How Long Do Toyota Highlander Hybrids Last? (Solved)

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid offers the versatility to drive using either electric energy or a combination of gas and electric.

Launched in 2006, it was Toyota’s first hybrid SUV and one of few hybrid SUVs on the market that offers third-row seating.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Highlander Hybrid’s average lifespan.

Here is the short answer to how long the Toyota Highlander Hybrid lasts:

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid should last at least 200,000 miles and can even last over 300,000 miles with routine maintenance and conservative driving habits. If you drive 15,000 miles per year, you can expect 20 years of reliable service from your Highlander before repair costs become too expensive.

How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has been on the roads for close to two decades and has proven to be a very reliable family vehicle.

We expect a well-kept Highlander Hybrid to last a very long time given Toyota’s reputation for reliability and their extensive experience in developing hybrid vehicles. 

Several owners on the Toyota Nation forum have cruised past 300,000 miles in their Highlander Hybrids while still using the original battery.

Throughout its different generations, the Highlander Hybrid has shared the same engine, as well as many of its hybrid components, with the Camry Hybrid.

The Camry Hybrid is a popular choice among taxi fleets because it can rack up hundreds of thousands of miles with only basic maintenance, so you can expect the same level of durability from the Highlander Hybrid.

Newer Highlander Hybrids sold from 2020 onwards also benefit from Toyota’s 10-year/150,000-mile hybrid battery warranty, while older models got an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty.

This gives you additional peace of mind if you’re planning on keeping your Highlander Hybrid for many years to come.

Toyota hybrid batteries are also quite easy to replace with many aftermarket options costing only around $2,000.

Even if your Highlander Hybrid is already out of warranty, keeping it on the road won’t cost you an arm and a leg. 

Does the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Rust Easily?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is not known to have excessive rust or corrosion issues. It’s a very popular winter vehicle due to its ground clearance and all-wheel drive capability – despite this, rust issues are not very common even in rust belt states where salt is heavily used on the roads.

We did find a few owners saying that their 2nd generation Toyota Highlanders have developed corrosion issues in the following areas:

  • Rear lift gate
  • Door handles

The good news is that these are cosmetic issues that don’t affect the drivability or structural integrity of the vehicle.

All new Toyota Highlander Hybrids are also covered by a 60-month/unlimited mile Rust-Through warranty. 

Some surface rust on different body panels and especially on the underside of the vehicle is normal in any vehicle once they have a couple of years on them.

If you are looking to buy an older Highlander Hybrid, it’s best to check the underside of the vehicle and the suspension components for excessive corrosion.

The best way to keep your Highlander rust-free is to wash it regularly, including the underside, especially after exposure to salt.

What is High Mileage for a Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

A Toyota Highlander Hybrid with 100,000 miles can already be classified as a high mileage vehicle. At 100,000 miles, the battery warranty will have already expired which can significantly add to your initial purchase price if it turns out to be defective.

If it’s a 2020 or newer model, you can take advantage of the longer 150,000-mile battery warranty.

A properly maintained and well looked after used Highlander Hybrid will certainly have many more years left in the tank but many wear items, such as the shocks, wheel bearings, brake rotors and belts, among many other parts, will need to be replaced around the 100,000-mile mark. 

Keep in mind, a lot of these are relatively minor repairs, so a high mileage Highlander Hybrid can still be a great investment.

When buying a used Toyota Highlander Hybrid, always consider the following:

  • Maintenance history. Check that the car was properly serviced and the owner can provide evidence of this.
  • Get a second opinion. Have it checked by a Toyota dealership or an independent repair shop with a good reputation.
  • Check the CarFax. This doesn’t guarantee anything but it will provide a clearer picture of wear-and-tear. Ensure it has minimal damage, if any, and has not been involved in a major accident. 
  • Number of previous owners. As a general rule, less is better. More owners usually means more wear-and-tear. A one-owner car that’s been regularly serviced on time is less likely to have issues and nasty surprises.
  • How long you are planning on keeping the car. If you’re planning on keeping the car for a long time, you should evaluate whether the short-term savings outweigh spending a bit extra on something newer and more reliable.
  • Examine the interior. The condition of the interior tells the story of how well the car was maintained and cared for. Does the steering wheel, pedals or shifter look suspiciously new? If so, there’s a good chance that the car was very heavily used, and those parts were just replaced before it was put up for sale.

How Long Does the Highlander Hybrid Last Compared to its Rivals?

Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs. Kia Sorento Hybrid

Kia has been making the midsize Sorento SUV since 2003, but the hybrid version was only recently introduced in 2021. 

The South Korean automaker doesn’t have as much experience with hybrid vehicles as Toyota, but it’s enjoyed a pretty solid reputation for reliability for over a decade.

Since there are not that many high mileage Kia hybrids on the road today, we remain conservative with our mileage estimates for the Kia Sorento Hybrid. 

