The 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is again the best reviewed family-friendly hybrid SUV due to its ability to accommodate seven passengers, its commendable fuel economy, and its impressive crash-test scores. While fuel economy may seem average at 28 mpg combined, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Highlander gets the best fuel economy of any SUV model that can seat seven passengers. Add to that the powerful and smooth hybrid powertrain and a useful amount of cargo capacity, and it's easy to see why no other hybrid SUV can haul families better. The 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid (Base MSRP: $51,145 to $53,950) can also seat up to seven passengers, but it gets lower fuel economy and costs at least $10,000 more.
The Highlander Hybrid's main drawback is its high base price, especially when compared to the gasoline powered 2011 Toyota Highlander.
The 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is fundamentally unchanged from the previous year, though it does receive cosmetic updates and a small bump in engine size, overall power and fuel efficiency. See our full report on the 2010 Toyota Highlander (Base MSRP: $34,900 to $41,220) for the complete details on the model and what expert reviewers have to say.
With 280 total system horsepower on tap, Highlander Hybrid's 28 mpg city/28 mpg highway/28 mpg combined fuel economy rating from the EPA remains the best among SUVs that can seat seven passengers. The cheaper 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid (Base MSRP: $30,570 to $34,830) achieves a 32 mpg combined fuel-economy rating, but it is less luxurious and can seat only five passengers.
The 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid earns a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This indicates that the Highlander Hybrid achieves the best possible rating of Good in front, side, rear and roof-strength crash-test scenarios. The model also does well in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing. It receives 4 stars out of 5 for overall occupant protection, 4 stars in frontal-crash and rollover-resistance tests, and a full 5 stars for side-crash protection. Standard safety features include front, front-side, curtain and driver's knee airbags, as well as antilock brakes and electronic stability control.
ConsumerReports.org includes the Toyota Highlander Hybrid in its SUV rankings, which include both hybrid and nonhybrid vehicles. In addition to driving impressions, ConsumerReports.org supplies reliability data and owner-satisfaction data. The majority of content here is restricted to subscribers.
Review: SUVs, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Edmunds.com provides a comprehensive opinion on the 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Editors like its seven-passenger seating, balance of efficiency and power, and the quality and design of its interior. They also like the smooth ride and seamless transitions between gas and electric power. The editors call it a "very appealing alternative to conventional crossovers."
Review: 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Editors of Edmunds.com
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety names the 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a Top Safety Pick, giving the SUV Good ratings for front-, side-, rear- and rollover-crash protection.
Review: 2011 Toyota Highlander, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid earns an overall safety rating of 4 stars out of 5. Rollover-resistance and front-crash tests both result in a 4 out of 5 rating, while side-impact protection is rated at 5 stars.
Review: 2011 Toyota Highlander HV SUV AWD, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid achieves an impressive-for-its-size 28 mpg in city, highway and combined driving, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This makes it the most fuel efficient seven passenger SUV.
Review: 2011 Hybrid Vehicles, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy
The 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid carries over without any significant changes from the previous few model years. Changes this year include mildly updated exterior styling and a modest bump in power and efficiency. See our full report on the 2009 model year to get the full summary of what the Highlander Hybrid has to offer and what the experts said.
Review: 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Editors of ConsumerSearch, Dec. 2008