The 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid crossover SUV is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric generators for a total output of 306 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. That is mated with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and sends power to all four wheels. There was no hiccup from the hybrid powertrain to launch the Highlander Hybrid Limited from a standstill. It took seven seconds to reach 60 mph, which was acceptably quick for its size. The CVT worked smoothly but there was a droning sound when further opening up the throttle. It held good stability when cornering as long as it doesn’t approach too fast. Sportiness is not a priority because there wasn’t much urgency from the steering when changing direction. Feedback from the pavement felt muted, as is the case for SUVs that prioritize carrying capacity over spirited driving. Brakes are utilized by hybrid powertrains to regain energy and the sacrifice of an immediate response was evident. There was a significant jerk after waiting for the bite from the calipers. The long stroke did not benefit the soft pedal either and controlling the brakes needed more concentration.
|ReviewitOnline Ratings are based on a number of factors including reputation, appearance, model age, engine & other comparative aspects.|
The base LE trim comes standard with a wiper de-icer, proximity key entry, push-to-start button, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, an auxiliary audio jack, five USB ports, and an infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system. Several advanced safety and driver aids come standard. The XLE trim adds power-adjustable heated front seats, a power liftgate, satellite radio, HD radio, navigation, an additional 120V power outlet, a bigger 8.1-inch touchscreen, and additional advanced safety and driver aids. The Limited trim adds LED running lights, heated and ventilated front seats, driver-seat memory settings, a 12-speaker JBL sound system, and additional advanced safety and driver aids. The top-of-the-line Limited Platinum trim adds automatic wipers, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and additional advanced safety and driver aids.
The 2018 Highlander Hybrid was tested by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It earned four stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, it achieved a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It was also tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and it scored “Good” in all but one of the crashworthiness tests and “Superior” in front crash prevention. Overall, it received the 2018 Top Safety Pick recommendation from the IIHS. Advanced safety and driver aids that come standard with the base trim include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and a rearview camera. Additional features are added to higher trim levels, which are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera.
The 2018 Highlander Hybrid has a length of 192.5 inches, a width of 75.8 inches, a height of 68.1 inches, and a wheelbase of 109.8 inches. The front fascia is dominated by a trapezoidal center grille stacked with horizontal chrome grills and the headlights have a swept-back look to them. With the taillights and rear bumper having a cohesive look with the front, the overall design is utilitarian with a bit of flair. The LE and XLE trims start with 18-inch wheels while the Limited and Limited Platinum trims have 19-inch wheels. Only the base trim does not have the option of a sunroof.
The ride height didn’t pose a high step-in height and the doors widely opened to a large entrance. However, getting into the third row was impeded by the way the second row seats folded down. Up to seven people can fit inside and while the first and second rows were spacious, the third row was tight for the average adult passenger. The seats offered all-day comfort and the heating and ventilating functions only added to the experience. The range of adjustability for the front seats allowed most passengers to fit in the seat. The leather upholstery was soft to the touch and was finished well. Its steady composure when cornering did not trade off stability and comfort in the ride quality. Imperfections from the pavement were dampened well and the impact was hardly felt. Road noise and wind noise were also kept at bay and the interior atmosphere was relaxed.
There is 13.8 cu-ft of space behind the third row of seats, and 73.4 cu-ft behind the second row of seats. Folding the second and third rows reveal 83.2 cu-ft of space available for cargo.