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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2024 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum

Vehicle Type: Midsize suv Hybrid
 overall score
Category Ranking: 10

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $52,425
Price as Tested: $53,760

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 17.1
EPA City mpg35
EPA Highway mpg34
EPA Combined mpg35

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [S]
  • Advanced Headlights [S]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [S]
  • Driver Monitoring [S]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [S]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional
NHTSA Rating:

Overall Observations

The midsize, 3-row Highlander—one of Toyota's best-selling vehicles—is a solid value, partly because of its abundance of standard features, which include LED headlights with auto high beams, a power liftgate, 3-zone automatic climate control, and a full suite of advanced safety features. The hybrid drivetrain on our test vehicle only increases its value. It costs less than $2,000 more than the standard Highlander but gets about 10 mpg more, enabling owners to quickly make up the price difference in fuel savings. Unfortunately, that hybrid drivetrain is also noisy and underpowered, and it's paired with a droning CVT transmission. The Highlander delivers a decent, comfortable ride for passengers, even over bumps and rough roads. Visibility is good all around, especially in the rear. There's plenty of space, including storage, in the Highlander's first and second rows, and entry and exit there is easy. But only kids will be comfortable in the third row. The center console is decently sized, with sufficient hard keys to control vehicle functions. But some of the console materials feel a bit cheap; many touch-screen menus are unintuitive and distracting; and the instrument cluster graphics are outdated. Finally, the Highlander lacks any real driving engagement: Handling, steering, and braking provide the driver with virtually no feedback.

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Pros and Cons


  • Smooth, comfortable ride
  • Hybrid drivetrain and many standard features make for good overall value
  • Good fuel efficiency and driving range
  • Plenty of passenger room in the first two rows


  • Noisy, underpowered drivetrain
  • Unengaging driving experience
  • Tight third-row seating
  • Unintuitive touch-screen menus

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2023
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/5
Curb weight (lbs): 4595.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 194.9 / 76.0 / 68.1
Wheelbase (in): 112.2
Number of air bags: 9
Warranty (months/miles): 36/36,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Goodyear Eagle Touring
Front and rear tire size: 235/55 R20
Max towing capacity (lbs): 3,500
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Hybrid drive
Drivetrain type: All wheel
Engine/motor: 2.5L I4 DOHC
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 186 @ 6,000
Combined system horsepower: 243

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:





Handling: 5.94
Quality and Drivability: 6.83

Ride Quality:


Interior Size:


Easy of Entry and Exit:




Interior Noise:


Cargo Capacity:

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