2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV

Rating8.5

Ranked #5 in Midsize Suv

Write A Review
Starting MSRP 

$38,410 - $50,315

Loading...
Key Spec of 2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV
fuel economy

-

fuel type

Regular unleaded

horsepower

243 hp @ 6000 rpm

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: December 28, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has climbed up the list of top hybrid SUVs. With its reliability and performance, it became one of the best-selling SUVs in its segment. The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid belongs to the fourth-generation Highlander which came in 2020. It now sits on the GA-K platform. It has muscular yet sporty styling, the cabin is filled with good quality material and safety ratings.

2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Latest Updates

  • Dec' 21, 2021 : 2022 Toyota Highlander Starts At A MSRP of $35,205; Adds Hybrid Bronze Edition Read More »
  • Oct' 16, 2021 : Updated 2022 Toyota Highlander Launched With A New Hybrid-Only Bronze Edition Read More »

ProsConsWhat's New

Spacious cabin

Bit overpriced

No major updates for 2021

A good number of standard safety features

Cramped third row

Low fuel consumption 

Not as fun to drive as the RAV4

Over All Rating

8.5

Out of 10

Pricing and Features8.00
Engine and Performance7.90
Fuel Economy7.80
Interior8.40
Exterior8.40
Safety9.40
Competition8.00
Notable Rankings

#5 in Midsize Suv

#6 in Suv


Pictures & Videos


Trims

LE$38,410 onwards

  • 8-Inch touchscreen
  • Keyless entry
  • Led headlights
  • Power liftgate
  • Six-Speaker stereo
  • Three-Zone climate control

XLE$41,210 onwards

  • Adjustable lumbar on driver's seat
  • Auto-Dimming rearview mirror
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Roof rails
  • Sunroof
  • Wireless phone charger

Limited$45,165 onwards

  • 11-Speaker audio system
  • Hands-Free liftgate
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Leather upholstery
  • Parking sensors

Platinum$48,365 onwards

  • 12.3-inch touchscreen
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Automatic wipers
  • Digital rearview mirror
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Panoramic sunroof


Colors and Styles

2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV in blizzard pearl color
blizzard pearl

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a starting price of $38,735 which climbs up to $50,640. It is offered in four trim levels with a powerful hybrid powertrain and an optional AWD. The 2021 Toyota Highlander is facing the dazzling Kia Sorento Hybrid, the hunky Ford Explorer Hybrid, and the classy Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid.

2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV front view
2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV rear view

Features

The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is available in 4 trim levels. The base LE trim comes with 18-inch painted alloys, projector LED headlamps, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen display. The XLE trim adds roof rails, heated front seats, and a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. We have a limited trim which has 20-inch chrome wheels, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, JBL premium audio system, Seat memory function, and ambient interior lighting. The top-end Platinum trim has 20-inch alloy wheels, Bird’s eye view camera, and a heads-up display, and a power panoramic sunroof with tilt and sliding feature. 

Trims 

LE

XLE

Limited

Platinum

MSRP (FWD)

$38,735

$41,535

$45,490

$48,690

MSRP (AWD)

$40,335

$43,135

$47,440

$50,640

Key Features

18-inch painted alloy wheels

18-inch machine-finished alloys

20-inch Limited composite alloys

20-inch Platinum alloys

 

Rear spoiler 

Power tilt and slide moonroof

Heated leather steering wheel

Panoramic sunroof

 

Fog lights

Roof rails

11-speaker JBL sound system

12.3-inch touchscreen

 

8-way power driver seat

Heated front seats

Leather upholstery

Heated second-row seats

 

8-inch touchscreen

Wireless charging 

   
 

6-speaker sound system

     
 

Blind-spot monitoring 

     
 

Toyota Safety Sense

     

Which Trim should you buy?

You should go for the XLE trim as it offers various features in addition to the LE trim. You also get optional features such as predictive fuel-efficient drive, premium audio with dynamic navigation, and seating for eight with a second-row bench seat and 60/40 split/fold seat. It is offered at $41,535 with FWD. With an AWD drivetrain, it costs $43,135.

