Review and Test Drive: 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE

By Jonathan Spira on 3 March 2019
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First announced at the 2000 New York International Auto Show, the Toyota Highlander was one of the first car-based SUV crossovers and the hybrid version was the first seven-seat hybrid vehicle on the market.

Now in it third generation, the Toyota Highlander continues to offer a hybrid powerplant in an all-wheel drive configuration with a 3.5-liter V6 paired to an eCVT transmission.

The Highlander received a mid-life refresh for the 2017 model year which included an updated and more modern fascia and restyled headlights and taillights. The non-hybrid variant got a revised V6 engine with Toyota’s D4-S direct injection fuel system.


Today, the Highlander Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient three-row crossover on the market, making it worth a look despite plans for an all-new model in 2020. A three-row crossover is generally a better looking and better handling option than a minivan and the Highlander has proven itself to be quite durable over the past two decades.

Our Shoreline Blue Pearl Highlander Hybrid XLE, assembled in Princeton, Indiana, arrived on a cold, wintry day, perfect to test out the SUV’s capabilities in wintry weather.  The XLE is a mid-range edition, above the base LE but below the Limited and Limited Platinum, putting it at an affordable and quite reasonable price point.


The Highlander Hybrid XLE is well-equipped with leather seats, keyless start, the Entune premium-audio system, and all of Toyota’s Safety Sense driver-assistance technology. To get the third row, you’d have to go up to the Limited, which adds $3,500 to the base price.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the 2019 Toyota Highlander

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