14 Best & Worst Toyota Highlander Hybrid Years (With Stats)

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a three-row crossover that was introduced in 2006.

It offers impressive fuel economy, lots of passenger and cargo space and excellent safety ratings.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at all of the best and worst model years of the Highlander Hybrid.

2023 Highlander Hybrid

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Are:

The best Toyota Highlander Hybrid model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018. The worst model years of the Highlander Hybrid are 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2017, 2015, and 2016. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2023 Highlander Hybrid is a stable, modern and reliable choice – ideal for those who need to haul a bigger family on a budget.

It has great fuel economy, plenty of standard and available safety features, and a comfortable ride.

New for 2023 is a bigger touchscreen display (12.3 inches) for the Limited, Platinum, and Bronze Edition trims, a standard digital instrument panel, and power-folding mirrors for the higher end variants.

There are 5 trims to choose from: LE, XLE, Bronze Edition, Limited, and Platinum.

Base MSRP for various trims range from approximately $42,000 to $52,000.

The most in-demand variant is the XLE trim, with a starting price of $44,555.

All models are powered a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors for a combined 243 horsepower.

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2023 Highlander Hybrid, Edmunds review:

“This SUV has met all of my expectations. It is very comfortable, and spacious. I truly don’t miss the V-6 at all. My overall gas mileage is averaging 33.5 mpg, not quite the 35, but, I do live in a hilly area and this will affect the overall mpg if you don’t do a lot of highway driving. I highly recommend that buyers utilize the adaptive cruise control whenever possible, even for short trips. This helps maximize fuel efficiency…”

2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2022 Highlander Hybrid is fuel-efficient, affordable, and surprisingly easy to drive.

It has lots of standard and optional safety features, including: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist.

It also received a perfect 5-star collision test rating from NHTSA.

For 2022 the Bronze Edition trim made its debut, bringing the total trim count to 5 (LE, XLE, Bronze Edition, Limited, and Platinum).

According to EPA estimates, you can expect around 36 MPG in combined city and highway driving, which is excellent for the segment.

Based on owner reviews, the highlights of this hybrid SUV are: fuel efficiency, comfort, appearance, driving experience, reliability, manufacturing quality, climate control, and acceleration.

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2022 Highlander Hybrid, Edmunds review:

“I have owned my new 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid for over a month now. Really impressed with how little gas it takes for such a big SUV. Everything is good except cargo space/trunk, which is too small and too high. Got it brand new…”

2022 Highlander Hybrid

2021 and 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2021 and 2020 Highlander Hybrid models are the first and second installments of the fourth generation.

For the 2020 the Highlander was fully redesigned and received an upgraded 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, replacing the previous model years’ V6 engine.

Despite the drop in engine power (by approximately 60 hp), fuel efficiency significantly increased by around 7 to 8 MPG.

This brings the total average combined fuel efficiency to 36 MPG.

There are 4 trims to choose from for both models: LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum.

These models also received a perfect 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA based on various crash tests.

According to owners, these are the best features of these SUVs: comfort, interior, seating, fuel economy, spaciousness, driving experience, ride quality, and towing capacity.

2021 Highlander Hybrid:

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2020 Highlander Hybrid:

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2020 Highlander Hybrid, Edmunds review:

“After nearly a decade of owning 2 different Prius models, I am very happy to say that our new 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE is a welcome addition to our family. Not only is it extremely comfortable, but the ride quality is an amazing experience. Quiet, comfortable and yet still great on gas mileage. We are approaching 40 miles per gallon on average and yet there is plenty of power when we want or need it…”

2020 Highlander Hybrid

2019 and 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2019 and 2018 Highlander Hybrid models are the final installments of the third generation, these models were far more reliable than their immediate predecessors.

Both models offer impressive fuel economy, practical sizing, and affordable pricing.

Other benefits include plentiful standard safety tech, as well as a quiet and smooth ride.

Both models (across all trims) are fitted with a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with 3 electric motors (306 horsepower).

All-wheel-drive is standard, as well as its continuously variable transmission (CVT).

According to the EPA, fuel economy is 29 MPG for combined driving, 28 MPG for highway driving, and 30 MPG for city driving. 

