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2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid ranks in the top half of its class, thanks to its comfortable ride and good ratings for safety and reliability.

Pros & Cons

  • Superb fuel economy for the class
  • Brisk acceleration
  • Comfortable ride
  • Feels cumbersome in turns
  • Used models tend to be pricy

Rankings & Awards

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid's #7 ranking is based on its score within the 2013 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. It was the winner of our 2013 Best Hybrid SUV for Families award. Currently the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 91 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Overview

Is the 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a Good Used SUV?

The Highlander Hybrid is a great used midsize SUV. It offers class-leading fuel economy without compromising on everyday practicality. The seven-seat Highlander has generous passenger and cargo space, many convenience features, brisk acceleration, and a smooth ride. The SUV also rates well for reliability. We review the non-hybrid Toyota Highlander separately.

Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Performance and Interior

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a 3.5-liter V6 engine and two electric motors, which yield a combined 280 horsepower. All models are equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The hybrid system scoots the SUV up to speed quickly and quietly, and it provides energetic passing power on the highway. The transitions between electric and gas power feel smooth. Finally, its fuel economy is good for the midsize SUV class at 28 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

The Highlander’s delivers a smooth and comfortable ride. Its suspension soaks up potholes and bumps in the road nicely. The brakes slow the SUV to a stop confidently, and the steering feels light and easy to maneuver. However, the vehicle’s height and soft suspension make it feel somewhat tippy around tight corners. The Highlander Hybrid has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, when properly equipped.

Read more about Highlander Hybrid performance »

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a three-row SUV with seating for seven. The front seats are supportive and provide generous head- and legroom. The outboard second-row seats are also cozy, featuring reclining and sliding adjustments to better suit tall passengers. The middle seat isn’t very comfortable, though it does fold and stow conveniently. Younger kids and teens will find the third-row seats roomy enough on shorter trips, but adults will not. There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats. The Highlander has a slim 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third row, and a roomier 94.1 cubic feet with all of its rear seats folded.

The Highlander’s cabin has clean styling, quality materials, and a straightforward dashboard. The audio and climate control buttons are large and well placed. The standard 6.1-inch touch-screen navigation system is user friendly as well, and it supports internet radio apps like Pandora and iHeartRadio. A 9-inch DVD screen is available for rear-seat passengers.

Read more about Highlander Hybrid interior »

Used 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Prices

The price of a used 2013 Highlander Hybrid ranges from about $23,000 for a base model to some $26,500 for a Limited model. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 91 Reviews Analyzed

This overview includes fuel economy estimates, reliability ratings, crash test scores, and much more. We've also researched 91 Toyota Highlander Hybrid reviews to help you decide if the 2013 Highlander Hybrid is the right car for you.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

The 2013 Highlander has an above-average reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about reliability »

How Safe Is the Highlander Hybrid?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Toyota Highlander a 2013 Top Safety Pick, giving it the highest safety score of Good in all four areas tested. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Highlander Hybrid a perfect five-star rating in side impact testing, as well as four out of five stars for overall, front impact, and rollover safety.

The Highlander Hybrid comes standard with a rearview camera. No other advanced-safety features are available.

See Highlander Hybrid safety scores »

Is the 2013 Highlander Hybrid the Best Model Year to Buy?

The 2013 Highlander Hybrid marks the final model year of the vehicle’s second generation. There were no major changes between 2011 and 2013. As a result, you can save money by shopping for 2011 and 2012 models, which have similar equipment. On the other hand, you may want to shop for the redesigned 2014 Highlander Hybrid, which offers a higher-quality interior and more advanced safety features.

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Highlander Hybrid »

Which Used Toyota Highlander Hybrid Is Right for Me?

The Highlander Hybrid comes in two trims: base and Limited. The base model has a 6.1-inch touch screen, navigation, Bluetooth, satellite radio, CD player, USB and aux inputs, air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and alloy wheels.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited trim adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, three-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry with push-button start, a moonroof, and a power liftgate.

For added confidence in your purchase, consider a certified pre-owned model. Toyota provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty on all of its certified pre-owned vehicles, and it extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles. Each CPO Toyota must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Toyota warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Toyota certified pre-owned program »

2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Other SUVs to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid or 2013 Ford Explorer?

The Ford Explorer may not be a hybrid, but this seven-seat SUV still offers good fuel economy of 20/27 mpg city/highway, thanks to its available turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Despite this, you’re better off sticking with the Toyota. The Explorer has a frustrating infotainment system and poor reliability ratings.

Which Is Better: 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid or 2013 Kia Sorento?

The 2013 Kia Sorento is another relatively fuel-efficient option in the midsize SUV class (21/30 mpg). The Sorento has a handsome interior and crisp handling. However, it offers less cargo space than the Highlander and rates below average for reliability. Also, its efficient four-cylinder engine also feels quite short on power. The Highlander is the better option.

Compare the Highlander Hybrid, Explorer, and Sorento »

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