Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

>> Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid.  Keep your eyes on the road that's ahead of you...You wouldn't turn a golf cart into an SUV, so why turn an SUV into a golf cart? And yet here we are in a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, gliding away from a traffic light like we're heading for the eighth tee. Mash the gas and the hybrid's petrol-powered engine kicks-in with the tiniest of judders. Instantly, there's more than enough petrol-powered propulsion to quickly distance ourselves from the following foursome-- just as long as we stay on the fairway. According to the Toyota Motor Corp, even the high-spec, four-wheel-drive Highlander Hybrid SUV is "not designed to be driven off road".

Nor is it designed to be driven like a sports car. Which is a shame. You only need a Nissan Pathfinder or Ford Explorer doggie-sniffing your rear bumper once to realize that a surprising number of SUV owners like to drive like Hell. On the face of it, the Highlander Hybrid seems the ideal whip for supersonic Soccer Moms and NASCAR dads: 268hp (gas and electric engine power combined), zero to 60 in just 7.3 seconds and a tree-hugging rep to hide behind at cocktail parties and speed traps. The reality is less stirring.

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