Toyota Has the Best Electric SUV for Families

With impressive gas mileage and top-notch safety features, the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a practical and reliable choice for your next family vehicle.
Written by Elaine Duvet
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Apr 2, 2022
If you’re looking for a family-friendly SUV that’s also an
electric car
, look no further. Though it carries a steep starting price of $38,855, the 2022
Toyota
Highlander Hybrid has excellent fuel economy and lots of standard safety features. 
Check out why
U.S. News
named the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid the best hybrid and electric SUV.

A smooth ride with an energetic powertrain

This midsize family SUV makes little compromise. The functional car sports a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor. According to
Kelley Blue Book (KBB)
, “Front-wheel drive is standard, and the optional AWD system adds a second electric motor for the rear wheels, but it doesn’t change the SUV’s power or torque rating.”
The Highlander Hybrid cranks out 243 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. And its estimated fuel economy is 36 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Compared to the Ford Explorer Hybrid, it’s much more efficient (even if it is less powerful). 
The experience of driving the Highlander Hybrid is serene. According to KBB, “The hybrid powertrain delivers a smooth and comfortable ride while you enjoy the nicely appointed interior.” 
While this electric SUV delivers plenty of comforts, it’s not a sporty ride by any means. “This safe and reliable hybrid 3-row SUV is not for the driving enthusiast, but that’s no surprise,” KBB notes.
Some hybrids have awkward feeling brakes due to their regenerative braking system. But the brake pedals on the Highlander Hybrid feel consistent and normal.

A cushioned ride and refined cabin

The interior is comfortable, attractive, and high-quality throughout all trims. However, “it gets more luxurious in the upper trims with features like leather seats, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, and a panoramic moonroof,” KBB notes. 
The well-built cabin offers a limited amount of hard plastics and upscale cloth upholstery. If you’d prefer a synthetic or genuine leather option, those are available on higher trim levels. 
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid can seat up to eight people. There’s ample space in the first two rows, but folks in the third row won’t have the same experience. The last row is best suited for small
children
However, the electric car’s cargo space is spacious, and even more so when the second and third-row seats are folded down (84.3 cubic feet to be exact). 
The exterior isn’t too showy and is perfect for drivers that would rather blend in. But if you opt for the new Bronze version, you can get unique bronze-colored wheels. 
For a midsize three-row SUV, the Highlander Hybrid’s size is about average when compared to the Kia Telluride and the Honda Pilot. 
Families will be happy to know that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Highlander Hybrid top marks for its easy-to-use LATCH system. According to KBB, “There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the second-row rear outboard seats and an upper tether anchor for the second-and third-row rear middle seats.”

Standard features on the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The base LE trim for this roomy vehicle comes with a ton of useful standard features. “On top of the efficient hybrid powertrain, standard features include LED headlights and fog lights, push-button start, a power driver’s seat, 3-zone automatic climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel,” according to KBB. 
The 8-inch touch screen infotainment system is straightforward and easy to use. Drivers can expect Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto,
Bluetooth
, and a six-speaker stereo. Passengers can take advantage of the five USB ports, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
You can also count on standard driver assistance features from the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+.
This includes the likes of lane tracing assist, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, road sign assist, full-speed adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. 
Additionally, the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
gave the auto an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. In the frontal crash and rollover tests, it received four stars, and in the side crash test, it received five.
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