2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV

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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 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

  • The 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a solid midsize crossover SUV that accommodates the needs of most families while delivering the fuel economy and performance benefits of hybrid technology. However, its mid-$30Ks base price can make it tough to justify over a regular Highlander.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Real-world gas mileage in the high 20s, swift acceleration, smooth ride, high crash test scores, comfortable cabin with simple controls and solid materials.

  • Cons

    Expensive, added weight of hybrid mechanicals results in so-so handling, engine can be noisy, poor access to third-row seat.

  • What's New for 2007

    A less-expensive model joins the 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid lineup.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (6 total reviews)


Excellent car except for start

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Vehicle: 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I use this car for everything including towing a 2,000 lb Casita trailer. I have driven several times the length of Baja California with the trailer. The car tows the trailer very well, and there is plenty of power for towing on steep, prolonged mountain passes or for passing. You hardly know the trailer is there. Towing or not, the car consistently gets several MPG better than my former Honda 2004 Odyssey. However, note that MPG GOES DOWN VERY FAST AS YOU INCREASE HIGHWAY SPEED OVER 65 MPH, as you would expect due to wind/tire resistance. The car handles extremely well, great suspension. The only problem encountered is with the small start battery, which frequently goes dead.




Last of the 07s

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Vehicle: 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I had a hard time finding a Limited Edition AWD and had to settle for a FWD and put in my own Nav system. I am very pleasantly surprised with the vehicle and how fun it is to drive. The side mirrors give great visibility and I put a rear camera on the Pioneer Nav system I bought to cover directly behind the vehicle for backing up and parking. I looked around for a hybrid for my family and this is the best of the 07s. The 08s looked nicer but I didn't think I could get it in my garage and the hybrid wasn't going to be out till October and I wanted to catch the last $650 in tax credits which expire end of Sept for Toyota. Very pleased.




It could be better

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Vehicle: 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Overall, it is a very nice car. This is the second hybrid I bought this year, my first was a Ford Escape. The power of the HH far exceeds the Ford, but it cost you 6-7 mpg. The HH is more spacious and I am confident the resale will be better, but I do enjoy driving the Ford more than the HH.



18 of 19 people found this review helpful

2007 toyota hh

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Vehicle: 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I just purchased a new 2007 hybrid Highlander and broke it in over the holiday weekend. Drove approximately 1350 total miles. First 800: varied speed from 45-70 on 2 lane highway with lots of hills in rural areas. Averaged 29.1 by the dispaly and on paper. Second 550: set cruise control at 70 on interstate and averaged 28.7. This seems good to me. Vehicle is very comfortable over long distances and seriously quiet. Rides nicely and handles well. Have not used AC but heater seems to work well. Am very happy with my purchase and hope that with increased mileage that the gas economy will improve.



7 of 8 people found this review helpful

Following first long trip

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Vehicle: 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Took my first road trip of about 500 milies and was mildly disappointed with the fuel economy (25 MPG - highway). Although only 2 MPG under the advertised 27, I drove very carefully and tried to eke out as much electric motor driving as I could. I have come to the conclusion that this is not an "econo-box" but simply a performance vehicle that gets the economy of a 4-cyl with the umph of an 8. Fun to drive, great pick-up, and comfy. A real step up from my Subaru Outback. If given the choice all over again, however, I would opt for the non-hybrid 6 and spend the extra cash on a 4wd, an upgraded Limited, and other accessories.



4 of 6 people found this review helpful

Oh what a feeling, toyota!

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Vehicle: 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

We have truly enjoyed the short time we’ve driven the hybrid. Hard to get used to the lack of engine noise when at idle. Surprising performance when needed and the ride is as good or better than any sedan. Even though it is a five year lease, you can not use the tax advantage. An IRS limitation, not Toyota.



Full 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

What's New for 2007

A less-expensive model joins the 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid lineup.

Introduction

As revolutionary as early hybrid cars were, not everyone could take advantage of this technology because of their space and seating capacity constraints. That's where the Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes in. Introduced last year, it is the first and only seven-passenger (with optional third-row seat) hybrid vehicle, allowing family-oriented buyers to make an environmental statement when they pull up in the elementary school carpool circle. In truth, though, the cramped third-row seat is only minimally useful. Although the Highlander Hybrid has an EPA highway fuel economy rating of 33 mpg, the point of driving this hybrid SUV is not necessarily the promise of stellar fuel economy. Rather, Toyota is hoping buyers will see the performance angle as well, as the Highlander pairs a healthy V6 gas engine with a couple of electric motors to deliver extremely quick acceleration for the midsize SUV class.