Engine and Performance
7.9/10

The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter inline hybrid engine. It has a standard power output of 186 hp with 175 lb-ft torque with a front-wheel drivetrain. The powertrain has two Permanent magnet synchronous motors in FWD and three motors in the AWD variant. With this setup, you have a total power output of 243 hp.

2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV engine bay

The engine is mated to an electronic continuously variable transmission. There's an optional full-time AWD drivetrain as well. When equipped with towing equipment, the Highlander Hybrid can tow up to 3,500 pounds. It takes 7.3 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill and 16.6 seconds to cover a quarter-mile distance.

Models

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE 

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

2021 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SEL

MSRP

$38,735

$36,590

$49,855

$37,600

Engine

2.5-liter inline-4 hybrid

1.6-liter turbo inline-4 hybrid

3.3-liter V6 hybrid

1.6-liter turbo inline-4 hybrid

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

RWD

AWD

Transmission

CVT

6-speed automatic transmission

10-speed automatic

6-speed automatic transmission

Power

243hp @ 6000 RPM

227 hp@ NA

318hp @ 6500 RPM

226hp @ 5500 RPM

Torque

175lb-ft @ 4400 RPM

258 lb-ft @ NA

322lb-ft @ 2500 RPM

195lb-ft @ 1,600 RPM

0-60 MPH (seconds)

7.3

7.2

6.8

7.5

Quarter mile (seconds

16.0

17.1

16.2

15.7

Top Speed (MPH)

118

123

122

116

The Highlander Hybrid is more powerful than some rivals but the Explorer tops the charts with 318 322 outputs 318 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque. With this output, the rival from the Ford does 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds. Meanwhile, the slowest of the bunch is the Santa Fe Hybrid which goes up to 60 mph from 0 mph 0.7 seconds later than the Explorer Hybrid. That said, the Sorento Hybrid accelerates from 0-60mph in 0.4 seconds as compared to the fastest SUV in the competition.

How well does the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid handle?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid won't disappoint you with its handling and performance. The refined hybrid powertrain gives you a composed ride quality and comfort. It has an independent MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension. 

2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV handling

The electronic stability control is paired with the anti-roll bars to give the Highlander a balanced ride even at high speeds. When it comes to maneuverability, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has electric power-assist steering that makes it feel lighter in traffic.

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Braking Performance

SUVs need extensive braking to stop quickly and safely without losing track. That's why the 2021 Highlander Hybrid has 4 wheel regenerative disc brakes with front disc ventilation, ABS, and brake assistance. You have 13.3-inch brake rotors both at the front and the back for proper braking. It allows the Toyota Highlander to stop from 60 mph in 119 feet of distance. This is an impressive braking distance for a 4,330 pound SUV.

Models

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE 

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

2021 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid Limited

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SEL

Brake rotors: Front (inches)

13.3

12.8

NA

NA

Brake rotors: Rear (inches)

13.3

12.0

NA

12.0

Curb weight (lbs)

4,330

3,999

4,969

4,180

60-0 MPH (feet)

119

120

125

NA

The Toyota Highlander has the biggest rear brakes while the smallest ones are offered on opponents from the Kia and the Hyundai. The heaviest of all is the Ford Explorer which comes to halt from 60 mph over 125 feet. The lightest one is the Hyundai Santa Fe and it has the same rear rotor size as the Kia Sorento.

Fuel Economy
7.8/10

With its hybrid 4 cylinder powertrain, the 2021 Highlander Hybrid has great fuel mileage. As it shifts to electric at low speeds. In the city, you get 36 mpg, on the highway, it gives 35 mpg while the combined figure is 36 mpg. With its 17.1 gallon tank, the Highlander Hybrid gives a highway range of 599 miles while you get 616 miles of range in the city. 

Models

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE 

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

2021 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid Limited

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SEL

MPG City

36

39

27

33

MPG Highway

35

35

28

30

MPG Combined

36

37

27

32

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

17.1

17.7

17.9

17.7

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

616/599/616

690/620/655

486/504/483

584/531/566

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a consistent SUV in terms of fuel economy. It offers similar city and combined mileage The Kia Sorento Hybrid is one step ahead of it with 39 mpg in the city. All other rivals stand behind the Highlander with their low fuel economy. Both Santa Fe and Sorento offer bigger fuel tanks thus low fuel economy offers lower mileage as compared to the Highlander Hybrid.

