This car is the nicest car I've ever owned, so that may skew my review. It handles so smoothly and gets excellent gas mileage, which is the reason we went with this car. We wanted a larger SUV that would suit our active lifestyles, as well as accompany our 2 dogs. However, we were deterred by many SUVs due to the horrible gas mileage. Honestly, its been 100 years since cars became a household commodity - one would think more advancements had been made in that time. Anyways, the Highlander Hybrid was the only one that had the interior size and gas mileage we wanted at an affordable price point in our budget. All the little luxury features on this non-luxury car make it a joy to drive and to ride in.
I purchased a 2008 Toyota Highlander Limited Hybrid in March of 2011 after a great deal of research and analysis. The vehicle had 95% of what I was looking for. Three options not on the vehicle were roof rack, sun roof, and navigation system. These turned out to be items I do not miss. Exterior is a pearl white with nice lines. Interior is grey. Lots of interior room. Separate AC control for back seat. There is 3rd row seating which should be used for those under 5'2", and only when necessary. The front seating is spacious and very adjustable. If this is your first hybrid, then you will need to sit in the vehicle and review the operator�s manual. A lot of information to intake, and data in the screen and on the dash. Most of the controls are intuitive. Some are not. For instance, on the shift lever between the seats are the normal letters: P, R, N, D. Then there is B. B is for breaking which drives energy to the battery. If you don't have the navigation system, you will have a screen in the top center of the dash which has a lot of data, and ties to the camera in the rear of the car. It is activated when the car is in reverse. So, review the manual. The engine is very interesting. Very quiet when on battery. You can walk away from the vehicle and not know you left it running. The mileage is listed as 29 city and 25 highway. Yes, that is correct. City mileage will depend highly upon your driving habits. Rabbiting and sudden stops will dramatically reduce your mileage as the battery will have little chance to employ. I drove the vehicle on one tank of gas for 70 miles interstate, 70 miles state highway, and 180 miles state roads on one tank of gas averaging 29.4 miles a gallon driving to pick a son up from college and bring him and his belongings home, impressive. In the town I live, I average more in the area of 22 - 24 miles a gallon. Acceleration is good and will get you up and on the Interstate from an on ramp. Breaking is good and will provide stopping in a panic stop. This vehicle is an energy efficient SUV with great fuel mileage for such a large SUV. Nice inside and spacious. Very well laid out. Excellent upscale family vehicle.
After debating for about, oh, 4 years I finally made the decision to purchase the Highlander. We went with a hybrid as the mpg was similar to our trade-in. There are a few things to get used to (when the gas system "shuts down" at lights for example) but we love it! This was the best car purchase we have made in a long time! Our dog loves the extra space and our friends love the third row for when we go out--instead of 2 cars we take one!