Toyota Highlander Hybrid Tops Two-Ton Towing

Toyota banks on ‘traditional’ self-charging hybrid technology with its 2021 Highlander SUV reflecting demand for long-range highway use by consumers.

It recognizes that plug-in hybrids, while popular among short distance commuters, are failing to attract the high-mileage user who realizes more fuel economies in the self-charging systems. Highlander’s hybrid powertrain and an electric cruising speed of up to 78mph claims to meet the segment’s customer needs.

Built on Toyota’s GA-K platform, Highlander has the large SUV attributes of seven seats on demand, an all-wheel drive 245bhp hybrid powertrain claiming to offer fuel economy of up to 39.7mpg (33.06mpg US) on the WLTP combined cycle rating with as little as 160g/km CO2 emissions. It also claims a maximum towing weight up to two metric tons and the longest load space in segment and load capacity of up to 1,909-liters.

Cabin features include the Highlander Excel equipment features include seven-inch TFT multi-information display in the driver’s instrument binnacle; multimedia system with a central eight-inch display, satellite navigation and smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto); wireless smartphone charger; triple-zone air conditioning; heated and ventilated front seats; heated steering wheel; power tailgate; Skyview panoramic roof, black leather seat upholstery and 11-speaker JBL Premium Sound System.

Customers choosing the Excel Premium further gain kick-activated (hands-free) tailgate operation; ventilated front seats; heated outer second row seats; digital rear-view mirror; Panoramic View Monitor and a heads-up display. European on-the-road prices are £50,595 ($70,079) for the Highlander Excel and £52,575 ($72,822) for the Excel Premium.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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