2019 Highlander Hybrid:

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2018 Highlander Hybrid:

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2018 Highlander Hybrid, Edmunds review:

“This is easily my favorite car I’ve ever owned. I’ve just begun breaking the car in, but it has been great thus far. The Highlander Hybrid is the only non-luxury hybrid crossover that offers three rows. Depending on discounts you can get you will be paying a little bit more for the hybrid compared to an identical non-hybrid Highlander…”

2019 Highlander Hybrid

Consumer Scores For Best Toyota Highlander Hybrid Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid4.7 / 5.04.6 / 5.082 / 100
2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid4.2 / 5.04.6 / 5.082 / 100
2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid4.0 / 5.04.6 / 5.082 / 100
2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid4.5 / 5.04.6 / 5.085 / 100
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid4.3 / 5.04.5 / 5.081 / 100
2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid4.4 / 5.04.5 / 5.084 / 100

Related: 7 Most Common Toyota Highlander Hybrid Problems (Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

2006 and 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2006 and 2007 Highlander Hybrids were the debut models and they got off to a bit of a bump start, accumulating hundreds of complaints. The 2006 model received far more complaints although both models shared similar issues – most of which were related to the brakes.

The most common issue was brake actuator failure, which meant some owners lost braking power whilst driving.

“The first issue that was to arise was the brake actuator pump. I noticed it was failing when I got in the vehicle to move it out of the driveway and noticed after I put the car in gear that there was no power brake assist. When the car was shifted into drive the car began rolling even while I was pushing hard on the brakes.”

“Brake actuator went out, I had read this is an ongoing issue with this vehicle. I tried to see if I qualified for a covered repair and was told it had ended.”

Another common issue with the 06 and 07 Highlanders is a defective ABS control module.

“I was driving the car then as I hit the brakes it felt like they were not engaging until I applied more pressure. Then as I was almost home the abs and traction control lights came on. Took it to a specialist and they said that the abs module would have to be replaced.”

Owners also widely reported that the vehicle would at times accelerate on its own, as described by one owner below:

“We have noticed a “glitch” that might be related to the same problem that the Prius has and thought we should report it. Occasionally, when we step on the brake, and after the car is slowing down, the engine will surge forward as if it wants to accelerate again.”

  • The 2006 Highlander Hybrid had a total of 633 complaints according to NHTSA and 38 complaints at CarComplaints.com.
  • The 2007 Highlander Hybrid had a total of 227 complaints according to NHTSA and 5 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Brake actuator failure
  • ABS control module faulty
  • Vehicle accelerates on its own
  • VSC warning light comes on
  • Loss of power steering
  • Vehicle shutdown whilst driving

2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2008 Highlander Hybrid is another highly problematic model.

This model received a large number of complaints from owners who described receiving warning messages on the dash instructing them pull over to safety.

Owners also reported that whilst driving the engine died abruptly and all power was lost.

“While driving my car at approximately 55mph all the dashboard lights flashed and then the check hybrid system light came on and stayed on. It said that there was a problem with the hybrid system to pull over as soon as you could safely and to contact the dealer. Well, the engine died abruptly and lost power immediately.”

“Highlander hybrid 2008 we were driving on a country back road. In Idaho, we had just stopped at a stop sign and went to drive forward after going around 100-200 meters and the car lurched forward while I was driving and then the screen with all the warnings began going off. All of them saying pull over to the side of the road and that all the systems were failing.”

Brake problems were also widespread – a carryover issue from the 2006 and 2007 model years.

Owners reported failure of the brake actuator, brake booster and ABS control module.

In some instances owners describe the problem as ongoing despite having various parts replaced.

The 2008 Highlander Hybrid had a total of 578 complaints according to NHTSA and 60 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Brake actuator failure
  • ABS control module faulty
  • Vehicle accelerates on its own
  • VSC warning light comes on
  • Loss of power steering
  • Vehicle shutdown whilst driving

2009 and 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2009 and 2010 Highlander Hybrids weren’t as problematic as their predecessors however they were less reliable than many of their successors.

A large number of owners reported that the rear door actuator and sensor were malfunctioning which meant they would receive a warning that the rear gate is ajar.

“Every time I accelerate, break, turn, coming to a stop and going over a bump my door ajar chimes on the dash for the back door (hatch). Also, the dome lights come on when the chime and picture pops up that my rear gate is ajar. I believe this is a safety issue because I am not the only car with this exact same issue.”

“Indicator warning for rear back door open when it is secure and locked. Interior lights go on as well as warning bell. Vehicle brought to Toyota service dept. State they cannot duplicate-however it is becoming more frequent each time I drive vehicle.”

These models also received complaints for failed brake actuators and booster pumps.

“The brake actuator and brake booster pump malfunctioned. The ABS warning came on the display, as well as a warning saying “Brake Malfunction: pull over car immediately.” 