We expect the Kia Sorento Hybrid to last 200,000 – 300,000 miles or 13 – 20 years, which is a little less than the lifespan of the Highlander Hybrid.

  • RepairPal gave the Toyota Highlander and Kia Sorento the same reliability rating of 4/5.
  • The Kia Sorento has a slightly higher average annual repair cost of $533 compared to only $489 for the Highlander.
  • Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the Highlander Hybrid a higher reliability rating of 4.9/5 compared to the Sorento Hybrid’s 4.5/5.
  • Edmunds consumer reviews gave the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid an overall rating of 4.1/5 which is almost the same as the Highlander Hybrid’s rating of 4/5.
  • J.D. Power gave the Kia Sorento a Quality & Reliability rating of 77/100 which is much lower than the Highlander’s rating of 82/100.

The Kia Sorento Hybrid uses the same engine and many of the hybrid components used in the Hyundai Tucson and Hyundai Santa Fe.

However, both Kia and Hyundai don’t have as much of a track record for their hybrid vehicles, and their long-term reliability has yet to be seen.

The Sorento Hybrid is much cheaper than the Highlander Hybrid, but Kias suffer heavily from depreciation compared to Toyota which has healthy resale values.

Reviews also tip the scales in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s favor if you’re looking to keep the vehicle for a very long time.

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Kia Sorento Hybrids Last?

Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs. RAV4 Hybrid

The RAV4 Hybrid is the smaller brother of the Highlander Hybrid. 

The RAV4’s hybrid variant was only recently added to the lineup in 2016. It uses the same engine and shares many hybrid components with the Highlander.

The RAV4 Hybrid should have the same longevity as the Highlander and can last over 300,000 which translates to over 20 years.

  • RepairPal gave the RAV4 and Highlander the same reliability rating of 4/5.
  • The RAV4 has a slightly lower average annual repair cost of $429 compared to $489 for the Highlander.
  • Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the Highlander Hybrid a much higher reliability rating of 4.9/5 compared to the RAV4 Hybrid’s 3.3/5. The RAV4 Hybrid has significantly more reviews though and many of the 1 star reviews are not related to reliability.
  • Edmunds consumer reviews gave the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid an overall rating of 4.1/5 which is almost the same as the Highlander Hybrid’s rating of 4/5.
  • J.D. Power gave the RAV4 a Quality & Reliability rating of 74/100 which is much lower than the Highlander’s rating of 82/100.

The RAV4 Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid will have similar lifespans.

The RAV4 Hybrid is much cheaper when looking at base models, but the gap becomes closer as you move up the range.

The choice really boils down to what you’re looking for in an SUV.

If you need the space and passenger capacity, the Highlander Hybrid is a no-brainer.

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Toyota RAV4 Hybrids Last?

Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs. Ford Explorer Hybrid

The Ford Explorer Hybrid is a new model that was only released in 2020.

Ford has had a lot of experience with hybrid drivetrains and produced the first-ever hybrid SUV with the Escape.

Given Ford’s slightly lower reputation for overall reliability, we predict the Explorer Hybrid’s average lifespan to be around 200,000 – 300,000 miles or 13 – 20 years.

  • RepairPal gave the Ford Explorer a lower reliability rating of 3.5/5 compared to Highlander’s rating of 4/5.
  • The Ford Explorer has a much higher average annual repair cost of $732 compared to $489 for the Highlander.
  • Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the latest generation Ford Explorer a much lower reliability rating of 3.7/5 compared to the Highlander Hybrid’s 4.9/5.
  • Edmunds consumer reviews gave the 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid an overall rating of 4.3/5 which is slightly higher than the Highlander Hybrid’s rating of 4/5.
  • J.D. Power gave the entire Ford Explorer lineup a Quality & Reliability rating of 81/100 which is almost the same as the Highlander’s rating of 82/100.

The 2020 release of the latest generation Ford Explorer saw a lot of issues that needed sorting out. However, quality control seems to have vastly improved with later model years.

Aside from being more expensive than the Highlander Hybrid, the Explorer Hybrid will likely require more upkeep as it gets up in age.

With the Highlander Hybrid’s outstanding track record, it is most certainly a safer bet if you’re concerned about long-term reliability.

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Ford Explorer Hybrids Last?

Comparison Chart

Highlander HybridSorento HybridRAV4 HybridExplorer Hybrid
RepairPal Reliability Rating*4/54/54/53.5/5
RepairPal Annual Repair Average*$489$533$429$732
KBB Consumer Rating4.9/54.5/53.3/53.7/5*
Edmunds Consumer Rating4/54.1/54.1/54.3/5
JD Power Rating*82/10077/10074/10081/100*
Expected Lifespan (miles)300k – 500k200k – 300k300k – 500k200k – 300k

* Ratings for entire model range (not specific to hybrid models)

Is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Reliable?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is an extremely reliable vehicle that requires minimal upkeep.

