Unlike a gasoline engine, electric motors have maximum torque the instant you apply power. You can go from 60 to 80 in about three seconds if you punch it. But there is a big problem for the unwary; the Highlander has severe torque-steer and could drag an unsuspecting driver right into another vehicle they are passing. Does not come close to EPA fuel economy ratings. The 28/28 mpg only works at around 40 mph. Otherwise it is 23/26 with a combined mpg of 25 no matter how you drive.
Have about 1,000 miles on the Highlander Hybrid Limited. Very happy with the vehicle so far. For spending so much money on a car, I miss a few things that seem like they should be standard: Memory seating/mirror position. One tap (three blink) turn signal lane change indicator, to name a couple. Not exactly deal breakers, but would be nice. Only other frustration is directed at Toyota in general...not being able to change navigation settings or use telephone phone book while moving is maddeningly archaic. Passenger should be able to input without coming to a complete stop.
I needed to replace my minivan. I still needed a vehicle with 7 passenger capacity and wanted an SUV with great mpg's. I bought my first Hybrid and AWD which is a used 2012 Highlander Hybrid with 97k miles. It is smooth, quiet, comfortable, spacious and efficient. I was attracted by the 28 mpg EPA and pleasantly surprised with what I'm getting. I drive 36 miles round trip to work each day and get 34+ mpg. My commute consists of 80% city and 20% highway miles. Today I got 34.5 mpg. Yes I drive differently to squeeze these miles out. The most effective tricks are to accelerate moderately (utilizes the electric motor), accelerate downhill and minimize the use of AC especially going uphill. There is an ECON button which regulates your acceleration, but you can shut it off if you are an aggressive driver. I'm very pleased with the purchase of this vehicle. It is everything I wanted and needed.