  • The 2009 Highlander Hybrid had a total of 166 complaints according to NHTSA and 5 complaints at CarComplaints.com.
  • The 2010 Highlander Hybrid had a total of 227 complaints according to NHTSA and 6 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Rear door actuator and sensor malfunctioning
  • Brake booster failure
  • Brake actuator failure
  • Vehicle accelerated on its own
2010 Highlander Hybrid

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2017 Highlander Hybrid isn’t a clunker however it did receive a higher-than-average number of complaints. The most common and serious issue a number of owners reported is that the vehicle would stall and fail to start.

  • “My car stalled slightly and then an engine icon appeared. A message appeared for me to visit my dealer.”
  • “Five different times failure to start the engine and battery appears drained with approx. 30k miles.”
  • “I was out for heading home & my vehicle would not start. I had the brake pedal pressed & pushed the start engine button. The vehicle just made a rapid clicking noise.”

According to NHTSA data one of the biggest problem areas is the electrical system, and owners reported a variety of issues.

“I purchased my Highlander new in 2017 and I have had consistent electrical issues. The radio has consistently fluctuated between bass, treble, and off for no apparent reason. I have taken my vehicle to the dealer 4 times and still no change. I have replaced the battery 3 times…”

“The hands free calling feature has a serious echo when calling to the driver while on the road making it useless to use.”

The 2017 Highlander Hybrid had a total of 169 complaints according to NHTSA and 5 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Bluetooth audio echo
  • Engine stalling
  • Vehicle would not start
  • Leather seats stain easily
  • Musty smell from air conditioning
2017 Highlander Hybrid

2015 and 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The 2015 and 2016 Highlander Hybrids are two of the least problematic models on this list however they had their fair share of complaints.

A common issue was that the door locks stopped working due to door actuator failure.

“The actuators on all the door are going out, they randomly work. It’s a safety issue if you needed to exit the car for any emergency or making sure your car is locked and secured.”

“The door locks have stopped working one by one.”

A small number of owners reported sudden unintentional acceleration and the vehicle shutting off whilst driving, however these are by no means widespread issues.

  • The 2015 Highlander Hybrid had a total of 164 complaints according to NHTSA and 1 complaint at CarComplaints.com.
  • The 2016 Highlander Hybrid had a total of 98 complaints according to NHTSA and 1 complaint at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Doors not locking
  • Vehicle shuts off whilst driving
  • Cruise control does not maintain speed
2016 Highlander Hybrid

Related: How Long Do Toyota Highlander Hybrids Last? (Solved)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid010
2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid002
2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid111
2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid312
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid350
2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid450
2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid51692
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid1980
2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid11640
2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid21
2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid50
2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid50
2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid21
2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid62274
2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid51664
2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid605788
2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid52272
2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid386336

What Problems Do Toyota Highlander Hybrids Have?

  • ABS light stays on
  • Defective brake actuator assembly
  • Check brake alert on
  • Inverter failure
  • Brake boost actuator/pump failure
  • Will not start without a jump
  • Died while driving
  • Power hatchback stopped working
  • Alarm sounding intermittently
  • Vehicle shaking
  • Poorly designed seats
  • Driver’s door will not unlock
  • Headlight malfunction
  • No storage space
  • Musty smell from air conditioner

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Hyundai Tucson Hybrid8.7$30,900 – $44,310Electric: 80 /Gas: 35 – 38
Kia Sportage Hybrid8.7$27,490 – $36,390City: 38 – 42 /Highway: 38 – 44
Mazda CX-90 PHEV8.5$47,445 – $56,950City: NA /Highway: NA
Honda CR-V Hybrid8.3$32,450 – $38,600City: 40 – 43 /Highway: 34 – 36
Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid8.3$35,660 – $41,320City: 33 – 36 /Highway: 30 – 31
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid8.2$30,225 – $38,530City: 41 /Highway: 38
Toyota Highlander Hybrid8.1$40,220 – $52,425City: 35 – 36 /Highway: 34 – 35
Toyota RAV4 Prime8.1$41,590 – $45,460Electric: 94 /Gas: 38
Kia Sorento Hybrid8.0$36,590 – $49,890City: 36 – 39 /Highway: 33 – 35
Kia Niro7.9$26,590 – $39,590Electric: 105 /Gas: 46 – 53
Ford Escape Hybrid7.7$29,345 – $40,500City: 26 – 42 /Highway: 32 – 36
Subaru Crosstrek7.7$36,845Electric: 90 /Highway: 35

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 19 Best & Worst Toyota Highlander Years (With Facts & Stats)












  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...