2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review: Loaded With Efficient Value
2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid review
- 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid $39,995 – $49,510
- Best Overall Value – IntelliChoice
- Pros: Comfortable, tons of standard features, fuel-saving
- Cons: Tiny third row, loud engine noise, could be more athletic
The 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid shines as a practical and efficient family SUV with a long list of standard features. Just make sure the tiniest kids or the pets are put in the snug third row because adults won’t fit.
But that’s one of the only drawbacks to consider. It has a smooth ride, spacious first and second-row seats, and peppy acceleration. The interior has a high-quality build, and the tech is intuitive.
It may not be as athletic as the Ford Explorer or Mazda CX-9, but it makes up the difference with a sense of refinement, convenience, and savings. Plus, the hybrid model can be equipped with all-wheel drive.
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: What’s new?
The 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid gained the unique Bronze Edition that adds some attractive flare and a few trim-level upgrades. For example, the XLE trim gained a power-adjustable driver’s seat.
Not much changed for the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, either. Higher trim levels got a standard 12.3-inch infotainment screen, while the top trims got a digital gauge cluster and power folding mirrors. The XLE trim got a power liftgate too.
Which Toyota Highlander Hybrid trim is best?
There are five Toyota Highlander Hybrid trims:
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE – $39,555
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE – $42,555
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition – $44,850
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited – $46,510
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum – $49,510
The 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE trim adds plenty of comfort and convenience features at a reasonable price. Upgrading to the XLE model provides a sunroof, roof rails, heated front seats, simulated leather upholstery, an eight-way power adjustable passenger seat, adjustable lumbar support, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a wireless phone charging pad, a 7-inch digital cluster display, and sun shades in the rear.
But if you want a little more luxury, higher models include ambient interior lighting, built-in navigation, a panoramic sunroof, 10-inch head-up display, a 360-degree surround-view camera system, and ventilated seats.
How does the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Drive?
The 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s paired with two electric motors to generate 243 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 7.3 seconds.
It has an average acceleration for the class that’s perfect for passing others on the highway and merging into traffic. The Highlander Hybrid delivers instant torque, allowing you to get off the line quickly.
The continuous variable automatic transmission shifts smoothly, and the brakes are confident. The Highlander Hybrid feels surprisingly well-composed around curves, but it’s also a bit hefty. We wouldn’t say it lumbers through turns, but the steering could be more responsive.
It has a smooth ride that glides over impacts without feeling floaty. But we would appreciate a little more grip and a sense of connection to the road. While it’s comfortable and efficient, it could be sportier.
The Highlander Hybrid feels slightly larger than it is and could be more agile. It features an 18.7-foot turning radius, though.
There are five driving modes:
- Sport Mode – This provides faster response times for a quicker acceleration. The brakes are a bit soft in this mode, but it’s the most entertaining one.
- Normal Mode – This mode is perfect for relaxed driving after a long work day. The brakes are confident, and the acceleration isn’t as aggressive.
- Eco Mode – This mode has the slowest response times and the squishiest rakes to return more energy for the best fuel economy.
- EV Mode – Allows you to use electric power at low speeds for a short period of time.
- Trail Mode – limits your speed and adjusts the torque for more control while off-roading.
Can the Toyota Highlander Hybrid go off-roading?
We think the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has the potential to become a respectable family off-roader. It does feature an 8.0-inch ground clearance, but a little extra height would add confidence for clearing obstacles.
The electric on-demand all-wheel drive system provides all-weather capability and confidence. The 2022 Highlander Hybrid is probably a beast in the snow as a dedicated electric motor sends power to the rear wheels to enhance traction as needed.
While the gas-powered model has more off-roading modes for mud, sand, snow, rock, and dirt, the Hybrid only has a single Trail Mode. We’re currently daydreaming about a model with a factory-installed lift and beefier tires.
The Highlander Hybrid was surprisingly stable and capable in thick mud and slippery conditions. It had plenty of torque for ruts and sleep inclines in wet conditions. The Highlander didn’t slip or slide once off-road. But we didn’t push it over obstacles or beyond moderate trails.
Does the 2022 Highlander Hybrid have a good fuel economy?
The 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 36 mpg in the city and up to 35 mpg on the highway. We drove on the interstate, in crowded downtown areas, and on long, twisting country backroads but never did better than about 32.6 mpg.
But our model was equipped with AWD, which can reduce the fuel economy by about one or two miles per gallon. You can travel between 516 to 616 miles between fill-ups, which is very convenient.
Is the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comfortable?
Yes, the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is extremely comfortable. The TNGA-K platform provides a smooth ride, and the strength of the framework enhances handling.
