The call for more fuel-efficient cars is both an environmental and economic one. Hybrid technology that uses petrol along with another power source has become exponentially popular. The SUV has long been known as a big gas guzzler, but is also the one car model slow to adopt hybrid technology.
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid was the first hybrid vehicle to offer all-wheel drive options and more power than the gas version of the Highlander. The mid-size Highlander Hybrid was introduced in the 2006 model year. Based on the gas version of the Highlander, the Highlander Hybrid offered all of the room and stability of its cousin. The Highlander Hybrid went into a second generation of production.
More on the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
About the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is best known for its fuel economy in the city and the highway. The Hybrid uses three different energy saving modes to save on gas. Placing the car in the Normal or Acceleration mode places a target on a power meter that the driver can follow for maximum fuel efficiency while cruising or accelerating. An EV mode allows you to power the vehicle using electrical power alone.
The Highlander is known for its comfortable cabin as well. There is a lot of room for the shoulders, head, and body for all passengers. The third row seat can be small and hard to reach, so it may not be the best place for passengers with mobility issues. Toyota Highlander Hybrid Features
The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes in two trim models: the base Highlander Hybrid and the Highlander Hybrid Limited model. Both models use the special 3.5-liter double overhead cam (DOHC), 24-valve V-6. It also uses the EV motor that produces 280 hybrid system net horsepower. The vehicle qualifies as a super low emission vehicle meeting California and Federal guidelines for low emission tax breaks. Two electric motors power the front drive and rear drive that regenerates when the driver engages the brakes of the vehicle. The Hybrid has 12.9-inch front disc brakes and 12.2-inch rear disc brakes.
The engine gets 28/29 mpg city/highway. The outsides of the vehicles are fully stocked. There are some minor differences between the two trim lines. Both vehicles have projector beam headlamps with auto on/off feature as well as integrated fog lamps. The grille of the vehicle has a chrome accent that matches the chrome door handles and is also designed specifically for the hybrid vehicles, setting the grille apart from the gas Highlander vehicles. The mirrors are color-keyed and are heated as a package option on the standard Hybrid, while the Limited has folding heated mirrors with integrated puddle lamps.
The tires are big on both vehicles. The base Hybrid has 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels. The 19-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels come standard on the Limited and as an option on the base model.
The inside of the vehicle is plush as well. The base model has a standard air conditioning system. The Limited ups the ante with a three-zone climate control. Both vehicles have the Sirius XM Radio package with iPod integration, hands-free phone, and Bluetooth connectivity. JBL speakers and a six-disc CD changer are available as an option on both vehicles. A touch-screen DVD navigation system is also offered.
Toyota decided, finally, that the integrated backup camera is a necessity for the Highlander models, making parking that much easier. Large blind spots made parallel parking a bit of a pain on earlier models.
Fabric trimmed seats come standard on the Hybrid, and the Limited boasts perforated leather seats. The Hybrid has the Smart Key System that automatically unlocks and starts the car for you if you desire. The console also has a push-start button. The base Hybrid starts at $38,140 and the Limited runs $43,795 and above. Toyota Highlander Hybrid Evolution
The first generation Hybrid was released in 2006 and was made for two years before the second-generation models were released. The first generation model was significantly more powerful than its gas counterparts as it produced 268 horsepower, a full 40 horses more. However, the first generation models were very expensive due to the new technology. You can pick them up for a lot cheaper now.
A different suspension was attached to the first generation models to compensate for the heavier hybrid engine. The suspension made the first generation model nimble to drive. Two trim levels, a standard and limited model, were available.
The second generation Hybrids was released in 2008. The 2008 version was roomier in the cabin and a better hybrid system. Little changes were made since the second generation release.