Forget the Acura MDX Hybrid and Go for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid

You could say that the 2020 MDX Sport Hybrid is a good luxury SUV. But it’s not great. Its predicted reliability rating is below average and its cabin is subpar. One of the more obvious and impressive alternatives to the Sport Hybrid would be the Lexus RX Hybrid.  Another great hybrid SUV to consider over the Sport Hybrid would actually be the nonluxury 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

The Highlander has a nicer cabin than the Sport Hybrid

Toyota did a full redesign of the Highlander Hybrid for 2020. It’s bolder and sleeker on the outside and it’s more upscale on the side. The Highlander Hybrid’s interior is surprisingly plush and spacious, even for adults. It can seat up to eight while the Sport Hybrid seats up to seven. Still, the Highlander Hybrid’s third-row is best left for kids.

The Highlander Hybrid comes with cloth upholstery but you can upgrade to faux leather or genuine leather if you would like. Additional upgrades include a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and heated second-row seats. We’ll touch on the in-car electrics a bit later.

The Highlander is more fuel-efficient than the Sport Hybrid

The Highlander Hybrid gets its power from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, battery pack, and two electric motors. Together, these power sources generate a 243-horsepower. The Highlander Hybrid feels peppy and smooth, plus it handles dips in the road well.

More power is available on the Sport Hybrid compared to the Highlander Hybrid. However, the Sport Hybrid’s transmission doesn’t feel as smooth. The Highlander Hybrid is also more fuel-efficient than the Sport Hybrid and gets a combined 35 mpg. Front-wheel drive comes standard on the Highlander Hybrid but all-wheel-drive is available.


Both the Sport Hybrid and the Highlander Hybrid come packed with desirable infotainment features. The Highlander Hybrids are easier to use though. Standard infotainment features on the Highlander Hybrid include an 8-inch touchscreen, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay,  Android Auto, Bluetooth, and a wifi hotspot. You can also upgrade to a 12.3-inch touch screen and wireless device charging.

Advanced safety

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The Highlander Hybrid comes with more advanced safety features than the Sport Hybrid. Advanced safety features on the Highlander Hybrid include forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, cyclist and pedestrian detection, and lane-keep assist.

At this time, the Highlander Hybrid hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, the SUV has been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS named the Highlander Hybrid as a Top Safety Pick which is an award that’s only given to vehicles with certain headlights. 

Overall reliability

The Highlander Hybrid has a far better-predicted reliability rating than the Sport Hybrid. Both J.D. Power and Consumer Reports gave the Highlander Hybrid high marks because of its durability and predicted owner satisfaction. Owners of the Highlander Hybrid are most satisfied with the SUVs overall driving experience and value.


The Sport Hybrid starts at $53,000 while Highlander Hybrid starts at $38,200. If you get the fully loaded Highlander Hybrid Limited trim, you would pay around $46,170. Because of the available options and customizations, the Highlander Hybrid is simply the better buy.