Disclosure: Drive Shop USA provided me a car for a review, no further compensation will be given.
The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the only third row hybrid crossover on the market currently. That is a win for Toyota when it comes to green cars and large families. I had the opportunity to drive the Highlander Hybrid last week while on vacation in Orlando. There were seven of us in my travel party, and overall we really liked the car. My friend who was with me said she would purchase one if she was in the market for a car.
I love to try hybrid cars, now that I had my first taste back in February. I am always amazed at the fuel economy, as in a week in Orlando hardly used any fuel going all around town. The one thing I will never get used to is how quiet they are. I always have to double-check myself. The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid did not disappoint. I am not new to SUVs, I own one myself but this cross over was comfortable and it’s affordable. Two features that are always high on my list.
The ride was smooth, almost seamless. The Highlander Hybrid comes with a regenerative braking system, which is commonly used in hybrid vehicles to help recharge the batteries. These brakes can feel a bit touchy and over-responsive if you are new to driving a hybrid, I found this out pretty quickly.
Take a look with me at the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum, it may just be your next car.
2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum Review
Exterior That Shines
The Highlander Hybrid is impressive from the start. With a sleek design and aerodynamic front fascia it stands out from the other crossover SUVs in the parking lot. Three times, over the course of a week I heard, “That’s a hybrid car!” Indeed it is, it’s a hybrid that seats seven passengers. It even has a light under the driver side door that shines “highlander” on the ground at night, we played with this for at least 10 minutes.
Comfortable and Functional Interior
Sitting inside the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, it is very thought out. We really appreciated the abundance of storage space, including a shelf built into the dash that was perfect for handheld devices and a center console that was large enough to hold my purse. The soft-leather was much like the brands high-end Lexus design. Seating in the Highlander Hybrid is comfortable and spacious in the first two rows, with power-adjustable front seats that let you find the perfect driving position and a good view of the road ahead. Both the second and third row seats slide and recline, making it easy to climb in and out of the car.
With seating for seven we found it to be comfortable for our group of five. The center row captains chairs did cause some argument because nobody wanted to get in the back seat with the luggage. The third-row seats are cramped, it’s more like a jump seat style. You really can’t fit an adult back there, let alone my teen. With a total of five USB ports the kids and adults were adequately plugged in for the trip.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The 2017 Highlander Hybrid comes with the Entune infotainment system, that was really easy to use. The touch screen is very responsive, the system can also be controlled by knobs and buttons. You can connect your phone using bluetooth and then use the touch screen or voice recognition system to play music, and make phone calls. The Highlander Hybrid’s list of standard features includes five USB ports, a 6.1-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, Siri Eyes Free, and a six-speaker audio system.
I used the navigation a few times and it was accurate and easy to understand, always a plus in my book.
With a height-adjustable power liftgate this makes loading easier. There are many little nooks and crannies within the cabin to store things but we had 10 pieces of luggage and needed truck space. We did have to put down part of the 3rd row in order to fit everything, which made my youngest daughter really cramped in the back.
For five passengers you really can’t carry a lot with you, because the 3rd row has to be fully down to take advantage of the space.
Safety Comes First
The Highlander Hybrid comes standard with a rear-view camera and Toyota Safety Sense, which includes a pre-collision system, pedestrian and vehicle detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, and adaptive cruise control. Available safety features include front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and an overhead 360-degree camera.
On crowded Orlando highways I was glad to have the blind spot monitoring, just for that extra piece of mind before changing lanes.
We are talking about a hybrid vehicle so I cannot leave this out. The fuel economy was fantastic, I was driving on both highway and city road and still had a half tank at the end of the week. The Highlander got around 29 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway. You’ll spend about $350 less in fuel costs per year by driving the hybrid instead of the gasoline-only version of the Highlander. It may not sound like a lot but it adds up for sure.
In a Nutshell
The top-of-the-line Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum seats seven people and has a $47,880 starting price. Added features include heated second-row seats, an overhead 360-degree camera, a panoramic moon roof, and front and rear parking sensors. This is a very safe and reliable crossover, that just happens to be a hybrid.