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2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review: Fuel Efficiency, Features, and Family-Friendly Appeal

The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid brings about a variety of updates that enhance its appeal as a family-oriented and fuel-efficient crossover. Let's dive into the details of this hybrid SUV and see how it stacks up against its competitors.

Powertrain and Performance

Under the hood of the 2023 Highlander Hybrid is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with Toyota's hybrid synergy drive system and an Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT). This combination delivers a total of 243 horsepower. While the acceleration might not be exhilarating, the hybrid powertrain offers a smooth and quiet driving experience. The Highlander Hybrid is surprisingly peppy, making it suitable for urban and highway driving.

Fuel Efficiency

One of the standout features of the Highlander Hybrid is its impressive fuel efficiency. It achieves an estimated fuel consumption of 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers (35 miles per gallon) in the city and 6.8 liters per 100 kilometers (35 miles per gallon) on the highway. This excellent fuel economy makes the Highlander Hybrid a great choice for those looking to save on gas expenses.

Interior and Features

Inside the cabin, the Highlander Hybrid offers a well-organized and spacious interior with comfortable seating. The 2023 model introduces updates such as a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen display and a digital driver display for the top trims. The lower trims feature a standard seven-inch gauge cluster. The inclusion of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a significant improvement that enhances connectivity. The cabin layout and materials provide a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience for passengers and the driver alike.

Trim Levels and Configurations

The Highlander Hybrid comes in various trim levels, starting with the base trim and going up to the Limited and Platinum trims. Notably, the Limited and Platinum trims offer an array of premium features such as ventilated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and a head-up display. However, it's worth mentioning that the top trims only come with captain's chairs for the second row, limiting the seating capacity to six passengers.

Driving Experience

The Highlander Hybrid offers a relaxed and smooth driving experience, making it well-suited for everyday commuting and family trips. Its quiet cabin and adaptable driving modes—such as EV mode for short electric-only trips—add to the comfort and convenience of the ride. The Highlander Hybrid also has a good turning radius, making it easy to maneuver in city traffic.

Competitors and Comparison

When considering alternatives to the Highlander Hybrid, it's important to note that the hybrid market for midsize three-row SUVs is still relatively small. However, models like the Kia Sorento Hybrid and Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid offer hybrid powertrains in this category. While the Toyota Highlander Hybrid excels in terms of fuel efficiency and reliability, potential buyers may also want to explore gas-powered competitors like the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, which offer larger V6 engines and spacious interiors.


The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid stands out as a strong contender in the midsize three-row hybrid SUV segment. Its excellent fuel efficiency, comfortable interior, and family-friendly features make it a solid choice for eco-conscious families. With updates to technology and connectivity features, the Highlander Hybrid remains a top option for those seeking a reliable and efficient crossover SUV.

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