The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is fun for the family


Experienced by Adrian McQueen

Photography by Adrenaline Lifestyles


In the land of palm trees, sunny skies, mural walls and sandy beaches the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid platinum set the tone as being the stylish vehicle to tote the family around. The Toyota Highlander, also known as the Toyota Kluger, is a 5-door mid-size crossover SUV.  After being announced in April 2000 at the New York International Auto Show, it hit the scene in late 2000 in Japan and January 2001 in North America. It was one of the first mid-size crossover SUV’s on the market and still one of the strongest on the market. The 2021 Toyota Highlander ranks highly in the midsize SUV class.

The weekend getaway was a well-needed break from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C. Not saying that Miami is a lethargic town but it is quite relaxing to rise early for morning runs on the beach, relaxing at the pool and dining at the local cafes, while enjoying good food and taking in the sights.

Upon first look, you notice the rugged styling of the Highlander. Throughout the Miami weekend, I received numerous compliments and praise about our hybrid version that came in a blueprint hue with LED headlights, LED fog lamps, LED accent strips on the headlights, folding heated power side mirrors with the puddle lamps, 20-inch alloy wheels and the panoramic view moon roof with sunshade.

The interior of the Highlander is even more impressive. The Hybrid platinum trim adds a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display with dynamic navigation, leather-trimmed seating, heated second row captain seats and a 360-degree view camera system. There is also a rear-seat entertainment system is available on all Highlanders except for the LE and LE Plus models. I love having the second-row captain’s chairs because they allow for more room as I have two baby seats in the vehicle with me. This is also a benefit in getting the bigger kids to their third-row seating, once in the vehicle.

The 2021 Highlander has multiple usb ports. There is also the Entune app suite, Bluetooth, voice recognition, tri-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, HD Radio, proximity key entry, push-button start, a 120-volt outlet and Driver Easy Speak. The dashboard’s layout includes several controls around the touch screen, although I feel that some are difficult to reach while driving. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are included, along with the QI-Wireless Smartphone Charger.  The JBL sound system includes 11 speakers, a subwoofer and an amplifier. The crystal clear sound and booming bass kept us grooving the entire trip.

The Toyota Highlander seats up to seven people. The third-row seat is perfectly suitable for children. Adults can fit but it would not be comfortable over an extended amount of time. Having a young child, it was important to me that the Highlander has two complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in its second row. The lower anchors were pretty easy to access. The Highlander comes with a power lift gate that opens to good amount of cargo space.

The Highlander provides a comfortable and quiet ride. Our tested Highlander comes with a 2.5-liter $ cylinder engine, delivering 243 horsepower. The tested Highlander returns EPA fuel economy ratings of 35 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 35 mpg combined, which is pretty decent a midsize SUV. I felt that the ride was smooth over most surfaces and the cabin was void of road noise. When properly equipped, it can tow 3,500 pounds.

Toyota does not mess around when it comes to safety. The Highlander Hybrid Platinum trim Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ pre-collision system includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection, rearview camera, lane-departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and a surround-view monitor.

The Toyota Highlander competes with the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, Nissan Pathfinder, Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Santa Fe and Volkswagen Atlas. The Toyota Highlander is one of the best-selling midsize SUVs.  Toyota offers a limited warranty covering 3 years or 36,000 miles, a powertrain warranty covering 5 years or 60,000 miles and complimentary maintenance that is covered for 2 years or 25,000 miles. Our model tested comes in at $50,808.00.

The entire family had a great time riding around town in the 2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid platinum. The Highlander is spacious, stylish, comfortable and definitely a fun vehicle in my book. Enjoy the photo gallery.


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