2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

Used Highlander Hybrid for sale
List Price Range:$17,338 - $24,950
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Toyota Highlander Hybrid model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Exceptional balance of performance and fuel economy
  • attractive cabin
  • flexible second-row seat design.
  • Steep price compared to standard Highlander.

Combining seven-passenger seating with excellent fuel economy and performance, the 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a very appealing alternative to conventional crossovers.

Vehicle overview

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a vehicle for which you can check off several boxes. One or all might be important to you, but the more boxes you check, the more you'll appreciate the Highlander Hybrid's appeal.

First and foremost, it's a hybrid and inherently is much more fuel-efficient than any like-sized conventional crossover. At about 28 mpg combined, you'll be doing way better at the gas pump than just about anybody else with a utility vehicle, even much smaller ones. And unlike the reputation of its Prius cousin for being underpowered, the Highlander Hybrid's standard 3.5-liter V6 means there's surprising and satisfying thrust just about all the time.

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid also is a convincing minivan substitute, particularly for those who might usually use most of those seats but still would rather not buy a minivan. The Highlander's truncated third row isn't really meant for adults or child safety seats, but it's fine for quick trips and bendable adolescents. Finally, you get all of this in a vehicle with standard all-wheel drive, checking off another box if you need a vessel to handle nasty weather.

Too good to be true? About the only real issue, aside from the Highlander Hybrid's numb steering, soft-ish ride and styling that's probably too conservative, is cost. The 2013 Highlander Hybrid's base price is thousands more than the conventionally powered Highlander (although the hybrid is more lavishly equipped). If you see the Highlander Hybrid merely as an investment or hedge bet on gasoline prices, plan on owning it for a long while after it's paid off -- even with savings at the pump.

If you're interested in a hybrid crossover that's similarly sized, the upscale Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid is also a great choice, but has only five seats and is even more expensive. The same is true for the 2013 Lexus RX 450h hybrid from Toyota's premium division. An intriguing option might be the admittedly smaller 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, a five-seat hatchback wagon that offers class-leading fuel economy, plenty of potential utility and a price that's smaller than the Highlander Hybrid's, too.

Few if any vehicles in the market, however, allow you to check off as many boxes as the 2013 Highlander Hybrid.

2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid models

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a seven-passenger midsize crossover SUV offered in two trim levels: base and Limited.

The base model's list of standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, rear privacy glass, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning (with rear controls), an eight-way power driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split second-row seat with a removable center section, a 50/50-split-folding third-row seat, a trip computer, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6-inch touchscreen display, Toyota's Entune app integration, a navigation system and a six-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.

There are just two option packages for the base Highlander Hybrid. A Leather Premium package includes leather upholstery (vinyl third row), heated front seats, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded trip computer.

All of the above options are included on the Limited trim along with 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, keyless ignition/entry, tri-zone climate control, a four-way power passenger seat and a nine-speaker JBL premium sound system. A rear seat entertainment system is optional.

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2013 Highlights

For 2013, all Highlander Hybrids get navigation and an Entune-enabled version of Toyota's Display Audio infotainment system as standard equipment, while the Leather Premium package includes more content.

Performance & mpg

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid's sophisticated and complex powertrain comprises a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine and a trio of electric motors. The gasoline engine and electric motors can operate alone or in tandem depending on the driving conditions. Together, they produce a maximum of 280 horsepower. To maximize efficiency in most situations, power is transmitted only to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), while a separate electric motor drives the rear wheels when there's a need for extra traction or acceleration.

In Edmunds performance testing, a Highlander Hybrid went from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, a quick time even for a conventionally powered midsize crossover. Properly equipped, the Highlander Hybrid also can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Despite its satisfying performance, the Highlander Hybrid's fuel economy is its real strength. The EPA rates the Highlander Hybrid at 28 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 28 mpg in combined driving.

Safety

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active front head restraints. In Edmunds brake testing, the Highlander Hybrid came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet, a very good performance, particularly considering the Highlander Hybrid's batteries and extra components make it markedly heavier than conventionally powered vehicles.

In government crash tests, the Highlander Hybrid earned an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the conventional Highlander the top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests.

Driving

The 2013 Highlander Hybrid dispels the perception that hybrids are great fuel sippers but lousy performers. Drop the accelerator pedal and the gasoline V6 and electric drive motors imperceptibly team up to generate acceleration that will leave plenty of "regular" crossovers in your dust.

