Specifications of Toyota Highlander Hybrid IV 2.5 (243 HP) Hybrid Automatic
General characteristics of Toyota Highlander Hybrid IV 2.5 (243 HP) Hybrid Automatic
Beneath the hood of the Highlander Hybrid SUV is a 243-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine that's been hybridized with a single electric motor. Power is modulated via a continuously variable automatic transmission and can be ceded through to either a front- or all-wheel drivetrain, depending on which you choose. With this powertrain, the Highlander Hybrid feels judiciously powered, particularly with driving around town, thanks to the engine's low-down torque delivery.
Toyota has installed a new engine on its 2020 Highlander Hybrid, reducing power in favor of enhanced fuel economy, the complete opposite approach of the similar Ford Explorer. Under the hood of the Toyota is a 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor to deliver a combined 243 horsepower, also enabling a run from 0 to 60 mph in around 7.2 seconds, according to independent tests. This power is regulated by a continuously variable transmission and directed to either the front or all four wheels, depending on the drivetrain you choose. Although the hybrid has lost 63 hp during its evolution, it doesn't feel underpowered on the road, at least not in everyday driving. Manic top speeds are also not what this high-rider was built for. There is plenty of low-end torque to get you around town in a brisk manner. However, it does run out of breath on steady inclines, and the power tapers off when accelerating on the highway.
While the Highlander may not be the most fun to drive, it will certainly provide a thrill when you do your gas expenses at the end of the month. Even the standard gasoline SUV boasts class-leading fuel economy, so it's no surprise that the hybrid does the same. The new four-cylinder engine may cut back on power, but the increased efficiency is well worth it, with the hybrid models boasting an expected combined mileage of 36 mpg. By comparison, the newly released Ford Explorer only gets 28 mpg across the combined cycle in its most efficient guise. If the Highlander Hybrid gets the same 17.9-gallon fuel tank as the gasoline model, it will be able to cover up to 608 miles between gas station visits.
Unlike many rival hybrids, the Highlander doesn't sacrifice trunk space for its economical drivetrain, storing the battery pack more smartly. As such, the SUV offers 16 cubic feet of trunk space behind the third row of seats. While it is by no means class-leading capacity, it is still quite impressive for a hybrid. The third-row seats can be folded flat in a 60/40 split, with a little finagling of the manual lever, to open up 48.4 cubic feet of space. The second-row seats can also be folded down in a 60/40 split to offer a total area of 84.3 cubic feet when hauling large items. Even the standard trunk should suffice for everyday errands, easily swallowing up ten grocery bags or a couple of large suitcases.
Around the cabin, there are plenty of creative spaces available for small-item storage. Up front, there is a standard glove compartment and a pretty large center armrest cubicle. Within the dash, there are two cubbies provided, though their practicality is questionable. Eight cupholders are supplied around the cabin, and the front and second-row passengers can use the ample door pockets.