The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Is a Fuel-Efficient Alternative to a Minivan

The Toyota Highlander remains one of the best options for families who want extra space, but not a minivan. And if fuel economy is among your top priorities, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is definitely worth considering. Could the Highlander Hybrid be the perfect choice for your family?

What’s it like to drive the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid driving on road in the sun
2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid | Toyota

The 2020 Highlander Hybrid comes highly recommended. This hybridized model shows that an electrified SUV can still be peppy and pleasant to drive. The Highlander Hybrid features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors. Together, these power sources generate 243-hp.

While it’s not as powerful as the nonhybrid, the Highlander Hybrid rides quickly and smoothly. It comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on the Highlander Hybrid, and you have all-wheel-drive available as an option. 

You’ll appreciate the Highlander for its smoothness, and of course, for its fuel economy. Standard models have a fuel economy rating of 36 mpg. Opting for AWD drops the rating by one notch. These scores are excellent for a midsize SUV.

Critics like U.S. News praise the Highlander Hybrid for its compact car-like fuel economy and dynamic power. The organization awarded this model as the best electrified SUV for families in 2020. Overall, U.S. News ranks the Highlander Hybrid as its #2 hybrid SUV, right after the RAV4 Hybrid

Cabin comforts 

A 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid with brown leather seats.
2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid with leather | Toyota

The Highlander is the only car Toyota redesigned for 2020. You can certainly shop for slightly older models like the 2018 version, but the 2020 Highlander Hybrid is the way to go for a more luxurious feel. Clothes upholstery is standard on the current Highlander Hybrid; available upgrades include faux leather and genuine leather. 

The Highlander Hybrid seats up to eight people. It has two complete sets of LATCH connectors on the second row for securing child car seats. There are also single tether straps in the second and third-row middle seats. 

Generally speaking, the Highlander is comfortable and spacious. But as U.S. News notes, its main drawback is that its third-row is too cramped. For this reason, the third-row is best for kids. But on a brighter note, the Highlander Hybrid offers adequate cargo space. 

Available tech

2020 Toyota Highlander infotainment center built in to the dash
2020 Toyota Highlander Interior | Toyota

Toyota Highlander Sales Are Off to a Rough Start in 2020

The Highlander Hybrid will help keep you well-connected on the road. It has a user-friendly infotainment system that’s controlled by an 8-inch touchscreen. Standard infotainment features include Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. The Highlander Hybrid also comes with HD Radio, a wifi hotspot, and Toyota’s in-car intercom, Driver Easy Speak. 

The Highlander Hybrid also delivers when it comes to advanced safety. These features include automatic emergency braking and cyclist and pedestrian detection. Other helpful gadgets like a hands-free parallel park assist function are available. 


As you can tell, the Highlander Hybrid presents many benefits. It’s efficient and loaded with modern tech. The 2020 Highlander Hybrid starts at $38,200, which is $3600 more than the nonhybrid version.