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2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

The 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has plenty of easy-to-use, family-friendly features and an upscale, spacious interior. However, most rivals have better safety scores or more engaging performance, which pushes the Highlander Hybrid to the middle of the SUV pack.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Lots of standard features
  • High-end cabin quality
  • Sensitive brakes
  • Cramped third row

Rankings & Awards

The 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid's #10 ranking is based on its score within the 2015 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. It was the winner of our 2015 Best Hybrid SUV for the Money award and the winner of our 2015 Best Hybrid SUV for Families award. Currently the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 26 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.3
Safety: 9.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Overview

Is the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a Good Used SUV?

The 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a decent used midsize SUV. It offers a good amount of cargo space and seating for seven with plenty of room in the first two rows. This Toyota has a premium interior with lots of standard features. When it was new, we named the Highlander Hybrid our 2015 Best Hybrid SUV for the Money and 2015 Best Hybrid SUV for Families.

The Highlander Hybrid is very fuel-efficient, but it can feel underpowered on the highway and has touchy brakes. Also, you’ll probably pay more for this SUV than for most other rivals. We review the nonhybrid 2015 Highlander separately.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 26 Toyota Highlander Hybrid reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

Expect to pay anywhere between about $33,600 and $35,300 for a 2015 Highlander Hybrid. Actual prices fluctuate depending on the vehicle's features, mileage, condition, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Cost to Own?

The 2015 Highlander Hybrid tends to be more affordable than most of its classmates when it comes to gas, insurance, repair, and maintenance costs. You can expect to pay around $24,400 over five years for these expenses. The 2015 Nissan Murano has similarly low five-year costs for the class, while the nonhybrid Highlander’s costs are typically about $1,800 higher than the hybrid’s.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Highlander Hybrid?

The 2015 Highlander Hybrid and the 2019 Highlander Hybrid belong to the same generation, but there are a few key differences. The 2019 Highlander Hybrid has two lower trims that the 2015 doesn't offer. These two trims are more value-oriented, with features like cloth upholstery, a smaller infotainment screen, and a more basic stereo system.

All 2015 Highlander Hybrid models come standard with leather upholstery, an 8-inch infotainment screen, and a premium JBL sound system. However, the 2019 Highlander Hybrid comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of features, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams. Still, the 2019 Highlander Hybrid starts at around $37,200, likely more than you’ll pay for a used 2015 model.

You’re better off going with a used model and its wealth of standard amenities, though nobody would fault you for buying the new model.

Read about the new Toyota Highlander Hybrid »

Considering the high average list price for the 2015 Highlander Hybrid, there are lots of new midsize SUVs you could get for the same amount of money or less. However, the Highlander is the only hybrid option in the class.

If you don’t need three rows of seats, consider a well-rated new hybrid SUV like the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. The RAV4 is fully redesigned and offers plenty of cargo and passenger space for a compact SUV. It also comes with standard Apple CarPlay and has much better fuel economy than the Highlander Hybrid. Prices for a new RAV4 Hybrid range from $27,700 to $35,700, right in the ballpark of what you might pay for a 2015 Highlander Hybrid.

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Which Model Year of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Is Best?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid was fully redesigned for the 2014 model year, and it did not see any changes for 2015 or 2016. Since it costs less, you may be better off with an otherwise identical 2014 Highlander Hybrid.

You can save even more money with a model from the Highlander Hybrid’s previous generation (2013 and earlier), but you’ll miss out on the benefits of the redesign. The 2013 Highlander Hybrid has a smaller infotainment display and doesn’t offer any driver assistance features besides a rearview camera.

Compare the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Highlander Hybrid »

How Reliable Is the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

J.D. Power gives the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Highlander Hybrid reliability »

2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Recalls

At the time of this writing, there are two open recalls for the 2015 Highlander Hybrid. Water can enter a windshield wire harness and damage the car’s engine control module. Faulty components of the power steering system can result in a loss of power steering and control. the risk of a crash that results from these problems, be sure that a Toyota dealer has performed all necessary recall repairs before you buy a used 2015 Highlander Hybrid.

See more information on Toyota Highlander Hybrid safety recalls »

Which Used Toyota Highlander Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

The 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes in two trims: Limited (base) and Limited Platinum.

The Highlander Hybrid Limited trim should be fine for most shoppers. Its standard features include tri-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, push-button start, a power liftgate, and a rearview camera. The standard Entune infotainment system features an 8-inch touch screen, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, a USB port, navigation, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and smartphone app integration.

