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2021 Highlander Hybrid surprises in good ways!

R, 02/07/2021
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
60 of 61 people found this review helpful

First, all the people complaining about gas mileage, cars get worst gas mileage in the winter. Also, your terrain make a huge difference in avg gas mileage with a hybrid. I live in AL and have been averaging 33+ mpg across the board. Second, it’s a hybrid…it’s going to act different from a normal ICE vehicle. Finally, yes there are some minor flaws. But I’ll take them with the Toyota reliability and retention of value. For the money, you aren’t going to find a better combination for comfort, drivability, value, and style. I looked at every car from a Pilot to Volvo XC90. And we ended up with the highlander hybrid. Couldn’t be happier.

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Great SUV So Far

John_B, 02/26/2021
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
33 of 33 people found this review helpful

I ended up trading in my 2011 Toyota RAV4 (non-hybrid) for a 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid because I needed more cargo space but didn't want to take a bit hit on gas mileage considering most of my driving is local/city. During the first week I had the Highlander Hybrid I will admit I was a bit disappointed I was only getting 26 - 29 mpg given that I was trying to maximize the fuel economy. Up to that point I was only driving a few miles each way. Then I had to go into the office, which is a 12-mile trip each way, and I got 43 mpg going to office and 34 mpg coming back. So even though initially I was only getting 26 - 29 mpg, my final mpg is around 35 mpg, which agrees pretty well with the rated gas mileage. The lesson I learned from this was that it's hard to get good gas mileage for short trips because the gas engine will run during initial startup until the engine and hybrid battery warm up. However, for longer trips the warmup period represents a smaller fraction of time. Anyway, don't let short trips persuade you into thinking you're getting poor gas mileage because the chance are you wouldn't be getting more than 15 mpg with a non-hybrid mid-size SUV. Apart from the gas mileage, I find the ride to be quite comfortable and quiet. Yes, the engine gets noticeably louder the harder you press the gas pedal or go uphill, but it doesn't bother me too much considering how quiet it is the rest of the time. My wife has originally wanted bench seats for the 2nd row, so those were the seats in the model we test drove. However, we ended up getting a good deal on a 2021 Highlander Hybrid that came with captain's chairs, and now my wife really likes the captain's chairs. Right now the only negative I have is pretty minor and not worth taking a star from my review. The minor comment has to do with the design of the hood. Personally I really like the way the Highlander looks, but I don't know what the Toyota engineers were thinking when they designed the hood. When looking at the front hood from the side, it almost looks as if the hood is open because there is a noticeable gap between the headlights and the hood. You could literally stick your hand in between. If there was a reason for that design I would certainly like to know what it was.

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A Real Dream Boat

Sarah Audrey, 03/21/2021
Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
21 of 21 people found this review helpful

You should not make your first impression of the mpgs of this vehicle in the dead of winter. Hybrids are known to struggle with mpgs below freezing. I got my Highlander Hybrid in December, and have been getting around 28mpg on the coldest days, but once the outside temperatures reach 45 and up, I'm getting well over the estimated 35mpg, often 38mpg with combined suburban and highway driving. Besides, no conventional engine 7 or 8 seater touches this vehicle's winter mpg, even. My only complaint is there is a bit of a whistling noise at high speeds, maybe from the driver's side mirror, or the roof rails. I like that the rear ac/heat vents are placed above the seats, this is an ideal position for passengers who are still in rear-facing carseats. You could pay just as much or more on the competition Japanese rival vehicles, and will be putting much more gas into them even in winter, and making more maintenance trips without the hybrid engine due to stress on components like brake parts, etc. I cannot stress enough what a great vehicle this is. I've owned Swedish, German, Korean, and American vehicles but I keep coming back to Toyota. The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD is the best car I've ever owned.

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Satisfied

Kirkfrederic, 01/20/2021
XLE 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
41 of 44 people found this review helpful

We have 6000 miles on our 2021 Highlander Hybrid XLE including a 2500 mile highway trip. Our previous vehicle was a 2005 4Runner 6-cyl which we traded in after 180,000 miles. Mileage is steadily in the 36 range for both highway and city driving. The interior is roomy and holds two sets of golf clubs and matching push carts behind the second row seat. The ride is fine... not in the luxury car class but more than smooth enough. The entertainment system (we got the standard one) is fine. We mostly listen to Sirius oldies stations. Overall, it's a really nice comfortable and economical vehicle. Very satisfied.

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Super Efficient and a Pleasure to drive

Disappointed Toyota Owner , 12/31/2020
Limited 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
36 of 40 people found this review helpful

I purchased a 2021 Highlander Hybrid Limited in December 2020. This is my first Hybrid but my 3rd Highlander. Highlander’s have always been an excellent vehicle. The hybrid limited is an excellent first hybrid for me. The only problem is the driver’s seat. I drive with the seat mostly up in the highest position and every week I am back at the dealership because the seat retaining clips pop out on the left side and are exposed. Every time they repair it, it does it again. Toyota asked that I leave my new vehicle at the dealership until a Toyota Rep can inspect it at an undetermined date. I left it for 2 days and was given another 2021 Highlander Limited to drive but it was not a hybrid. The morning of the second day the other Highlander I was driving had the same issue. The seat retaining clips pop out on the left side. I returned the loaner vehicle back to the dealership and retrieved mine back because if they needed a vehicle to inspect, they could inspect the other vehicle and I didn’t have to leave mine. I have never had a seat issue with my other Highlanders. Toyota’s fix only worked for a few days or so and I brought my Highlander back three more times and two additional times for the plastic seat trim separating that surrounds the base of the seat. Toyota was going to leave it as was but my dealership service manager at the Toyota dealership stepped in and solved the problem with no further help from Toyota. The seat issue was finally resolved. I am so appreciative of my dealership, Supreme Toyota, and especially their service manager, Kudos to both. I am very disappointed in Toyota and their engineers because in 2021 they changed their seat construction/design from their new 2020 redesigned Highlander without properly testing and perfecting the seat before releasing it when the 2020 Highlander seats were fine. I am finally enjoying my Highlander and loving the comfort and 36 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway, the way I should have been enjoying it from day one. I have purchased about 50 new Toyota’s and this is a first for me. I can’t believe that Toyota’s engineering and customer service has come to this. I am very disappointed in the direction that Toyota is heading.

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