In creating the hybrid Highlander, Toyota started with the regular Highlander's optional 3.3-liter V6, recalibrated it for duty in a hybrid (it makes less horsepower in this application) and installed two electric motors (three on all-wheel-drive models). One of the motors is responsible for starting the gas engine and recharging the 288-volt battery pack. Another teams up with the V6 to drive the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission of sorts that Toyota calls a "power-split device." This simplified CVT provides the ease of a conventional automatic transmission, but there are no gears to shift, drive belts, torque converter or clutch. The third motor, present only on all-wheel-drive models, can power the rear wheels when extra acceleration or traction is needed, or help recharge the battery pack. Since the gas V6 never provides power to the rear wheels of AWD Highlander Hybrids, however, it's not a true all-wheel-drive setup. Buyers who need a serious snow vehicle should stick with the regular Highlander.

Driving a 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a lot like driving a regular V6 Highlander -- it's just a lot quicker. Still, the lack of conventional shift points can take some adjustment, as can the gas engine's tendency to rev at a consistently high rpm -- also a function of the hybrid drivetrain. Ride quality is as smooth as ever, but with the extra weight of the hybrid system, handling is even less athletic than it is on the regular Highlander (already notable for its modest limits).

Still, compared to the other non-premium hybrid SUVs that are available, the Ford Escape Hybrid and Saturn Vue Green Line, the Highlander Hybrid is much quicker and more refined. Unfortunately, it's also more expensive, and the Escape, which uses a Toyota-designed hybrid system, gets better fuel economy. Neither can match the Highlander's interior room, but if space is what you need, you may be better off with a traditional gasoline SUV like the Honda Pilot or Mazda CX-9: Your mileage will be lower, but the initial cost will be less. That's not to say a 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid purchase won't make you happy, but potential buyers should be aware that hybrid SUV ownership isn't likely to be the most cost-effective option for family transportation.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The midsize Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV is offered in base and Limited trim levels. Both are available in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. Five-passenger seating is standard on both, but an optional third-row seat increases capacity to seven. The base model is nicely equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, a windshield wiper de-icer, air-conditioning, a six-speaker CD stereo, a power driver seat, cruise control and full power accessories. The Highlander Hybrid Limited adds heated front seats, automatic climate control, an upgraded eight-speaker JBL sound system with an in-dash CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and wood-grain interior trim.

Options on both models include a sunroof and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Leather upholstery and a navigation system are exclusive options for the Limited.

Powertrains and Performance

The hybrid drivetrain in the 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid consists of a gasoline 3.3-liter V6 rated for 208 hp and two electric motors (three on AWD models). One of the motors is responsible for starting the gas engine and recharging the 288-volt battery pack. The second motor joins forces with the V6 to drive the front wheels via a simplified continuously variable transmission. All-wheel-drive Highlander Hybrids get a third motor that provides power to the rear wheels when extra acceleration or traction is needed. Cumulative output for this hybrid drivetrain is 268 horsepower. Acceleration is swift for an SUV in this price range -- we've timed an AWD Highlander Hybrid at 7.2 seconds for the 0-60-mph run.

Fuel economy ratings for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid are 33 mpg city/28 mpg highway on front-drive (2WD) models and 31/27 on AWD models. Towing is possible in the Highlander Hybrid, as it can pull up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped, but off-roading is not recommended.

Safety

Front-seat side airbags and first- and second-row side curtain airbags are standard on all Highlander Hybrids. Also standard are antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction control and stability control. The regular Highlander's crash test ratings apply to the Hybrid model. In NHTSA crash testing, the Toyota Highlander scored five stars (out of a possible five) for frontal-impact protection. In side-impact tests, it again received five stars for both front and rear passengers. In frontal offset crash testing administered by the IIHS, the Toyota earned a "Good" rating (the best possible).

Interior Design and Special Features

The interior of the 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is identical to that of the gasoline-only version, which means that it has a slightly dated look but features high-quality materials and solid ergonomics. Comfortable seating in the first- and second-rows and a total of 10 cupholders make the Highlander Hybrid a natural for family transportation, but newer competitors in the midsize crossover SUV class offer roomier second-row accommodations. Additionally, the second-row seat's lack of a flip-and-fold mechanism makes the third row difficult to access. Maximum cargo capacity is 80.6 cubic feet, just as in the regular Highlander.

Driving Impressions

First-time Highlander Hybrid drivers may experience a split-second of doubt when they twist the key in the ignition and hear nothing, as the SUV starts out in all-electric mode. Ease into the accelerator and you'll hear only the peaceful hum of an electric motor until you hit about 25 mph or blast the A/C. Acceleration is excellent at any speed, and the hybrid Highlander feels particularly swift in merging and passing situations. The lack of conventional shift points can take a little getting used to, though. Additionally, the gasoline V6 tends to be noisier in the hybrid version than it is in the regular Highlander, as the efficiency-oriented CVT often sends it soaring to high rpm during heavy acceleration. The added weight of the hybrid system gives the 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a somewhat cumbersome feel around tight turns. It's still easy to maneuver in the city, though, and as smooth as they come on the highway.

Talk About The 2007 Highlander Hybrid

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

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