybrid model retains many of the features that have attracted drivers in past years.

To start, the Highlander Hybrid is a four-wheel drive SUV that seats seven in three rows of seats. It uses Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system. That system employs a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with a high-torque electric drive motor-generator, mated to an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission.

This powertrain delivers an EPA-estimated 28 mpg city, 28 mpg highway fuel economy ratings.

Unlike many 4WD SUVs that ride on a truck chassis, the Highlander is a crossover utility vehicle that has a smoother, car-like ride. Most of the time, the hybrid model operates in front wheel drive (FWD) mode only. The rear wheels can also assist, but they are powered by an electric motor.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive system electronically varies front and rear torque distribution depending on traction conditions. For example, the 4WD Highlander Hybrid generates rear-wheel power to provide additional drive torque on demand.

Drivers can operate the Highlander Hybrid in an electric (EV) mode using a switch located on the front center console. The SUV can run in electric-only mode for a limited distance at low speeds, or in some stop-and-go driving conditions. An ECON drive-mode switch adjusts the throttle response during acceleration, enhancing fuel economy.

The Hybrid System Indicator in the instrument gauge panel provides the driver with a guideline to help optimize fuel consumption.

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is available in two trims. A Base trim includes what would be luxury features in other SUVs. For example, a navigation system, air conditioning, aluminum wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, stability control, and side airbags are all standard.

The Limited trim adds 19-inch aluminum wheels, a power rear liftgate, power moonroof, three-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a Smart Key System with push-button start. As noted above, all trims now include Toyota’s Entune Multimedia System as standard.

MSRP for the Base trim is $39,970; MSRP for the Limited trim is $46,170.

The gas powertrain line adds a new trim this year. The new Highlander Plus model replaces the former Tech Package and adds numerous features, including a rear back-up camera.

Browse a photo gallery of the 2013 Highlander Hybrid here .

Review: 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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