The Platinum trim adds a heated steering wheel, a panoramic roof, and advanced safety systems like pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams.

See 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid trims and specs »

What Does Toyota's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Toyota offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 85,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Toyota provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty on all its certified pre-owned vehicles, and it extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the initial sale date or 100,000 miles. Each CPO Toyota must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits like a CarFax vehicle history report, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Toyota warranty page carefully.

Toyota’s CPO program is about average for an affordable carmaker, according to our research. Hyundai and Kia both have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Highlander Hybrid?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Highlander a 2015 Top Safety Pick+, the agency's most prestigious accolade. The Highlander earned the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and a rating of Acceptable in both the driver-side and passenger-side small overlap front tests. Properly equipped Highlander models earned the second-highest score of Advanced for front crash prevention features.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid an overall rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

All 2015 Highlander Hybrid models come with a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Available advanced safety features include automatic high beams, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

See Highlander Hybrid safety scores »

2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid or 2015 Toyota Highlander?

Choosing between the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the regular 2015 Toyota Highlander will probably come down to how much you prioritize the hybrid's better fuel efficiency. You can likely find a Highlander for thousands of dollars less than a Highlander Hybrid. But it may not have the standard features of a hybrid model, such as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, navigation, a JBL stereo, and an 8-inch touch screen. While the regular Highlander may be cheaper, the hybrid version could save you up to about $500 per year in fuel costs. The standard Highlander has marginally better performance scores than its hybrid counterpart, primarily because it doesn’t suffer from touchy brakes like the hybrid.

Which Is Better: 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid or 2015 Nissan Murano?

The 2015 Nissan Murano ranks higher than the Highlander Hybrid, but either of these could be a good choice depending on what you’re looking for in a midsize SUV. The Murano only seats five, and it has less cargo space than the Highlander Hybrid. However, the Nissan's interior quality is near luxury-grade, and it comes with a good number of standard features. The Highlander Hybrid is more fuel-efficient, but the Murano’s standard V6 still gets pretty good fuel economy for the class. You’ll also likely pay a lot less for a used Murano.

Compare the Highlander Hybrid, Highlander, and Murano »

2015 Highlander Hybrid Performance

How Does the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Drive?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid gets moving quickly from a stop, but some critics think it feels a little underpowered at higher speeds. A V6 engine and three electric motors come standard, making a combined 280 horsepower.

This SUV has composed body motions around turns, and it offers a comfortable ride. If you’ve never driven a hybrid before, you might be surprised by how sensitive the brakes are. All-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission are standard.

Does the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Get Good Gas Mileage?

Expect 27 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway from the Highlander Hybrid. Those are some of the best fuel economy numbers among midsize SUVs, but these figures are midrange compared to all hybrid SUVs for the 2015 model year.

2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Highland Hybrid can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Read more about Highlander Hybrid performance »

2015 Highlander Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the 2015 Highlander Hybrid Seat?

The Highlander Hybrid seats seven in three rows, with standard second-row captain’s chairs. The first two rows have plenty of space. However, like many three-row competitors, the Highlander doesn't have a roomy third row for adults. The quiet cabin features upscale materials and handsome styling that would be fitting inside a luxury SUV.

The 2015 Highlander Hybrid comes standard with leather upholstery for the first two rows and synthetic leather for the third row. Additional standard features include an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and second-row sunshades for the side windows. A heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats are available.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a complete set of LATCH child-seat connections for each second-row seat, and a tether anchor for the third-row middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use. You might mistake the tether anchors for other hardware, and the lower anchors are set deep in the seat.

2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Features

The 2015 Highlander Hybrid comes with more features than most competitors, which is appropriate given its relatively high prices. The dashboard controls are in a logical arrangement, and the cabin technology is user-friendly.

Standard features include a moonroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and a 120-volt household-style power outlet. The standard Entune infotainment system has an 8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, voice recognition, a 12-speaker JBL stereo, satellite radio, HD Radio, and navigation. Available features include a panoramic roof and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

See 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid specs »

Read more about Highlander Hybrid interior »

2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Dimensions

Toyota Highlander Hybrid Cargo Space

The 2015 Highlander Hybrid has 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third row of seats, and 42.3 cubic feet with the third row folded. Collapse both sets of rear seats to open up 83.2 cubic feet. Those values are about average for the midsize SUV class. A power liftgate is standard.

2015 Highlander Hybrid Length and Weight

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is 15.9 feet long and has a curb weight of 4,861 pounds.

Where Was the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Built?

Toyota built the 2015 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid in Indiana.

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