A long-term study conducted by iSeeCars concluded that the Highlander Hybrid has a very high chance of surpassing the 200,000-mile mark.

It was also the only hybrid SUV that was able to make its list of long-lasting vehicles.

The Highlander also benefits from Toyota’s extensive experience in developing hybrid vehicles.

It has spent over 20 years perfecting its Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) and has consistently been a market leader in hybrid sales throughout this time.

Here are some other reviews that further prove the Highlander Hybrid’s reliability:

  • Kelley Blue Book consumer reviews gave the latest generation of the Highlander Hybrid an outstanding 4.9/5 for reliability.
  • J.D. Power gave the Highlander Hybrid a ‘Great’ Quality & Reliability rating of 82/100. It also gets second place overall in the midsize SUV category.

Reliability Compare to Other SUVs

ModelReliability 
Mazda CX-54.5 / 5.0
Hyundai Santa Fe4.0 / 5.0
Toyota Venza4.0 / 5.0
Hyundai Veracruz4.0 / 5.0
Mitsubishi Endeavor4.0 / 5.0
Dodge Journey4.0 / 5.0
Toyota Highlander4.0 / 5.0
Dodge Nitro4.0 / 5.0
Toyota 4Runner4.0 / 5.0
Subaru Outback3.5 / 5.0
Ford Edge3.5 / 5.0
Toyota FJ Cruiser3.5 / 5.0
Honda Pilot3.5 / 5.0
Jeep Liberty3.5 / 5.0
Jeep Grand Cherokee3.5 / 5.0
Mazda CX-73.5 / 5.0
Nissan Pathfinder3.5 / 5.0
Subaru Tribeca3.5 / 5.0
Ford Explorer3.5 / 5.0
Ford Explorer Sport Trac3.5 / 5.0
Chevrolet Tahoe3.5 / 5.0
Chevrolet Traverse3.0 / 5.0
GMC Acadia3.0 / 5.0
Buick Enclave3.0 / 5.0
Volkswagen Touareg3.0 / 5.0
Ford Police Interceptor Utility2.0 / 5.0
Avg. Midsize SUV3.5

The Best and Worst Years for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The Highlander Hybrid has been on the market for over 15 years so it’s had its share of good and bad model years.

Worst Model Year

According to the CarComplaints database, the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the worst model year.

The 2008 Highlander Hybrid recorded the most number of complaints among all other model years and had the most occurrences of ABS failure. 

2008 was the first year of the second generation Highlander and subsequent model years had significantly less ABS actuator failures.

Best Model Year

The latest generation Toyota Highlander Hybrid from 2020 onwards are the best model years.

It not only has better styling and updated features, but also delivers much better fuel efficiency compared to previous generations.

Model Year and Number of Complaints

Here is the total number of complaints on the CarComplaints database for every model year of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid so far:

Model YearNo. of Complaints
20220
20210
20202
20191
20183
20175
20161
20151
20142
20135
20125
20112
20106
20095
200858
20075
200635

What About Recalls for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has had 77 recalls in total since it was first released in 2006.

You can check if your Toyota Highlander Hybrid has been subjected to a recall campaign by entering your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the Toyota recall site or the NHTSA recall database.

It is important to note that recalls are manufacturing faults repaired at no charge to the consumer.

Here is the total number of recall campaigns for every model year of the Highlander Hybrid:

  • 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 0
  • 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 1
  • 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 0
  • 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 0
  • 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 4
  • 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 3
  • 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 2
  • 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 5
  • 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 3
  • 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 2
  • 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 5
  • 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 11
  • 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 10
  • 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 14
  • 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 6
  • 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 11

Toyota Highlander Hybrid Model Year List

The Highlander Hybrid was first introduced in 2006 and is currently in its fourth generation.

First Generation (2006 – 2007):

  • 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 

Second Generation (2008 – 2013):

  • 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 

Third Generation (2014 – 2019):

  • 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 

Fourth Generation (2020 – present):

  • 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Toyota Sienna Hybrids Last?

Is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Expensive to Maintain?

The Highlander Hybrid is very inexpensive to maintain and only costs an average of $489 per year, which is the lowest in the midsize SUV segment.

According to RepairPal, the average annual repair cost for a midsize SUV is $573 while the average for all vehicles in its database is $652.

