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2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has an upscale, spacious interior and an array of impressive family-friendly features. However, it ranks in the middle of the midsize SUV class due to its touchy brakes and uninspired steering.

Pros & Cons

  • Energetic, fuel-efficient powertrain
  • Impressive list of standard safety features
  • Upscale interior
  • Touchy regenerative brakes

New for 2017

  • New LE and XLE trims
  • Seats up to eight
  • Toyota Safety Sense technologies became standard

Rankings & Awards

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid's #4 ranking is based on its score within the 2017 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. It was the winner of our 2017 Best Hybrid SUV for Families award and a finalist for our 2017 Best Hybrid SUV for the Money award. Currently the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 32 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.9
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Overview

Is the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a Good Used SUV?

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a good used midsize SUV. It offers plenty of space for hauling passengers and cargo. In addition, it has an energetic, fuel-efficient powertrain, and it comes with a lot of standard high-tech features. In fact, when it was new, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid won our 2017 Best Hybrid SUV for Families  award. Yet, you may want to browse through other midsize SUVs, as there are several better options in this competitive class.

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 32 professional evaluations for this 2017 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 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

As of this writing, a price range for the used 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is not available.

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How Much Does the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Cost to Own?

Estimated five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2017 Highlander Hybrid are $23,998. That amount is below what you can expect to pay for many other 2017 midsize SUVs. The 2017 Toyota Highlander, for example, has estimated upkeep costs of $25,329 over five years; the 2017 Honda Pilot will cost $27,658; and the 2017 Chevrolet Traverse will cost $27,652. Keep in mind that the Highlander Hybrid has more expensive hybrid components than most of its competitors.

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

The base price of a 2018 Highlander Hybrid is $36,870. The 2018 Highlander Hybrid received no significant changes, so you can save some money by shopping used. However, shopping new will get you a new-car warranty, and you won’t have to worry about questionable maintenance history.

Read about the new Toyota Highlander Hybrid »

While we don’t currently have an average list price for a used 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, we can recommend a couple of 2018 midsize SUVs that rank well on our site. The 2018 Kia Sorento starts at $25,900 and features a spacious, high-quality interior, above-average fuel economy estimates, and top safety scores. The all-new 2018 Toyota C-HR (MSRP: $22,500) is a decent subcompact SUV filled with a long list of standard safety features. However, the C-HR is significantly smaller than the Highlander Hybrid in terms of passenger and cargo space.

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Which Model Year of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Is Best?

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is part of a generation that began with the 2014 model year and includes the 2018 Highlander Hybrid. The 2017 model added seating for up to eight (in some configurations), the Toyota Safety Sense suite as standard, and two additional trims. The 2014, 2015, and 2016 models are mostly all the same. With such minor changes among model years, you can save money by shopping for an earlier Highlander Hybrid, unless you need the extra passenger space of the 2017 and newer models.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Highlander Hybrid »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

The 2017 Toyota Highlander has an above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Highlander Hybrid reliability »

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Recalls

As of this writing, the 2017 Highlander Hybrid has two recalls. The first involves improperly torqued roof rails that may loosen and possibly detach from the vehicle. The second recall deals with improper air pressure in the spare tire. Before buying a used Highlander Hybrid, make sure that any applicable recalls have been properly addressed by an authorized Toyota dealer.   

See more information on Toyota Highlander Hybrid safety recalls »

Which Used Toyota Highlander Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Highlander Hybrid comes in four trims: LE, XLE, Limited, and Limited Platinum. Toyota also has a nonhybrid model, which we review separately. We recommend the well-equipped Toyota Highlander LE trim, which comes standard with alloy wheels, five USB ports, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, an Entune 6.1-inch touch-screen display, a six-speaker audio system, smartphone integration, Siri Eyes Free, push-button start, and Toyota Safety Sense P. The XLE trim adds fog lights, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, an upgraded 8-inch touch-screen display, navigation, satellite radio, HD Radio, a moonroof, a height-adjustable power liftgate, and Driver Easy Speak, which is an intercom system from the front seats to the rear seats.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited trim seats seven and features perforated, leather-trimmed heated and ventilated front seats, as well as a 12-speaker sound system and a rear parking system. The top-of the-line Limited Platinum adds a panoramic moonroof, rain sensing windshield wipers, heated second-row seats, a 360-degree camera, and front parking sensors.

