Toyota Highlander Hybrid Overview

By: Thomas Jones

In the International Auto Show for North America in 2004, Japan's Toyota Motor Corporation revealed a new hybrid vehicle, the Highlander hybrid. In fact, it was such a success at the Auto Show that the Highlander was put into mass production as a fuel-efficient hybrid and then brought to the market, labeled as a 2006.

The Toyota Highlander is another in a line of Toyota's hybrid vehicles, designed with the Hybrid Synergy Drive that Toyota has used in all of their hybrid vehicles. It is a unique technology specific to the Toyota line, and is used in both Toyotas and Lexus's. The Highlander uses the same platform of technology and design as the Camry Hybrid by Toyota, as well as Lexus RX 400h. For the most part, this particular hybrid is definitely similar to sedans and SUVs, but has its own unique modifications.

This particular vehicle is mainly a good hybrid marketed in and to the U.S. Consumers. They have a very strong desire to go green these days, and so they are attempting to find any method they can to limit gas consumption, as well as lower their own expenses. With gas at around $3.25 and with no signs of decreasing in the future, the desire to save any money is a very strong one, especially in the U.S. That is not to say that this vehicle isn't distributed elsewhere, in fact, in Australia this Toyota is now known as the Kluger hybrid.

As for how this particular vehicle operates, the controls and instrumentation of the vehicle are the same as those used in a conventional Highlander in operation. The actual feel of the vehicle, as well as the sound of the actual Toyota is what sets it apart from other vehicles. When you start the vehicle the dashboard lights up at the moment of ignition, and then the entire vehicle appears to be ready for you to drive, as the button of the same name flashes to you. While driving, the computer system in the Highlander will automatically activate, then cease the gasoline engine's operation so that you are not wasting more gasoline than necessary. The battery power in the vehicle actually allows the SUV to operate fully at lower speeds, while moving in traffic and stopping. This entire description simply reflects the fuel economy of the vehicle that puts it above other hybrid SUVs.

The 2008 model of the Highlander Hybrid was redesigned in order to enlarge the body of the car, as well as refine and smooth out a few other problems. Even though the size has been altered for a more prominent sport utility vehicle, the Highlander is impressive, while still functioning just as well as before. Even the fuel efficiency seemed to be exactly the same as before. As an SUV, the Hybrid is meant to be roomy and a joy to look at, and in this case, the vehicle is also flashy in a good way. Adorned with green stripes on the exterior, that is one of the definitive features that also gently remind the viewer of the eco-friendliness of the vehicle.

While the vehicle does have four-wheel drive, harsh weather conditions and roads would still give the vehicle problems, so driving in harsh inclement weather isn't recommended. In fact, for the most part, the vehicle is normally running in front-drive mode, and is configured very differently than the typical, gas-powered Highlander. The conventional Highlander normally has much more power to the rear vehicles than the hybrid.

As far as the overall quality of the vehicle, however, Toyota's Highlander hybrid is a rugged yet high-quality SUV that is most definitely true to its brand name. Rugged and sturdy, but also eco-conscious like the Toyota Company is known for. The vehicle is fuel-efficient, money-saving and a better investment than a conventional minivan.