A silver 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is shown parked indoors.

The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Is It the Hybrid We’ve Always Needed?

When presenting any information about the automotive industry, it’s important that one is well-informed regarding the newest developments and maintains a certain level of objectivity. After all, consumers rely on us to deliver them news that’s beneficial and will allow them to make an informed decision regarding their next vehicle purchase.

When it comes to the marketplace for the SUV, there’s a great deal to take into account. As the ideal vehicle for the modern family-oriented consumer, aspects such as price, safety, fuel economy, and technology are all fields to pay attention to. And when it comes to the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, many will be curious about what Toyota’s newest offering has in store. Well, that’s what we’re here for; to dive into an SUV that just might be the fuel-efficient game-changer many have been waiting for.

A blue 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is shown parked on a driveway.

First Impressions

It’s a well-documented fact that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. When it comes to the vehicles we drive, having something with style to match its mechanical and technological attributes is important to some, especially those with a keen eye for style and aesthetics. Luckily, the Highlander possesses an aerodynamic style that will certainly impress.

If the exterior piques your interest, the interior will certainly take your breath away. Its two-toned color scheme has less to do with the typical offerings from Toyota and bears a resemblance to a high-end European luxury sedan. Anchored by an available infotainment screen that stretches out past a foot, Toyota has an eye for presenting a vehicle that’s practical and sophisticated, much to the delight of those looking for a vehicle that can balance both of these factors.

Hat’s Off to Hybrid Technology

One of the most remarkable changes made to the Highlander for the 2023 model year has been the shift in design regarding the vehicle’s powertrain. While previous incarnations used a V6, it’s been dropped in favor of a 2.4L four-cylinder. For the hybrid edition of the vehicle, the Highlander sticks with its 2.5L hybrid engine, offering 243 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The powertrain is paired with a continuously variable transmission, making it ideal for the modern family who has to endure the stop-and-go traffic patterns of city driving.

Perhaps the best attribute of this combination is the Highlander Hybrid’s fuel economy, which is impressive, to say the least. According to research and testing done by the EPA, the Highlander Hybrid gets 36 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. A total combined MPG of 36 allows consumers to save an estimated total of $2,250 over the course of five years. In an age where the price of filling a tank is as unpredictable as ever, Toyota is once again proving its ability to craft vehicles with conservative fuel consumption.

A red 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is shown driving off-road.

Benefits of the Interior

While we briefly mentioned the style of the interior earlier and the generous size of the available infotainment screen (an eight-inch is the standard size), there’s much more to look at regarding what an interior of the SUV has to offer. Storage and entertainment are among the two primary concerns for the modern family-oriented consumer, and that’s where we’ll be focussing our attention next.

With seating for eight, the Highlander is a vehicle where you’ll have no problems being the hero of the office carpool or transporting the entire soccer team to practice on time. Of course, when there aren’t people to transport, there’s cargo to take its place. Behind the third row of seating, you’ll find 16 cu.ft. of storage, which is more than the average trunk size of a four-door sedan. For those occasions that warrant as much room as possible, an available storage area that expands to over 84 cu.ft. of room is more than enough to make that yard sale run.

With cargo and passengers in their place, you might be wondering what Toyota has to offer in entertainment because, as we all know, passengers of the younger and shorter variety tend to be finicky on those lengthy excursions. The base trim of the Highlander contains the basic necessities to keep you and your passengers entertained. The standard eight-inch infotainment screen comes equipped with Apple and Android compatibility and a three-month trial with Sirius XM. Six speakers are put in place for your listening enjoyment, and Bluetooth connectivity is also standard.

If you’re looking to maximize your entertainment options, your best bet is to focus your attention on getting behind the wheel of one of the upper trims. Aside from having the much larger infotainment screen at your disposal, an updated stereo system is in the form of a high-end JBL system with eleven speakers and a 1200W amplifier. Other upper trim features include streaming audio and a digital signal processor for more availability and the very best in sound quality. Voice activation and turn-by-turn navigation are more geared towards convenience than entertainment, but it would be hard to look past their inclusion as important and beneficial.

An aerial view of a blue 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is shown.

Safety for the Modern Family

With its ability to save you money between fill-ups, provide seating and storage when needed, and even keep everyone entertained, we might say that this trifecta is just about perfect. Still, one more element makes the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a vehicle that’s too good to pass on, and that’s its abundance of standard safety features, courtesy of the Toyota Safety Sense suite. Not only did the Highlander receive the coveted five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in government-mandated testing, but it also places more technology into the hands of drivers than the competition.

Standard across all hybrid trims is the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, which is essential for preserving reaction time during a potential collision. Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and a backup camera provide an extra set of eyes on the road, allowing you to drive confidently. Upper trims have additional features such as Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking. No matter what level of the Highlander Hybrid you decide to purchase, Toyota is looking out for you and your family.

A Final Word on What We Need

The title of this article posed the question as to whether or not the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid was something we needed. After taking a close examination of the vehicle and the many attributes it has and the advantages it has to offer, we think it absolutely is. Toyota has proven that you can offer the modern family everything they need and not sacrifice quality assurance. One would be hard-pressed not to find a family who wouldn’t find this vehicle beneficial for their quality of life and an open door to a better future.

If you’re a family requiring a spacious SUV, but are also looking to save as much as possible when it comes to trips to the pump, the 2023 Highlander Hybrid is definitely a worthy family hauler for those looking to keep more money in their wallets. If you and your family are looking to jump to a more efficient alternative to the typical gas-guzzling SUVs, consider the Highlander Hybrid your next faithful travel companion.