The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is not a significant departure from the 2022 model, but there are some differences in equipment levels. The 2023 model has more features, gets mild interior styling upgrades, and sports larger screens on every variant.
Here’s everything you should know about the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid:
Hybrid Powertrain returns unchanged
The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s powertrain remains unchanged. Offered in FWD and AWD, the SUV is powered by a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine that runs on the more efficient Atkinson cycle. The engine is assisted by two electric motor-generators (MG1 and MG2) on all hybrid variants and an additional rear axle-mounted electric motor (only on the AWD).
The front electric motor also powers the Variable Valve Timing. The combined hybrid output is 243 hp—the engine produces 186 hp and 175 lb-ft. The rear electric motor activates when the system senses the loss of traction on the front wheels to provide the extra grip. Customers can choose between Normal, Eco, Sport, and EV driving modes.
The EV mode only runs for short distances, depending on the battery’s state of charge. Moreover, the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid also features brake energy recovery to improve the battery’s charge. Additionally, Toyota’s Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) analyzes driving behavior and traffic conditions to optimize battery usage and charging.
Manufacturer estimated combined fuel efficiency of the 2023 model is 36 mpg, 12 mpg more than the non-hybrid model in the United States.
Upgraded Toyota Audio Multimedia
Toyota has replaced the 4.2-inch TFT digital cluster with a new 7-inch screen on the base LE variant of the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Meanwhile, on the Limited and Platinum variants, Toyota has dropped the 7-inch cluster for a larger 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with four visual modes: Casual, Smart, Tough, and Sporty.
Moreover, a new 12.3-inch central infotainment screen (same as the 2022 Toyota Tundra) is standard on the Limited, Platinum, and Hybrid Bronze variants. Additionally, the lower variants continue with the 8-inch infotainment. However, customers can upgrade to the 12.3-inch unit on the XLE variant by paying extra.
The Toyota Audio Multimedia screens are designed and engineered by Toyota’s Texas-based connected technologies team. It continues to feature over-the-air (OTA) updates, “Hey Toyota” voice commands, Cloud Navigation and Google Points-Of-Interest, and more. There are also new graphics, higher resolution, and a 12-speaker, 1,200-watt JBL sound system.
Toyota Audio Multimedia also continues to feature Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Moreover, the Wi-Fi Connect offers 4G compatibility for five devices. Wi-Fi Connect also allows streaming music from Apple Music or Amazon Music.
The Limited and Platinum variants of the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid come with power-folding exterior mirrors as standard in America. Moreover, the wireless charging deck has been moved from the center console to the instrument panel shelf to make it more accessible for the front passengers.
Additionally, the XLE variant also features a hands-free powered tailgate—customers have to wave their foot under the rear bumper, and the sensor prompts the door to unlock and open. The XLE variant with captain seats for the second row can be equipped with a regular bench seat.
All 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid variants have improved NVH levels and sound dampening. The Limited and Platinum variants feature acoustic glass on the front passenger windows to better insulate the vehicle from outside disturbances that filter into the cabin.
Hybrid Bronze Edition retained for 2023
Toyota has added a new Cypress exterior color option, while Noble Brown interior accents have been replaced with Black on the Harvest Beige and Glazed Caramel interior themes in the United States. Moreover, the Hybrid Bronze Edition introduced in 2021 returns for the 2023 model year.
The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition continues to be available with Cement (exclusive), Wind Chill Pearl, and Midnight Black exterior color options. It also features 18-inch bronze wheels as standard. The special edition features SofTex-trimmed fabric seats, bronze stitching, illuminated door sills, and a bronze-stitched cargo mat, among other interior styling elements.
Loaded with safety features
The Toyota Highlander is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awardee, the organization’s highest rating. The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid features Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ that features a raft of safety features. The list includes Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection (PCS w/ PD), Full-speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/ SA), Lane Trace Assist (LTA), Road Sign Assist (RSA) and Automatic High Beams (AHB).
Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard features on the U.S.spec model. Limited and Platinum variants get front and rear parking assist with automatic braking. Bird’s Eye View with Perimeter Scan is available on the Limited and standard on the Platinum. The Highlander Hybrid also features stability control and traction control.
Moreover, a feature specific to the hybrid models is Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), which makes a host of safety functions work together seamlessly. VDIM makes the ABS, Brake Assist, Traction Control, VSC, hill assist, and the EPS work in conjunction, controlling the hybrid system output to keep the vehicle stable on low-grip surfaces.
Price & Release Date
The Toyota Highlander is the best-selling mid-size SUV in the United States, so Toyota hasn’t tampered with the formula. Instead, it made the SUV more appealing with mild upgrades. Expect costs to go up slightly considering the added equipment. The MY2023 version is not listed on the Toyota USA official website, but we expect the hybrid SUV to be at the dealers by late summer. Interestingly, the company is also working on a larger Toyota Grand Highlander that will likely be at dealers in mid-2023.
The 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has been among the most popular hybrid SUVs in America in Q1 2022. Even though sales were down by 13.3% compared to Q1 2021, Toyota managed to sell 16,543 units of the hybrid version in the United States in the first three months of 2022; 18,816 units were sold in Q1 2021. The 2023 model is expected to allure a lot of new buyers.
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid FAQs
Which are the competitors to the 2023 Toyota Highlander?
Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Ford Explorer and the Chevrolet Traverse are some of the alternatives.
What is the expected 2023 Toyota Highlander price?
We expect the 2023 Highlander Hybrid’s price range to extend between USD 40,000-50,000.
What is the 2023 Toyota Highlander release date?
Expect the SUV in showrooms in late summer/early fall 2022.
Featured Image Source: Toyota