2011 Toyota Highlander, Highlander Hybrid: First Look

  • Competes with: Honda Pilot, Chevy Traverse, Ford Flex
  • Looks like: The Highlander is slightly cooler-looking, just slightly
  • Drivetrain: 187-hp, 2.7-liter four-cylinder; 270-hp, 3.5-liter V-6; 280-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 hybrid; front- or all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Later this month
As refreshes go, the 2011 Highlander gets one of the mildest we can remember. Besides a more horizontal front end complete with skinny headlights and wide grille, the 2011 is nearly identical to the 2010 model. The interior doesn't change much, either. The biggest differences come to the fuel economy of the hybrid model, the loss of the Sport trim level and added content to most other trims. The prices for the 2011 model do go up quite a bit though.
The 2011 Highlander Hybrid gets a larger V-6 — the 3.5-liter from the gasoline-only Highlander — bumping power and improving mileage. The Highlander Hybrid now gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in both city and highway driving. The outgoing model returned 25/27 mpg city/highway.
Standard on all Highlanders regardless of powertrain is a third-row seat. That was a $740 option on the 2010 Base model, and you can no longer delete the third row as a standard from other trims. The Highlander is now a three-row crossover, period. Rear climate control has also been added as standard to all models.
SE and Limited trims get a backup camera standard with a 3.5-inch display. When an optional navigation system is equipped, the backup camera displays on that screen, and the 3.5-inch display shows trip and other onboard information.The 2011 Highlander will also get Toyota’s brake override system standard.

Starting prices begin at $27,390 for the base four-cylinder two-wheel-drive model, up significantly from the 2010 price of $25,855. Other trims don't see as big an increase, with the 2011 SE V-6 two-wheel-drive model priced at $33,150, while the Limited V-6 four-wheel-drive model will be $36,345. The price of the Highlander Hybrid will range from $37,290 for the base model — up from $34,900 for the 2010 — to $42,945 for the 2011 Limited model.

We break down the trim levels below. Click here for more images.

2011 Toyota Highlander standard features

Base model
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Privacy glass for rear windows
  • Cruise control
  • Tilt/telescoping steering wheel
SE (adds)
  • Power moonroof
  • Leather seating, heated front seats, power driver’s seat
  • Leather steering wheel with audio and phone controls
  • Bluetooth
  • Six-speaker stereo with USB port, Bluetooth streaming audio
  • HomeLink garage door transceiver
  • Multifunction display with rearview camera
  • Lift-up glass hatch
  • Black roof rails
  • Fog lamps
  • Winshield wiper de-icer
  • Power liftgate
Limited (adds)
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Three-zone automatic climate control
  • Smart key with push-button start
  • Silver roof rails
  • Chrome door handles
  • Wood-grain interior trim

 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid standard features


  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Six-speaker stereo with USB port, Bluetooth streaming audio
  • Multifunction display with rearview camera
  • Cruise control
  • Blue-tinted headlights and taillights
  • Fog lights
Limited (adds)
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Three-zone climate control
  • Leather seating for first and second row
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather steering wheel and shifter
  • HomeLink garage door transceiver
  • Power moonroof
  • Chrome roof rails
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • Power liftgate
  • Smart entry


Pete Colebelli

I really like the look of this updated Highlander. My wife has a 02 Highlander and it has been very reliable outlasting my 01 Jeep Grand Cherokee and soon my 06 Chevy Trailblazer. The interior could be better but it has easily bested the JGC and TB in both quality and reliability. I had my eye on the 4Runner but will definitely be looking into the Highlander. Thanks for the heads-up!

Looks like the 3rd row seat is finally split. That's a nice addition.

I'm disappointed they didn't address gos version fuel economy by putting the 6 speed with the V6 like they did with the Sienna earlier this year.

Loss of the Sport edition is puzzling. This means you now have to buy the Limited to get the much nicer looking 19" wheels - Ouch.


Will the hybrid continue to come with standard (or only come with--depending on your perspective) AWD?

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