a hybrid seven-seater SUV with acceptable third-row habitability

The fourth generation of Toyota Highlander arrives in Europe with two decades of commercial life behind it and 7.6 million units sold globally. The new E-SUV, with seven seats and that shares a platform with him RAV4It is the largest of all its brothers – it is five meters long – and it also wants to be the most efficient and luxurious.

Thus, the Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid It incorporates a self-recharging hybrid electric motor and has intelligent all-wheel drive and 248 hp, which we have put to the test on asphalt and snow in a first contact.

The new Highlander as a flagship

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 4

The new Toyota SUV arrives in Europe with the larger body that the Japanese firm sells in the Old Continent. Although it would be a medium size in the US market, in Europe it falls within the E-SUVs (SUVs and family 4×4 SUVs).

Total length

Overall width

Total height

Distance between axis

Ground clearance

4.966 mm

1.930 mm

1.755 mm

2.850 mm

202 mm

Available only from hybrid electric motorization, the new Hihglander joins the RAV4 Electric Hybrid in segment D -with whom it shares a platform-, the Toyota C-HR Electric Hybrid in segment C and Yaris Cross Electric Hybrid in segment B.

It pretends to be the flagship of Toyota, which knows that the new Highlander fits into a very specific market niche: a large family that moves through rural areas, or a consumer who needs the characteristics of a 4×4 and a large SUV with lots of habitability and a towing capacity of 2,000 kg, as is the case with the new model (to get an idea, that of the Land Cruiser is 3,000 kg).

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 19

Take into account that it is two tons of vehicle, and that it is 11 cm longer than a Land Cruiser and exceeds the RAV4 by 16 cm in terms of battle. Thus, the sales forecast in Spain is 500 units per year.

Comes standard with 20 inch wheels and is available in eight different body colors.

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Interior 8

boot capacity (l)

Space under the boot floor


7-seater configuration (incl. Space under the trunk)


5-seater configuration (bench slid to rear stop)


5-seat configuration (bench slid to middle position)


2-seater configuration


7-seater configuration + space under the trunk


5-seater configuration + space under the trunk


2-seater configuration + space under the trunk


Interior: habitability by flag

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Interior 1
Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Interior 4

Inside the Toyota Highlander, habitability reigns – thanks to the TNGA-K platform-. Once inside, the feeling is that of having entered a small room in which the front seats have been designed to ‘hug’ the occupants.

The second row of seats offers up to 180 mm of longitudinal slide, and in a seven-seater configuration there is 332 liters of luggage space.

The instrument cluster is structured around a solid central element that houses the 8 “multimedia screen on Advance trim and 12.3” on Luxury, the top of the range.

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Interior 2

Thus, the equipment includes a 7-inch TFT screen in the instrument panel, the aforementioned multimedia screen in the center console with satellite navigation and connectivity through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, three-zone air conditioning or Head-up Display.

Among the ‘trinkets’ of this model, the wireless charging system for the mobile and the digital rear view, which displays a high resolution image from the rear camera.

At the wheel

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Detalles 3

We were able to test the new Highlander equipped with a 182 kW (248 hp) hybrid electric unit and AWD-i all-wheel drive at a first contact.

It mounts a 2.5 Hybrid gasoline engine and a 1.9 kWh battery. In terms of performance, this is how the 248 hp total power:

  • Thermal engine power: 190 CV
  • Front electric motor: 134 kW
  • Rear electric motor: 40 kW
Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Detalles 6

This intelligent traction adds an additional 121 Nm to the rear electric motor and up to 1,300 Nm to the rear wheels, multiplying performance.

When entering the interior, the first thing that stands out is the feeling of spaciousness. In the rear seats it is more than good, and the same happens in the rear: plenty of room for the knees and head.

Things change in the third row, as it usually happens with the seven seats. While space is sufficient, it is highly unlikely that two adults could be comfortable on a somewhat long journey.

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Interior 6

The habitability is adequate for two children, however, the height of the vehicle’s waist can make it impossible for them to see through the rear window.

Regarding finishes, we find soft, padded materials, with a pleasant touch and well finished, as well as wooden textures. In general, the feeling is of going in a premium car, with comfortable and wide seats that collect the back very well and good soundproofing.

While it is true that the 12 “screen can be split to view several screens at the same time, it is somewhat confusing and it certainly takes a while to assimilate the number of physical and digital buttons it incorporates.

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Interior 3

On the other hand, the browser is archaic and extremely simple to the point that it does not locate either the towns or the area you are driving through. In this sense, you expect more than a 60,000 euro car.

Once underway, starting in electric mode, the silence that reigns in the cabin is surprising on the one hand and on the other the agility with which this two-ton vehicle moves (P810 Electric Hybrid Drive Only adds 111kg).

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Interior 15

The system allows rodar hasta a 125 km / h en modo EV, so that practically all of our route was done in ECO mode.

Being equipped with an e-CVT transmission, you must be kind when accelerating; doing it smoothly and progressively helps to eliminate that feeling that the car is always revving with the continuously variable transmission.

The steering wheel incorporates paddles with which you can downshift and retain energy that goes to the battery, in addition to the driving selection control located behind the gear lever, which allows you to change from ECO to Normal to Sport also in EV mode.

On the road the Highlander can boast of a light but rigid body and a good suspension system that make the ride very comfortable, together with a low noise level.

It reaches a top speed of 180 km / h and promises to do the 0-100 in 8.3 seconds.

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 32

We also put this great SUV to the test in snow covered grounds: wearing winter tires, they go out to reduce the benefits of their intelligent all-wheel drive.

Using very smooth and progressive use of both the steering and the throttle, the Highlander manages to roll without problems on icy roads, covered by snow and mud and even fording a river.

The torque distribution between the front and rear wheels is closely controlled, varying between 100/0 and 20/80, depending on conditions.

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Detalles 1

This model declares 7 l / 100 km and 158 g / 100 km of CO2. On our route, of 95 km with sections of highway, mountain area and off-road section at very low speed, he nailed those 7 liters.

In terms of safety, the new Toyota Hihglander is equipped with the latest version of the Toyota Sfety Sense package.

Prices Toyota Highlander 2021

Toyota Highlander Electric Hybrid 2021 Detalles 9

The new SUV will go on sale for the first time in Western Europe in February from 59,000 euros before aid and Toyota promotions (which offers up to 8,000 euros discount).

  • 2.5L 238 CV Advance: 59.000 euros (PVP)
  • 2.4 L 248 CV Advance + Panoramic roof: 60.500 euros (PVP)
  • 2.5 L 248 CV Luxury: 70.900 euros (PVP)

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