See 2017 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 2017 Highlander scored well in its crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it a rating of Good (the highest score possible) in all five crash tests conducted. The Highlander Hybrid also earned a perfect five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It received five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the rollover and frontal crash tests.

The Highlander Hybrid is equipped with a rearview camera and Toyota Safety Sense P, which includes a pre-collision system, pedestrian and vehicle detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, and adaptive cruise control. Available safety features include front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a 360-degree camera.

See Highlander Hybrid safety scores »

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid or 2017 Toyota Highlander?

The gas-only 2017 Toyota Highlander has many of the same attributes as the Highlander Hybrid. Both vehicles are practical family SUVs with upscale cabins, pleasant rides, and third-row seats. The major difference comes down to cost; used gas-only Highlanders will likely be less expensive. However, the Highlander Hybrid has better fuel economy estimates, which will save you around $450 a year at the pump.

Which Is Better: 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid or 2017 Mazda CX-9?

While the 2017 Mazda CX-9 isn’t a hybrid, it still has above-average fuel economy estimates for the midsize SUV class. Like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the CX-9 is a 3-row SUV. It has more third-row legroom than the Toyota, but the Highlander Hybrid has more standard safety features (the CX-9 only comes standard with a rearview camera). The Toyota also has more cargo space, an extra seat, and features that aren’t available in the CX-9 – like ventilated front seats and heated second-row seats.

Compare the Highlander Hybrid, Highlander, and CX-9 »

2017 Highlander Hybrid Performance

How Does the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Drive?

The all-wheel-drive Highlander Hybrid is powered by a V6 engine and three electric motors that generate a combined 306 horsepower. The engine comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission. The Highlander Hybrid can hold its own performance-wise with its gasoline-only competitors. It boasts smooth handling and quickly accelerates up to highway and passing speeds without a problem. On the downside, its steering can feel numb. The regenerative braking system, which helps recharge the batteries, can also feel overly responsive.

Does the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Highlander Hybrid gets excellent gas mileage for a midsize SUV, earning an EPA-estimated 29 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Towing Capacity

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

Read more about Highlander Hybrid performance »

2017 Highlander Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Highlander Hybrid Seat?

The Highlander seats eight in the two lowest trim levels (LE and XLE) with a second-row bench seat. The two upper trims (Limited and Limited Platinum) seat up to seven with second-row bucket seats. Its first two rows of seats are comfortable and spacious, while its third row is best left for children. Cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, adjustable front seats, and sliding and reclining 60/40-split second- and third-row seats are standard. Available features include leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

The Highlander Hybrid has lower anchors and upper tether anchors on the second-row outboard seats, as well as tether anchors on the second- and third-row middle seats. The second-row outboard seats' lower anchors are fairly easy to use. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the LATCH system as Good (the highest rating) for ease of use.  

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Features

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes standard with tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, push-button start, five USB ports, a 6.1-inch touch screen, voice recognition, Siri Eyes Free, and Toyota Safety Sense. Available options include a Blu-ray entertainment system, a 360-degree camera, and Driver Easy Speak, which allows the driver to communicate more easily with rear-seat passengers through the vehicle’s speakers.

The Highlander Hybrid's infotainment system is easy to use, with straightforward knobs and buttons and a responsive touch screen. One downside is the lack of a button that takes you directly to the navigation system.

See 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid specs »

Read more about Highlander Hybrid interior »

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Dimensions

Toyota Highlander Hybrid Cargo Space

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats, 42.3 cubic feet behind the second-row seats, and 83.7 cubic feet behind the front seats. These measurements are all typical for a 3-row midsize SUV.

2017 Highlander Hybrid Length and Weight

The 2017 Highlander Hybrid is about 16 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,825 pounds to 4,965 pounds. It has a gross vehicle weight of 6,260 pounds.

Where Was the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Built?

The 2017 Highlander Hybrid was built in Indiana.

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