Interior
8.4/10

The fourth-generation Toyota Highlander has a seating capacity of 8 people inside. Toyota has enhanced the comfort levels and quality standards. You have amazing outward visibility and lighting in the cabin as well. Now you have leather and metal-look accents that highlight the interior. The dashboard has soft-touch material. The faux wood door trim gives the Limited trim. Cloth seats are standard and can be upgraded to SofTex upholstery or leather upholstery on highway trims. The steering wheel and gear shifter handle are also covered in leather. 

2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV cockpit area

The base LE trim comes with an 8-way power driver and 4-way power passenger seats. The XLE trim gets a 10-way power driver seat with lumbar support and the front seats are heated. Front seats get ventilation on the topmost trim which also adds Heated second-row captain’s chairs which limits the passenger up to 7. Both second and third rows can split into a 60/40 pattern. For your convenience, you have three-zone air-conditioning, manual tilt, and telescopic steering, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a smart key system with push-button start, six tie-down cargo hooks, two 12V outlets, and a day/night rearview mirror.

2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV front seats

Models

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE 

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

2021 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid Limited

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SEL

Seating capacity

8

6

6

5

Front row (Head/Shoulder/Leg, in inches)

41.2/59.0/42.0

40.3/59.0/41.4

40.7/61.8/43.0

39.5/59.1/44.1

Second row (Head/Shoulder/Leg, in inches)

39.4/58.7/41.0

39.1/58.1/41.7

40.5/61.9/39.0

37.8/58.3/40.8

Third row (Head/Shoulder/Leg, in inches)

36.1/55.0/27.7

36.8/53.0/29.6

38.9/54.6/32.2

N/A

Cargo capacity (cubic feet)

16.0

12.6

18.2

36.4

If we talk about the seats, the Highlander has leading front-row headroom. On the other hand, the Sorento has leading second-row legroom. A rival from the Ford has the most generous shoulder room in all three rows. Furthermore, the Santa Fe is the only SUV in the competition which does not have a third row which results in a standard cargo capacity of 36.4 cu-ft. It might seem a lot compared to the Highlander and other SUVs but their cargo capacity can be increased by folding the third row. Some of the key interior features are:

  • Fabric cloth upholstery
  • Heated front seats
  • Tri-zone air-conditioning
  • Leather heated steering wheel
  • Keyless entry and push-button start
  • Auto-dimming rearview monitor
  • Integrated backup camera with projected path

What's there to keep you entertained?

Inside the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, we have the Toyota Audio plus infotainment which has an 8.0-inch touchscreen display and optional Dynamic Navigation system on the XLE trim. Standard features on the base Highlander Hybrid offers are Bluetooth, Wifi, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa in-car compatibility, SiriusXM, 4 USB charging ports, and one media USB port. 

The 6-speaker sound system is standard which can be upgraded to the premium sound system while keeping the speaker the same. Moreover, a 12.3-inch touchscreen and 11-speaker JBL sound system are optional on Limited but standard on the topmost trim. There is also a 4.2-inch MID screen in the gauge cluster for vehicle information. Highlight Infotainment features in the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid are:

  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • 6-speaker sound system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android auto
  • Amazon Alexa in-car compatibility
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • Dynamic navigation system
  • 12.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen (optional)
Exterior
8.4/10

The Toyota Highlander has a rugged and capable design. The reworked body lines resemble the all-new RAV4. It looks more muscular than ever with its off-roader SUV stance. The front fascia adds character to the Highlander hybrid with the signature hexagonal black grille with chrome surround accents. The credit to its sharp appearance goes to the directionally adaptive LED headlights with DRLs. The bumper is designed with a black air intake and silver skid plate along with LED fog lights. 

2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV

On top, a toughened roof with silver finish roof rails ready to haul some weight. The side profile gets bolder when the door lines climb the rear wheel arches. The boomerang LED tail lights are much bigger and sleeker. The roof ends with a shark fin antenna where a huge rear window spoiler comes into the picture. A silver-trimmed rear bumper at the back and Toyota has hidden the exhaust somewhere below to promote its hybrid SUV profile. Standard 18-inch painted alloy wheels and power heated outside mirrors are standard. 

