2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Everything we know [Update]

  • America's popular three-row SUV gets minor updates for the new model year
  • 2023 Highlander delivers the same fuel economy as the previous model – 36 MPG
  • Priced from USD 40,220 (excl. USD 1,335 DPH fee)
  • Now available at dealerships, with the new 'Grand Highlander' expected in mid-2023

Update: ‘Hybrid Powertrain returns unchanged,’ ‘Price & Release Date,’ and ‘Sales’ sections updated and ‘TopElectricSUV says’ section added.

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). 

2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid rear
The combined hybrid output is 243 hp—the engine produces 186 hp and 175 lb-ft. MY2022 Highlander is pictured here. Image: Toyota

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.

The 2023 Highlander Hybrid delivers the same fuel economy as the previous model:

Trim\Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined)2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid FWD2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD
LE36/35/3635/35/35
XLE36/35/3635/35/35
Bronze Edition36/35/3635/35/35
Limited36/35/3635/34/35
Platinum36/35/3635/34/35
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid fuel economy (Source: EPA)

Upgraded Toyota Audio Multimedia

2023 Toyota Highlander upgraded screen
A new 12.3-inch central infotainment screen (same as the new Toyota Tundra) is standard on the Limited, Platinum, and Hybrid Bronze variants. Image: Toyota

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. 

More features

2023 Toyota Highlander wireless charging
The wireless charging deck has been moved from the center console to the instrument panel shelf to make it more accessible. Image: Toyota

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

2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid side profile
Bronze elements on the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition make it stand apart. MY2022 version is pictured here. Image: Toyota

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).

2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid prices have not been released yet. Image: Toyota

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

Prices of the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid start at USD 40,220 (excl. USD 1,335 DPH fee), which marks a USD 620 price hike over the previous model. The new model has started arriving at U.S. dealers.

Sales

Toyota sold 31,787 units of the Highlander Hybrid in the U.S. between January and October 2022. Compared to the same period in 2021 (50,464 units), this marked a 37% decline in sales. With the supply chain bottlenecks easing, the MY2023 update could revive the popularity of the hybrid SUV.

TopElectricSUV says

The 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 for the 2023 model year. A larger ‘Toyota Grand Highlander’ is in the works and should follow in mid-2023. Customers looking for a more spacious three-row SUV could consider waiting for the extended model.

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 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid price?

The 2023 Highlander Hybrid’s prices range between USD 40,220 and 50,475 (excl. USD 1,335 DPH fee).

What is the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid release date?

The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is now available at dealerships.

Featured Image Source: Toyota