The independent MacPherson front strut suspension with a stabilizer bar and trailing wishbone setup absorb impacts with ease. The Highlander feels composed and absorbs impacts with ease. It’s noticeably smooth on gravel and first roads too.
Plus, the sound-dampening and soundproofing materials do an excellent job of keeping wind and road noise outside of the cabin. However, you will notice a loud engine wheeze upon accelerating.
The front seats are well-padded and supportive, and the second row offers plenty of space. The climate control system is fast and effective. Also, the heated seats are excellent during cold winter mornings.
Is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid interior nice?
Yes, the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid interior is crafted with high-quality and near-luxury materials. The plush leather upholstery stands out with multiple shades of contrasting grays, blacks, and browns.
The steering wheel, dash, and center console are wrapped in soft-touch materials for an upscale, premium feeling. The layout is convenient, and everything you need is within reach. Plus, chrome or bronze accents help things pop without seeming too busy.
We would like to see how the panoramic sunroof compares to the standard one. It’s a bit small. Outward visibility is great, thanks to small c-pillars and a massive windshield. However, rear visibility is limited. The parking sensors come in handy while backing up.
The optional captain’s chairs in the second row provide easy access to the third row. They slide forward pretty far. But the third row can be tricky for adults to fit. The rear hatch is wide with a low liftover height.
Does the 2022 Toyota Highlander have good tech?
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid doesn’t seem to have the most cutting-edge features, but the tech works quickly, and it’s easy to figure out. The 8.0-inch touchscreen has attractive graphics and intuitive menus. You can opt for the 12.3-inch screen.
The optional wireless phone charging pad is in an inconvenient spot on a sliding tray above the center console. You have to lift a lid to access it. Then you have to move your phone to get something out of the bin.
We found that the voice recognition software is very responsive, and the built-in navigation system is convenient. The digital rearview mirror can make things seem much closer than they actually are.
Our model didn’t have the 10.0-inch head-up display or 360-degree parking system. But we would love to know how well these feature work. Also, the 11-speaker JBL audio system is excellent. If only wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were available.
How much cargo space does the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid have?
The 2022 Highlander Hybrid provides 16.0 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, up to 48.4 cubes behind the second row, and 84.3 cubes overall. Space behind the third row is limited, but there’s above-average room behind the second row.
We’re impressed by the number of storage cubbies and rays available. Small-item storage is where the Highlander Hybrid shines. The center console is abundant are the storage trays around the center stack are incredibly practical.
You can fold the seats flat to create a level load floor. If you need more space, the Highlander Hybrid can tow up to 3,500 lbs and carry a payload of up to 1,630 lbs.
How safe is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid?
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a Top Safety Pick+. It earned a ‘Good” rating in almost every single crash simulation, which is the highest score possible.
It received one ‘Marginal’ rating for its ability to protect the driver’s pelvis during a side impact. But it has an excellent roof and frame strength with a low rollover risk.
The Highlander Hybrid got a ‘Superior’ rating with the ability to avoid collisions at speeds of 12 and 25 mph. During the 37 mph test, the Highlander Hybrid reduced its speed by 24 mph, and a warning was issued 1.6 seconds before impact.
The seatbelt reminders got a marginal rating because it doesn’t chime loud enough and lasts under 30 seconds. The child seat anchors got an excellent rating for being easy to find and attach.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid standard safety features include:
- Lane-keeping assistance
- Adaptive cruise control
- Forward collision mitigation
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Road sign assist
- Automatic high beams
How reliable is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid?
The 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a reliability ranking of 82 out of 100 from J.D.Power, which is good. Anything between 91 to 100 is considered to be the best, while scores between 81 to 90 are above average.
If you drive conservatively and take proper care, then your Toyota Highlander Hybrid can make it past 300,000 miles. It should provide about 20 years of service on the road. It’s the longest-lasting hybrid SUV.
The average annual maintenance cost for the Highlander Hybrid is about $489. This is a good deal, considering that the average SUV costs about $650 to maintain yearly. Expenses include normal wear and tear and expected repairs.
MotorBiscuit awards the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid with a score of 8.1 out of 10
The experts at MotorBiscuit have awarded the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid with a score of 8.1 out of 10. While it’s a comfortable family SUV, the third row is extremely limited and cuts into cargo space.
The Highlander Hybrid has a high-quality cabin with a quiet and relaxing ride, but the engine noise is pretty intrusive. While this SUV has plenty of pep, it’s not exactly athletic or engaging. But it’s surprisingly well-equipped for adventuring off the pavement.
Also, the Highlander Hybrid is safe, reliable, and has tons of standard features to help offset the high entry-level price. Plus, it provides savings at the pump. It’s a well-rounded option, but it seems like something is missing.
It needs a little more attitude and engagement to attract more drivers. We hope to see how the gas-powered Highlander and the 2023 models compare soon.