Great car/SUV, handles well, excellent acceleration on freeway, mountain passes, quiet, comfortable. Expected better gas mileage with the hybrid, but not bad. It's causing me to drive more conservatively as I watch how it's being powered. Would buy again.
I owned a Prius for 6 months before I purchased a Highlander Hybrid (I still also own the Prius). They are two very different cars. Driven very, very carefully, the Highlander Hybrid will get 30 MPG, whereas the Prius, driven the same, will get 60 MPG. Driven normally, the Highlander gets 24 MPG and the Prius gets 45 MPG. The Highlander Hybrid is a LOT more fun than the Prius. If you floor it on dry pavement it will do 60 MPH in 6 seconds -- amazing for a car this size, and the exact opposite of what you'd expect from a Hybrid. It actually feels a lot like a supercharged V6. The Higlander Hybrid also handles and drives very much like a normal SUV. You can just get in and drive it like a normal car without realizing it's a Hybrid (except that it doesn't make any of the normal "starting" noise when you turn the key, and is practically dead silent at stoplights). Seems like Toyota's goal on the Highlander Hybrid was to achieve *extra* performance without sacrificing economy, whereas on the Prius, their goal was clearly just the best economy possible in a reasonably practical car. The 3rd row seat is suitable only for children (or maybe small adults, for a very short trip). The rest of the 2006 Highlander is very comfortable and practical. If you're looking for fantastic mileage, get a Prius. If you're looking for the most eco-friendly, fuel-efficient way to carry 7 people or extra cargo, plus some very serious engine power, get a Highlander Hybrid. Hope this helps.
Traded in a 2003 Escape for this 2006 Highlander. Was looking for a little more room plus a more comfortable ride. Very smooth ride and much less road noise than the Escape. This is the first Hybrid I've had and it does have differences, not bad but different. The engine shuts down when stopped, feels like the car has stalled at first. When starting, the gas engine comes on after about 20 seconds but you can start driving before then. I notice the brakes feel and sound different (slight whine) which I assume is the system charging the battery. Highway speeds don't feel as steady as other cars, it may again be the periodic charging of the battery. Mileage so far has been about 27, normal driving, not too aggressive but not in the slow lane.