ModelAvg. Annual Repair CostFrequency of
Unscheduled Repairs (per year)
Probability of
Severe Repairs
Mazda CX-5$4470.38%
Hyundai Santa Fe$5150.210%
Toyota Venza$4440.510%
Hyundai Veracruz$5240.59%
Mitsubishi Endeavor$5150.212%
Dodge Journey$5620.312%
Toyota Highlander$4890.313%
Dodge Nitro$5820.313%
Toyota 4Runner$5140.413%
Subaru Outback$6070.412%
Ford Edge$6110.313%
Toyota FJ Cruiser$5060.514%
Honda Pilot$5420.513%
Jeep Liberty$6740.312%
Jeep Grand Cherokee$6660.313%
Mazda CX-7$4700.714%
Nissan Pathfinder$5420.415%
Subaru Tribeca$5630.713%
Ford Explorer$7320.214%
Ford Explorer Sport Trac$7200.314%
Chevrolet Tahoe$7440.316%
Chevrolet Traverse$6560.418%
GMC Acadia$7340.419%
Buick Enclave$7200.518%
Volkswagen Touareg$9370.913%
Ford Police Interceptor Utility$1,1601.020%
Avg. Midsize SUV$5730.413%

How Long Do the Brakes Last?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s brake pads should last up to 100,000 miles with normal use. The brake rotors can also last between 150,000 – 200,000 miles before they need replacing.

The Highlander Hybrid uses regenerative braking to charge the battery when you take your foot off the gas.

This system also slows down the vehicle considerably so you don’t need to use the brakes as much — extending the life of the pads and rotors.

There have been reports of early generations of the Highlander Hybrid, specifically the early 2nd gen models experiencing ABS failures after several years.

This can cost around $3,000 – $4,000 to repair if it hasn’t been addressed yet by the special extended warranty offered by Toyota.

How Long Do the Tires Last?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s factory tires can last 30,000 to 40,000 miles or around 2 to 4 years.

They can wear out much sooner depending on road conditions, driving habits, climate and maintenance.

Here are a couple of tips that will help you preserve the life of your tires:

  • Rotate tires every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear.
  • If you drive on rough roads or regularly launch the car and slam on the brakes, your tires will take more of a beating.
  • Check your tire pressure every few weeks to make sure they’re at the correct tire pressure.
  • Check your wheel alignment every 6 months.

Lower tread-wear tires wear out much sooner but provide much more grip.

How Long Do the Transmissions Last?

The third and fourth generation Toyota Highlander Hybrid use eCVT or Electronic Continuously Variable Transmissions.

Toyota’s eCVTs are pretty bulletproof and last much longer than traditional CVTs or even traditional automatic transmissions.

You can expect to get at least 500,000 miles out of the Highlander Hybrid’s transmission. 

The first and second generation Highlander Hybrids use traditional automatic transmissions which can still last well over 200,000 miles as long as they’re properly looked after.

How Long Will the Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s Electric Motors Last?

The Toyota Highlander’s hybrid motors can easily last over 500,000 miles.

The Highlander uses the same hybrid powertrain as the Camry Hybrid which are known to last hundreds of thousands of miles in taxi fleets and delivery vehicles.

Failures with Toyota’s electric hybrid motors are very rare and shouldn’t be much of a concern.

How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s spark plugs should be replaced every 120,000 miles or every 12 years, whichever comes first.

The Highlander Hybrid uses iridium spark plugs which have a much higher service life than traditional spark plugs. 

How Long Do Toyota Highlander Hybrid Batteries Last?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s high-voltage batteries can easily last well over 200,000 to 300,000 miles.

Many Toyota hybrids have even gone past the 300,000-mile mark using their original batteries, so you shouldn’t be worried about premature failures or issues.

If you do need to replace the hybrid batteries out of warranty, there are lots of aftermarket replacements available that only cost around $2,000.

This is a relatively small price to pay to extend the life of the vehicle, especially when you compare it to the price of EV batteries which cost at least 5 to 10 times more.

What About Insurance Costs?

According to Insuraviz’s estimates, the Toyota Highlander costs an average of $1,638 per year or roughly $137 per month to insure. 

Insurance costs can vary from person to person, so be sure to shop around to find the best possible deal for your Highlander Hybrid.

Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Toyota Highlander Hybrid

  • Practice smooth and safe driving habits..
  • Keep up to date with factory-recommended maintenance.
  • Use quality parts and fluids.
  • Keep on top of repairs to prevent them from developing into larger problems.
  • Regularly wash your Highlander Hybrid to remove dirt and grime to protect the paint and undercarriage from rust.
  • Keep your Toyota Highlander stored in a garage to help protect it from the elements.
  • Read the owner’s manual to learn the location of important components, what your Highlander needs and in what quantities, and to understand the symbols and dashboard warning lights.

Sources

https://www.caranddriver.com/toyota/highlander

https://repairpal.com/reliability/toyota/highlander

https://www.kbb.com/toyota/highlander-hybrid/

https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/highlander-hybrid/2021/consumer-reviews/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2021/toyota/highlander

https://www.iseecars.com/longest-lasting-cars-study

https://insuraviz.com/vehicles/toyota/toyota-highlander-insurance/