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2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

The 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has an upscale cabin that seats up to seven. However, it finishes in the middle of our midsize SUV rankings, partly because of its sluggish acceleration.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent fuel economy in the city
  • Practical, family-friendly interior
  • Sluggish acceleration
  • High price for the class

Rankings & Awards

The 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid's #10 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. It was the winner of our 2016 Best Hybrid SUV for Families award. Currently the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 25 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.2
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Overview

Is the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a Good Used SUV?

The 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a good used midsize SUV. It's a practical family vehicle with excellent gas mileage and a user-friendly infotainment system. The Highlander Hybrid won our 2016 Best Hybrid SUV for Families award. However, check out the nonhybrid 2016 Highlander before buying. You’ll get all the benefits for considerably less money, if you can live with the higher fuel costs of about $400 per year.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 25 professional evaluations for this 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

The average price of a used 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is $38,825. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location. You can expect to pay between $29,774 and $47,876.

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How Much Does the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Cost to Own?

Estimated five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 Highlander Hybrid are $23,457. That is less than what you can expect to pay with many other midsize SUVs. For example, the 2016 Highlander’s estimate five-year costs are about $1,800 higher. The 2016 Honda Pilot has higher estimates by about $1,900, and costs for the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse are expected to be about $2,800 higher.

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

The base price of a 2019 Highlander Hybrid is $36,970, which is below the 2016 model’s average price of $38,825. We recommend the 2019 model, which has a suite of standard active safety features and a new-car warranty. Unless you’re looking for the features in the midlevel and higher trims of the Highlander Hybrid, the 2019 model is a better choice.

Read about the new Toyota Highlander Hybrid »

The average price of 2016 Highlander Hybrid is within about $1,200 of a 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. The Pacifica Hybrid is a smart choice for families, or anyone who needs lots of passenger space. It ranks high in the minivan class thanks to its upscale cabin, strong safety scores, and composed handling.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

J.D. Power gives the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Highlander Hybrid reliability »

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Recalls

As of this writing, the 2016 Highlander Hybrid has two open recalls. One concerns the brake fluid level sensor, and another recall corrects the load carrying capacity label. Be sure any recalls are addressed before buying a used vehicle.

See more information on Toyota Highlander Hybrid safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Is Best?

The 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is part of a generation that began with the 2014 model year. The 2014, 2015, and 2016 models are virtually identical, but models from 2013 and before have different exterior and interior styling and lack features like keyless start and rear parking sensors.

The 2017 Highlander Hybrid gained seating for up to eight. With so few changes between the 2014 and 2017 model years, we suggest you consider an older used model, which can save you considerable money without costing you a lot in the way of features.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Highlander Hybrid »

Which Used Toyota Highlander Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

There are only two Highlander Hybrid trims: Limited and Platinum. The Platinum trim adds features that are nice but hardly necessary, like a rear-seat Blu-ray player. It also comes with all available safety features. Unless you want those extra driver assistance features, you're better off saving money and sticking with the Limited trim.

See 2016 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 2016 Highlander Hybrid performed well in crash test ratings. It earned a perfect overall rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Highlander Hybrid received five stars in the side crash test, and four stars for the rollover and frontal crash tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did not test the Highlander Hybrid specifically, but the gas-only Highlander was named a 2016 Top Safety Pick+. It also earned the highest rating of Good in all five IIHS test categories.

See Highlander Hybrid safety scores »

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid or 2016 Toyota Highlander?

Buyers considering the Highlander Hybrid because it’s a practical family SUV can save money by opting for the gas-only 2016 Toyota Highlander. It's virtually the same vehicle, but it swaps out a hybrid powertrain for your choice of a four-cylinder engine or a V6. The nonhybrid Highlander offers all of the same features as its hybrid twin, and it's still a reliable three-row SUV with plenty of cargo space – all of the cornerstones that make the Highlander Hybrid such a good family car. You’ll sacrifice on fuel economy, but it might be worth it to save thousands up front.

Which Is Better: 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid or 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid?

If you want a hybrid SUV and can give up the third row of seats, check out the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, a compact SUV. The Toyota RAV4 is smaller than the Highlander Hybrid, but it’s also much less expensive. The RAV4 Hybrid returns 34 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, and these superior fuel economy estimates should save you some money in the long run compared to the Highlander Hybrid. The RAV4 Hybrid also has most of the space and utility of the nonhybrid RAV4, which is one of the most popular compact family SUVs on the market.

Compare the Highlander Hybrid, Highlander, and RAV4 Hybrid »

2016 Highlander Hybrid Performance

How Does the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Drive?

The 2016 Highlander Hybrid has a smooth ride and stable handling, but its acceleration is compromised by a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which lacks pronounced gear changes. All-wheel drive is standard.

The Highlander Hybrid features a V6 engine and three electric motors that combine to produce 280 horsepower. The Highlander Hybrid has good power, though acceleration lags when pressed for more power. On the upside, the powertrain transitions smoothly between the gas and electric power.

Does the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Highlander Hybrid gets excellent gas mileage for a midsize SUV, returning an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Towing Capacity

The Highlander Hybrid’s towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.

Read more about Highlander Hybrid performance »

2016 Highlander Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Highlander Hybrid Seat?

The 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid seats seven people in three rows. Leather upholstery is standard in the first two rows, while the third row features leatherette upholstery. The Highlander Hybrid also comes with heated, ventilated, and power-adjustable front seats. The Highlander Hybrid has spacious front seats and comfortable second-row seats. The third-row is tighter for adults than in some rival SUVs, but they are OK for children.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

For attaching child safety seats, the Highlander Hybrid has lower anchors and tethers on outboard second-row seats and a tether anchor on the third-row middle seat.

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Features

Standard features in the 2016 Highlander Hybrid include a tri-zone automatic climate control and Driver Easy Speak, which projects the driver's voice to rear passengers via the stereo speakers. Toyota's Entune infotainment system is also standard. It includes an 8-inch touch screen, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, smartphone app integration, navigation, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and HD Radio. A rear-seat Blu-Ray player is available.

The 2016 Highlander Hybrid has easy-to-use controls. The audio and climate systems employ handy knobs, and the standard touch screen has sharp graphics and a user-friendly interface.

See 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid specs »

Read more about Highlander Hybrid interior »

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Dimensions

Toyota Highlander Hybrid Cargo Space

The 2016 Highlander Hybrid has 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row of seats, 42.3 behind the second row, and 83.2 behind the first row. The Highlander Hybrid's maximum cargo capacity is decent for the class and almost identical to that of the non-hybrid Highlander.

2016 Highlander Hybrid Length and Weight

The 2016 Highlander Hybrid is 15.9 feet long. Its curb weight is 4,861 pounds. The gross vehicle weight rating is 6,270 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Built?

Toyota built the 2016 Highlander Hybrid in Indiana.

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