Models

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE 

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

2021 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid Limited

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SEL

Curb weight (lbs)

4,330

3,999

4,969

4,180

Length (inches)

194.9

189.4

198.8

188.4

Width (inches)

76.0

74.8

78.9

74.8

Height (inches)

68.1

56.9

69.9

67.3

Ground clearance (inches)

8.0

6.9

7.9

8.2

Wheelbase (inches)

112.2

110.8

119.1

108.9

Even with such huge dimensions, the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid isn't as big as the Ford Explorer. It is comparatively wider and taller. Coming to rivals, the Hyundai Santa Fe has the highest ground clearance but it has the shortest wheelbase which explains the less number of seating. That said, in terms of height the Kia Sorento is the shortest. Highlight exterior features in the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid include:

  • Adaptive LED headlamps with DRLs
  • Rear window spoiler
  • 18-inch silver-painted wheels
  • Power panoramic sunroof with tilt and sliding feature
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • High-output LED fog lights
  • Power liftgate 
Safety
9.4/10

Toyota has simplified its production techniques with the new GA-K platform. This platform was introduced with the fourth generation Highlander. The unibody structure is designed with high-strength steel which makes it both balanced and rigid. The NHTSA has given it an overall 5-Stars safety rating. As for the IIHS, the hybrid version has not been tested. But there is no major difference between the normal Highlander and the Hybrid one. Hence, the ‘Good’ ratings and ‘top safety pick+’ award from the IIHS are also applicable to the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. 

Other than the Star safety system and 8 standard airbags, the Highlander hybrid is all packed with advanced safety features. It is equipped with the Toyota safety sense 2.5+ which offers a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, dynamic radar cruise control, road sign assist, and lane tracing assist. A rear cross-traffic alert and a blind-spot monitor are also given as standard on all trim whereas the front and rear parking assist with automatic braking is reserved for the Platinum trim. Standout safety features in the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid include:

  • Radar cruise control
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane departure warning with lane tace assist
  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
  • Front and rear parking assist with automatic braking
  • Hill-start assist
  • Anti-theft system with alarm and engine immobilizer
Competition
8.0/10

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid

The Kia Sorento Hybrid is the toughest rival of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The Sorento is more efficient and less heavy, it has smaller cargo space and it lacks ground clearance as compared to the Highlander. It might have slightly less net horsepower but the same can’t be said about the net torque. With all these perks, the Kia Sorento Hybrid provides more value for money.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs 2021 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

Ford has introduced Explorer with an optional hybrid powertrain. The Highlander Hybrid has been around for a long time with its exceptional quality, raw design, and power-packed motor. Ford has better performance but it has higher fuel consumption and seating capacity as compared to the Toyota.

2021 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

 

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is limited to 5 person seating. It offers a nimble ride and a good deal of comfort. On the other hand, the Highlander makes way for up to 8 passengers and outputs better performance. The Santa Fe Hybrid offers a higher trim for a lesser price as compared to the base trim of the Highlander. But the Toyota Highlander Hybrid makes more sense given all of its positive aspects.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

 

Final Verdict

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid costs are slightly higher than the rivals as it offers a number of optional and standard features for safety and convenience. The hybrid 4 cylinder has impressive ride quality and the fuel economy is praiseworthy. It is practical and full of tech which makes it the best choice against rivals. 

Features

vehicle bio
base price

$45165

body style

4dr SUV

engine type
displacement

152 cu in

horse power

192 hp @ 5500 rpm

torque

192 lb.-ft. @ 1600 rpm

transmission

CVT

dimensions
length

194.9 in

wheelbase

112.2 in

width

76 in

curb weight

4430 lbs

Height

68.1 in

Ground Clearance

8 lbs

capacity
passenger volume

139.1 cu ft

cargo volume

84.3 cu ft

passenger capacity

5 Seats

fuel economy
city/combined/highway

36/36/35 mpg

highway range

598.5 mi

warranty
basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.


Top Cars

Similar Cars

2021 Lexus RX 450h hybrid
2021 Lexus RX 450h hybrid

MSRP: $47,720- $51,530

8.3/10

Latest Highlander Stories/Updates