2010 Toyota Highlander is Full-Hybrid Sport Utility Vehicle

November 28, 2009/Steve Tackett

MOTOR MATTERS GET OFF THE ROAD BY DAN LYONS

A “full-hybrid vehicle is at its best when things are at their worst. In bumper-to-bumper driving, a full hybrid runs on electric power, getting maximum go when things are slow. If you need to build speed, the gas engine chimes in.
The 2010 Highlander is one of three Toyota hybrid models. This is a full hybrid, able to run exclusively on either gasoline or electric motors, or a combination of the two.
The 3.3-liter V-6 combines with a trio of electric motors (one drives the front wheels, one drives the rear wheels, one powers other functions), to propel the hybrid, all connected by a Continuously Variable Transmission. The system is well integrated and the switches between power sources are seamless.
According to EPA estimates, you can expect to get 27 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar daThat’s about 30 percent higher than the conventional, V-6 Highlander. My test drive netted 25 mpg overall in mixed driving, which is a number not normally seen in a Sport Utility Vehicle this size weighing in with a base curb weight of over 4,500 pounds.
One of the interesting new facets about driving a hybrid is an owner’s zeal in the pursuit of achieving the highest fuel mileage. It has almost become a sport, particularly if the hybrid has a good visual graphic “scoreboard,” such as tree leaves that tally the economy of the fuel mileage.
I tend to drive like there’s an egg under the accelerator, gently easing on the gas as I go from standing stop. This reinforces the very behavior that will lead to maximum mileage, so the whole process feeds on itself. Having said that, there are times and places when you just have to have giddy-up, like when you’re trying to merge with traffic, and the openings are small, being “green” is less important than being gone — and out of harm’s way. The 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s gas and electric power combine for 270 horsepower, enough for quick acceleration when you need it.
The 2010 Highlander Hybrid starts at $34,700 and is offered in a Limited model priced at $41,020. Both hybrid models are outfitted with all-wheel drive, though not intended for off-roading. The 4WD-i system electronically varies the front/rear torque output in response to driving conditions, and is suited to all-weather driving, rather than all-terrain use.
The Highlander has a long wheelbase (109. 8 inches) and a comfortable, trip-worthy ride.pibus leo.

Highlander Hybrid profile

The Highlander Hybrid can be equipped to tow as much as 3,500 pounds. The 2010 model is furnished with a Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system. VDIM is designed to enhance traction, handling and braking by integrating the various, standard dynamic control systems (stability control, traction control, ABS).
Three-row seating is standard, though buyers can opt to have just two rows. Adults fit easily in the first and second rows, (row two has over 4 inches of travel and the seats recline), but the back row is more kid-sized, and if you use it for passengers, you leave just 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind. That number improves to a generous 42.2 cu.-ft. with the third row folded flat.
Cargo access is by means of a top hinged hatch door (power, on Limited models). Controls are easy to reach and easy to figure out. My main complaint about the interior is the plastics used on the dash and doors. They’re easily scratched, and most vehicles in this price range have more soft-touch surfaces. Highlander’s option list has all the bases covered, from navigation (voice activated, 8-inch screen), to communication (Bluetooth technology) to entertainment (JBL premium sound system, rear seat entertainment system).
Toyota has one of the widest ranging SUV lineups of any automaker with no less than six models, ranging from the $21,000 RAV4 to the $65,970 Land Cruiser. In the middle of this swath is the car-based Highlander crossover that is geared more towards pavement than piney-woods. It’s well suited to family transport with a starting price of $25,705. While the Highlander Hybrid has higher up-front costs, drivers who appreciate the technology (and the payback at the gas pumps) will find it very easy to live with. — by Dan Lyons, Motor Matters

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009

Highlander Hybrid interior