Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Toyota, Toyota Highlander, hybrid car, green car, green transportation, test drive, Laura Cowan, Laura K. Cowan

In this case, it’s all about usage. The Highlander Hybrid is the kind of vehicle you might buy for a family that needs to haul gear but still wants to go green. That’s suburb territory, generally. And Toyota found the sweet spot for this application. The energy required to accelerate from start in a vehicle this size seems to cancel out the usual gains you get from regenerative braking, so the best use for the Highlander is suburban drives. The Highlander is smooth, there is a fine amount of horsepower for an SUV, and the vehicle includes great amenities such as online apps, DVD player, and rear HVAC controls you would find in any upmarket SUV.

Do you need this car? If you can make do with a smaller vehicle or drive mostly in city traffic, you’ll be happier in a littler hybrid, but for people needing a larger car, the Highlander Hybrid SUV is one of the first SUVs we have seen that really delivers on its mileage promises. But that’s for low-speed cruising. If you drive this for high-speed commutes your mileage will go down, and in-town stop-and-go can’t pull in the efficiencies here like you can get in a small hybrid. Hockey moms rejoice! (Or artists schlepping canvases downtown.) The Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV is some serious green for your hard-driving lifestyle.

+ Toyota