2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
A current favorite of green families who have lots to move between Point A and Point B is the 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid all-wheel drive crossover utility. And like all of its Highlander siblings, it's received a mild face-lift for 2011.
The front end is all new, and the Hybrid wears more angular bumper covers and a unique open-mouth grille. Both giving it extra visual width.
Under that width sits a larger 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 231 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. That's 22 horsepower over the aging 3.3-liter it replaces, and an extra three pound-feet of torque.
When combined with the Hybrid Synergy Drive's two high-torque electric motor-generators, the combined output kicks up to 280.
But that increased power does not come at the expense of hybrid fuel economy, which has improved to 28 miles-per-gallon city, that's plus one, and 28 highway, a big plus three.
With the full-hybrid design allowing the front wheels to turn on either or both gas and electric power, plus a third electric motor driving the rear wheels for all-wheel-drive traction, this more powerful Highlander Hybrid also feels quicker and smoother.
But while the driving experience and economy are improved, it's the standard 50/50 flat-folding third row seat, replacing a solid bench that will be the most popular feature for families that crave flexibility.
Manual rear climate controls are also now standard, as is a new USB port.
"The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid gets a mild upgrade all around, But, the improvements are in areas that large crossover buyers are particularly keen on." – Brian Robinson
Pricing for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid starts at about $38,000. The top-line Limited tops out at almost $44,000.
Engine : 3.5-liter V6
Price: Starting at about $38,000