After a complete redesign last year, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, a midsize crossover SUV that carries five to seven passengers, is unchanged for 2009. The base trim comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-way adjustable driver seat, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, a six-speaker sound system with a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack and a keyless ignition. The Highlander Hybrid is powered by a 3.3L V6 gas engine that makes 209 hp and is paired to two electric motors. This gas-electric combination routes power to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission to achieve 270 hp in combined power. In addition, the Highlander Hybrid uses a third electric motor to extend power to the rear wheels as needed. Highlander Hybrid fuel economy ratings boast 27 mpg city/25 mpg hwy and 26 mpg in combined driving. Standard safety features include stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes with brake assist, hill start assist, a plethora of airbags and a back-up camera.Read more Read less
Following a major redesign in 2008, the 2009 Highlander sees few changes. A new base-level 2-wheel-drive 4-cylinder model joins the lineup, featuring a 187-horsepower 2.7-liter engine that gets an estimated 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway and is rated as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle by the EPA. Two-row seating is standard in the base model, with third-row seating and an upgraded stereo optional.
Roomy, versatile interior; seating for seven; surprising acceleration; confident ride; available hybrid and 4-cylinder models; towing ability.
The 2009 Toyota Highlander offers seating for seven and is surprisingly versatile, with properly equipped versions able to tow up to 5,000 pounds. The base model is a strong value, while the Sport and Limited can be loaded to the gills with luxury features. Also, the Highlander offers a very robust list of standard safety features, including a total of seven air bags.