2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 34 MPG now under $40k

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Top MPG for a big family gets a price under $40k
2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid with bicycle rack

Toyota has for a long time teased the idea of making its hybrid powertrain a modestly priced option on mainstream models, on virtually the entire model line, rather than having specialized Hybrid models. And now with the upcoming 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid it’s essentially doing that.

Today Toyota revealed pricing for the 2020 Highlander Hybrid model, and with a starting price well under $40,000, the value is looking good. Including the $1,120 destination charge, that amounts to 2020 Highlander Hybrid prices ranging from $39,320 for the Hybrid FWD up to $51,320 for the top Platinum AWD.

Hybrid versions are now offered for Highlander LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum versions—essentially the entire lineup except for base L trims—and in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive versions of each.

Toyota hasn’t yet revealed mileage estimates for the Highlander Hybrid, but the number it shared on a preliminary basis at the New York Auto Show earlier this year was a good one: 34 mpg.

That’s almost certainly the best in its class—significantly better than the EPA-rated 28 mpg combined that either the rear-wheel-drive version of the 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid or the outgoing 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid can manage.

Ratings for the non-hybrid Highlander have already been posted by the EPA. It now manages EPA-combined ratings of 23 mpg (20 mpg city, 27 highway) with all-wheel drive and up to 24 mpg (21 mpg city, 29 highway) with front-wheel drive.

The new Highlander is larger and longer, but it weighs less than the outgoing model, partly because Toyota has moved it to a version of its global TNGA platform that modularizes common zones between vehicles and incorporates more advanced materials.

The Highlander Hybrid comes with a 2.5-liter inline-4 that, combined with the hybrid system’s electric motors, makes a system output of 240 horsepower. It offers Normal, Eco, and Sport modes and now allows a sequential downshift feature that increases the regenerative braking in steps—to help with the equivalent of engine braking on hills or curvy roads, for instance.

As with previous versions of the Highlander Hybrid, front-wheel-drive hybrids have a two-motor hybrid system (now with a coaxial layout to save weight and improve packaging) while all-wheel-drive versions—like the 40-mpg Toyota RAV4 Hybrid—get a separate rear-mounted motor (a third motor) to provide “over the road” hybrid functionality, powering the wheels when needed with no mechanical connection.

2020 Highlander Hybrid LE models

Highlander Hybrid LE models now include a power liftgate, LED foglamps, and a blind spot monitor, and all models come with three-zone climate control, an 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen display, a power driver’s seat, and LED headlights and taillights. The XLE adds a power passenger seat, a 7.0-inch multi-information display ahead of the driver, heated front seats, second-row Captain’s Chairs, a power moonroof, and roof rails, while the Limited adds heated and ventilated front seats, ambient interior lighting, a 120V outlet, JBL audio, embedded navigation, and more.

2020 Top Platinum Models

Top Platinum versions get a huge 12.3-inch infotainment screen, adaptive headlamps, perforated leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, a panoramic moonroof, and a digital-display rearview mirror.

The Highlander Hybrid is due at dealerships early of 2020 months.

Cargo-Ready

Thanks to a battery pack that fits under the rear seats, Toyota says that the hybridized Highlander can haul just as much stuff as the regular V-6 model.

About GreenTec Auto

GreenTec Auto is a family owned and operated business specializing in rebuilding hybrid batteries. Originally based in the Sacramento, California area since 2009, GreenTec Auto has expanded to nine shops around the United States. Combined with 35 years of general automotive experience, GreenTec Auto knows your hybrid vehicle from the end to end. For more information, visit www.greentecauto.com.

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