2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Let’s see….I bring my groceries home in reusable grocery bags, I recycle all paper and plastic, I clean with only organic detergents, I purchase natural grown fruits and vegetables and last week I drove the Highlander Hybrid. Yes, I am doing my part to save the planet and go green.

Little of substance has changed between the 2008 and the 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. My test vehicle had the 3.3L V6 engine and electric motor which provided good smooth acceleration and allowed it to achieve highway speeds easily. When you turn the key it seems like nothing happens. Rest assured, the vehicle is operational. The gas engine doesn’t start until it is needed. The gas engine also shuts off at stoplights but starts up again and gets moving when accelerating. Under the right conditions (coolant temperatures and full battery charge) you can press the EV, electric vehicle mode, button and drive the Hybrid up to two miles at less than 25 miles per hour on electric power alone. This is a great feature in stop and go traffic.

The Highlander is a so called cross-over SUV, meaning it’s built more like a car than a truck. As a result the Highlander offers a quiet cabin and a luxurious ride having been based on the architectural design of the Toyota Camry midsize sedan. Overall, I found the Toyota Highlander a great way to move people. The second row seats can slide forward and back and getting into the first two rows is easy and the removable middle seat can also be replaced by a center console. A walkthrough with fold and slide forward second-row seats add ease when accessing the optional third row, which can actually accommodate both children and adults.

Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid comes standard with some of my favorite features. Smart Entry System which includes keyless entry and push button starting, a 3.5-inch multifunction display screen that includes a rear back up camera, a clock, tire-pressure display, air conditioning readout, outside temperature gauge and trip computer information. An automatic rear air conditioning system with rear vents for the second and third row seating was an added option on my test vehicle but one I’d definitely include.

The 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid offers more room and more power without giving up fuel economy. With 25 highway miles per gallon and 27 city miles per gallon the Hybrid offers excellent fuel economy, particularly in the stop-and-go traffic or major metros. Emissions are also extremely low. If you add in the excellent reliability of a Toyota and resale value you can see why the Highlander Hybrid is a wise choice for active families and those who just want to “go green”

I have come to the realization that when I get into a vehicle for the first time, I immediately look at the cup holder options. Call me shallow or just an avid coffee drinker, who is seldom without a cup, but I found in talking to other people, women in particular, that this is a very important aspect of how we feel about the vehicle.

On a scale of 1-10

Cup holders – 10 With 10, plus a bottle holder in each door, there are plenty of storage spaces for small items.