Too bad, then, that the Highlander Hybrid's steering feels so disconnected, because it magnifies the fact that this crossover's suspension is definitely tuned for a soft ride: the trade-off being sometimes ungainly handling if corners are taken too quickly. Still, the Highlander Hybrid is a crossover designed to satisfy you with an unchallenging blend of utility and economy. Just load up the gang, punch up the fuel economy display on the Highlander Hybrid's spacious center screen and revel in the comfort in which everyone can travel while using as little fossil fuel as possible.

Interior

There's a quiet, upscale feel to the 2013 Highlander Hybrid when you take in the wide center console, big (but not oversized) 6.1-inch screen for the standard navigation system and the tight tolerances of the trim. The Highlander Hybrid's interior is conventional but comfortable -- and most important, easy to use.

That ease-of-use factor extends to passengers, too. The second-row seats slide and seatbacks recline, allowing everyone to tailor a seating position. A nice feature allows removal of the center portion of the seat if you prefer a six-passenger layout. All the materials are nice to look at and touch, yet feel durable enough to stand the beating a family's likely to inflict.

The Highlander Hybrid does not provide quite as much cargo capacity as a minivan or a full-size crossover, but it can haul plenty if needed: There's 42 cubic feet of cargo room with the third-row seat neatly folded flat. Drop both seats and there's a very useful 94 cubic feet back there. For comparison, the like-sized VW Touareg Hybrid offers 32 cubic feet behind its second row and a maximum of 64 cubic feet.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Crazy about it!
quipepeo,11/14/2012
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I am averaging 30.2 mpg and just as surprised with the performance of this Hybrid. I spend a lot of time researching six- and seven-passenger SUV's to drive 26,000+ miles per year. I am convinced I made the right choice. The car offers the perfect balance of power/fuel economy, space/size and luxury/utility. The interior of this Limited version is very attractive without seeming opulent or grandiose. I love the car for its comfort and handling but most importantly for the confidence it seems to inspire while driving. It's a sense of feeling at peace.
4 out of 5 stars
A 2013 HH bought in 2016
Ignacio Saucedo,02/16/2016
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
With only 14,680 miles its new to me with all the bells and whistles. Didn't have to give my right arm for it... Smells new. How many hybrid SUVs that can seat 7 and get 27 miles in the city do you know of? The kids love it and super quiet. Updated 2/17/2017, a year later: Wife and kids love it (I bought it for them). super quiet, great sound system, very comfortable and great on gas. Over all averages 25 miles per gallon. Things I've notice: very poor acceleration from a stop and if you punch the gas pedal, sometimes the engines rattles (more me than my wife). Gas mileage improves greatly when coasting or driving under 20 MPH (running on battery). Diving up hills kills your gas mileage considerably (at any speed). If you haven't driven a hybrid, try it, you won't go back to gas only vehicle. Of the four vehicles in our household, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited is the choice vehicle to drive.
5 out of 5 stars
Love this Hybrid!
AJ,02/23/2017
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I have two active children and we are all tall - this suv fits us all and a bunch of friends, too! The back row seating is full seating, not knees-in-your-chest flooring...they are comfy. Getting in and out of the back row seats is a bit of a struggle, but with spry kids it's nothing to worry about. Love that I get a reliable 24-25 mpg with a varying 22-27 mpg depending on conditions, freeway/street, lead foot, and number of people you are hauling. Excellent cargo hold with back row seats flipped down flat - and you still have space for three people in the back seat!
4.75 out of 5 stars
Great Car, Poor Hybrid Display and Audio Manual
davechem,03/06/2013
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I have had this 2013 Highlander Limited for about 6 weeks and really enjoy it. It has been cold (25-35F) so it takes 3-5 miles of driving to get close to the 28 mpg--but this is acceptable. Handling, smoothness, all features work well together. Very comfortable with nice upright seat position. My only disappointment is that the upgraded JBL audio system does not allow display of any of the hybrid operations or MPG records on the large screen, but only a small display on a small screen. The 2013 owners manual claims to have these great displays--that include minute to minute graphs of MPG. A call to Toyota confirmed the lack of display features and the need to update the manual.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover17.4%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Overview

The Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is offered in the following submodels: Highlander Hybrid SUV. Available styles include Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT). The Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: continuously variable-speed automatic. The Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 2 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited is priced between $17,338 and$18,900 with odometer readings between 146600 and148000 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Base is priced between $24,950 and$24,950 with odometer readings between 45627 and45627 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrids are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2013 Highlander Hybrids listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $17,338 and mileage as low as 45627 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

Can't find a used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrids you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota Highlander Hybrid for sale - 6 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $21,216.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 2 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $22,473.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota Highlander Hybrid for sale - 1 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $24,335.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 12 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $22,607.

Should I lease or buy a 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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