2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.3 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 268 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 28/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

  • The 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is an excellent family SUV that accommodates the needs of most SUV buyers while delivering the benefits of hybrid technology.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Real-world gas mileage in the 20s, terrific acceleration, smooth ride, comfortable cabin with simple controls and solid materials.

  • Cons

    Extra weight results in so-so handling, engine can be noisy, poor access to third-row seat.

  • What's New for 2006

    New for 2006, the hybrid version of the Highlander pairs a gasoline-powered V6 with electric motors to improve fuel economy and acceleration.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

Almost got killed in my

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

These hybrid are in the baby stages, there are a lot of serious problems with the hybrid system components, these vehicles are death traps, they can stall on you and shut down without any warning doing 70 mph, no power, no steering, no brakes almost got killed by a semi on the freeway. I'm talking to a lawyer, it's happening to others in other states, they are very expensive to fix, 14,000 dollars that's what my dealer wants to fix, they are nuts a four year old car, needing such expensive repairs, my last hybrid, or Toyota, and yes they say they are warrantied, but a warranty is only good if they will fix it and Toyota won't.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sherman tank that gets great

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Prior to buying this vehicle, I owned a 2002 Honda CR-V and thought that it was the best car ever built. Then I bought my Highlander Hybrid with 26K miles and the it is more rugged and gets better mileage than the smaller Honda. This 06 Highlander Hybrid has it all: Good Looks. Great interior space. Smooth ride with a CVT transmission. Good gas mileage for a powerful SUV I get about 26 MPG overall. While this is less than advertised, it is still very good for a car with 268 HP that is built like a Sherman Tank. I typically keep a car for 200K plus miles and I am confident that this will go way beyond this milestone with basic maintenance.

Great suv

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Love my 06 Highlander Hybrid. Bought in 08 with 93k miles for $16K. Now have 125K and all is GREAT. NO problems, no issues great gas mileage 29 mpg around town. When and if the hybrid battery goes out it will be no brainer to purchase a replacement.

I love this vehicle

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

The SUV has a lot of power and gets good gas mileage, for this big of a vehicle

Buy a honda

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Serious and dangerous uncontrolable torque steer. Poof fuel economy, pathetic tiny front seats with uncomfortable arm rests combine for a truely sad ride. Lots of rattles and squeaks. The car has an almost rubberband motion to it. I will never buy another toyota. Toyota flat out lied, told me you don't need the 4wd and as it turns out it is the only thing that helps control the uncontrollable pull to the right in the 2wd version. That is why the 2008 hybrids will only be offered in this layout. Never again with this POOR company. The gas motor thumps when it kicks in, got much worse after the first 100 miles. Deceptive regarding their claim of a "seamless transion" between gas and electric.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

I could ask for a

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Fuel economy is 22-25% below sticker numbers. Has uncontrollable torque steer while under full throttle @15 mph. The cars pulls to the right then back to the left, dealer says "that's nature of the car". The motor thuds when it comes on and is anything but seamless. Lift gate squeaks, driver's side passenger door rattles. Vehicle has 3,000 miles on it. While driving with the windows down, the brakes will squeal and the motor whines noticeably also the wind buffeting is horrible. Suspension absorbs pot holes well. Vehicle is hard to control in turns and uncontrollable if accelerating hard in a turn. Captains chair arm rests and stereo are cheap. AC vents poor for 2nd row passengers.

Full 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

What's New for 2006

New for 2006, the hybrid version of the Highlander pairs a gasoline-powered V6 with electric motors to improve fuel economy and acceleration.


Hybrids are certainly not new -- the first Honda Insights and Toyota Priuses rolled into dealerships over five years ago. But the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the one that will put the term "hybrid" on the lips of average Americans. As revolutionary as cars like the Insight were, many people need more than two or even five seats. And that's where the Highlander comes in.

As the first seven-passenger hybrid vehicle Toyota's alternative-powered SUV is revolutionary in its own quiet kind of way. Automakers have finally figured out that the key to mass hybrid sales is not necessarily stellar fuel economy. Given the price premium paid for most hybrids, vehicles like the Lexus RX 400h and Honda Accord Hybrid offer more luxury features and extra power. And the Toyota Highlander is no different. The "conserving resources" aspect of the Highlander Hybrid intentionally plays second banana to more important features like extra power and standard third-row seating.

Does the Toyota Highlander Hybrid get better fuel economy than your average V6-powered SUV? Sure, it's rated 31 mpg/27 mpg highway. But it's the added snap of 268 hp that really get this Highlander recognized. The gas-electric Highlander also offers a few extra touches such as standard LED taillights and unique 17-inch wheels. Foglights, a rear roof spoiler and a JBL stereo are options. The Limited version is even more luxurious, as it's loaded up with every possible feature save for an optional DVD-based navigation system. But with that touchscreen nav system, you'll also have the added entertainment of a power flow chart and fuel economy meter like that found in the Prius.

Front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions are available, though the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is intended for pavement duty. Toyota calls the all-wheel-drive system 4WD-i. It is an on-demand system that improves traction on wet and dry pavement and is capable of regenerating power from all four wheels. The system is unique in that it uses a rear-mounted motor/generator to power the rear wheels when wheel slip is detected in the front. The 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is remarkable in that it doesn't force you to make uncomfortable compromises to stand up for the planet. Thanks, in part, to its conservative styling and simple, comfortable interior, this hybrid should make the move into the high-tech age painless for the typical family car buyer.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is offered in base and Limited trim levels. The base model is nicely equipped with seven-passenger seating, cloth upholstery, a power driver seat, ABS, stability control, a six-speaker CD stereo and 17-inch alloy wheels. The lone option package for the base model includes a sunroof, an upgraded JBL stereo with a CD changer and foglights. The Limited comes with all of the above, as well as leather upholstery, wood grain interior trim, automatic climate control and a power front-passenger seat. A navigation system is the only option on the Limited.

Powertrains and Performance

To make the hybrid version, Toyota started with the 3.3-liter V6 in the standard Highlander, recalibrated it for duty in a hybrid and installed two electric motors. One of the motors is responsible for starting the gas engine and recharging the 288-volt battery pack. The other teams up with the V6 to drive the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission. All-wheel-drive models get a third motor that can juice the rear wheels when extra power or traction is needed; Toyota calls this setup 4WD-i. The gas-electric power plant makes a combined 268 horsepower. Fuel economy is 33 mpg city/28 mpg highway on front-drive (2WD) models and 31/27 on all-wheel-drive models. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.


Front-seat side airbags and first- and second-row head curtain airbags are standard on all Toyota Highlander Hybrid models. Also standard are four-wheel antilock disc brakes, ABS with BrakeAssist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, traction control, stability control. These safety systems are part of Toyota's new integrated safety system that coordinates all the vehicle's safety features to assure maximum accident avoidance capability and protection should an accident occur.

Interior Design and Special Features

The interior of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is essentially identical to that of the gasoline-only version. A thoughtful cabin design puts all the controls and storage areas within easy reach. Comfortable seating in the first and second rows and a total of 10 cupholders make the Highlander Hybrid a natural for family transportation. The second-row seat's lack of a flip-and-fold mechanism makes the third row tougher to access than most, but this is still the only hybrid that seats seven.

Driving Impressions

The standard Toyota Highlander has a light and somewhat "tossable" nature but the added weight of the hybrid version gives it a more cumbersome feel around tight turns. It's still easy to maneuver in the city, though, and as smooth as they come on the highway. Acceleration is excellent at any speed, thanks to the electric motor assist.

Talk About The 2006 Highlander Hybrid

Read more about the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Gas Mileage


  • 28
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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