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The results about which Toyota Highlander model is the best option to buy are in. Competition is steep, especially with the addition of the new turbocharged inline-four engine. However, only one powertrain option can take the crown, and it’s the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the best model 

A blue 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid midsize hybrid SUV is parked.
The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid | Toyota

According to Auto Blog, the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid model is the best version of this SUV that you can buy. The new gas-powered engine can’t hold a candle to its efficiency and high level of refinement. 

The new turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine cranks out 265 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. It has 30 fewer horses but an increase of 1 percent more torque over the outgoing V6 engine. With this unit, the Highlander can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 7.3 seconds. 

Toyota shared that this engine should improve the fuel economy by about one mile per gallon. It should get an estimated 22 mpg in the city and up to 29 mpg on the highway. However, the engine is louder, clunky, rough, and weak compared to rivals. 

The Highlander Hybrid uses the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors to crank out 243 hp. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 7.2 seconds. It could get an estimated 36 mpg in the city and up to 35 mph on the highway. 

The hybrid setup provides a peppier acceleration, smoother transmission shifts, and a quieter performance. It’s a little more athletic and relaxing to drive. 

Does the Highlander Hybrid have better features? 

Aside from a sportier performance, more comfortable experience, and fuel savings, the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid isn’t much different from the gas-powered models. Both options start with a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen that can be upgraded to a 12.3-inches. 

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard too. The system can be paired with a 12-speaker JBL premium audio system. 

While a 7.0-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, the Limited and Platinum trims get a new 12.3-inch display with four themes and customizable features. Also, XLE models gained a hands-free power liftgate. 

Both the gas-powered and hybrid options have an above-average interior quality. It’s crafted with upscale materials such as wood trim, genuine leather upholstery, and SofTex vinyl. Silver accents and two-tone color schemes provide an attractive space. 

How much does the 2023 Highlander Hybrid cost?

2023 Toyota Highlander new turbo engine
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

Less Power Actually Helps the 2023 Toyota Highlander

The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid price starts at $40,220. The gas-powered models begin at around $36,420. So, this represents a $3,800 increase. Also, adding all-wheel drive could increase the price by about $1,600. 

However, the fuel savings could make up for the price difference. Also, AWD is available for hybrid and gas-powered models. 

Standard models come with various goodies such as tri-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, push-button start, a Wifi hotspot, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, frontal collision mitigation, and automatic high beams. It creates a nice bargain. 

Moving up in trim levels provides access to a wireless charging pad, hands-free liftgate, ambient lighting, panoramic sunroof, ventilated seats, a head-up display, parking sensors, and a 360-degree surround-view camera. 

Both the hybrid and gas powertrain options make the Highlander a great SUV. However, the hybrid setup provides a smoother ride, a little more engagement, and more fuel savings.