2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a top performer

BY H. THROTTLE
AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST

If you’re wondering if a hybrid vehicle is something for you to purchase, think positively.  The hybrid vehicles, especially with the crossover engines, have become outstanding.   They excel in acceleration and fuel economy.

The test car of the week has been a Toyota Highlander hybrid/limited/L4 all-wheel drive.  What an amazing and quality vehicle with final assembly in Princeton, IN.

The SUV body style is sleek with “Opulent Amber” metallic paint that is well named with a perfect dark color with flakes of amber.   The interior cabin has a dark leather trim that includes the two front seat captain chairs, both heated and cooled. The second-row seats are offered in two-seat captain chairs or bench seating.  Two more 60/40/ fold-down seats can enter the cargo area allowing for 8 passengers.

The exterior includes all LED lighting including fog lights and a tilt moonroof with a sunshade.  The Highlander rides on 20 inch wheels with all-weather tires. The large cargo space, all-wheel drive, and seating for 8 passengers make this a great Colorado outdoor
vehicle.

While appearance is exceptional, the mechanical efficiency of this hybrid technology is excellent.  Three driving modes of  sport, normal, and eco give the driver a selection for traffic and road condition.  I used all three modes during  busy July holiday traffic conditions.  The fuel economy using the three modes was 34 mpg.

The 2021 Highlander is powered by a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine generating 3500 pounds of towing capacity with 243 combined horsepower.  The acceleration was outstanding in all three modes.

Air conditioning was welcome on hot days even when the vehicle was resting idle.  Driving a hybrid takes a few minutes to realize that when starting, the drive is totally silent operating on the battery powered system. Only when acceleration is required does the  engine start to perform.  All of the interchange between hybrid and gas power is automatic with the driver almost unaware of the power source.

The Highlander, being a hi-tech vehicle, has all of the Toyota Safety Sense safety features, cameras, and a bird’s eye vertical camera option.  There are four UBS phone charging ports. Sound flows from a JBL 11 speaker system with subwoofer and amplifier.  Radio, navigation and home page systems all are easy to operate.

The drive is excellent,  the versatile on-demand transmission works perfectly with the hybrid/engine for power and gear choice versatility.  

The cabin is quiet with  stitched leather dash padding and heated outside large spacious rear view mirrors.   This is the ideal Colorado all-weather car with outstanding fuel economy, safety and comfort.

Toyota  lives up to their motto, “Let’s Go Places.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *