2021 Toyota Highlander SUV starts at £50,595

New Toyota Highlander seven-seat SUV will be available to order in January

  • Highlander will only be offered as a hybrid
  • Features will include all-wheel drive and a large boot
  • Prices start from £50,595

The new, hybrid Toyota Highlander SUV will have a starting price of £50,595 when it goes on sale early next year. The order book opens on 4 January, with the first customer cars slated for delivery in March 2021.

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV: prices and specifications

The new seven-seater is the largest SUV model offered by the Japanese manufacturer, sitting above the Toyota RAV4 and Toyota C-HR. The Highlander is available in two trim levels, with the entry-level Excel spec car starting from £50,595. It gets a lengthy list of standard equipment including 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, leather seats, three-zone climate control and a premium JBL stereo system.

The Excel Premium model starts from £52,575 and adds additional safety kit such as a head-up display and a 360-degree camera. It also features a powered tailgate with hands-free operation, heated rear seats and a unique 20-inch alloy wheel design.

Design

As these pictures show, the Highlander will look similar to the RAV4 but will have reshaped headlights and an even bigger grille. At nearly five metres in length, the Highlander is almost 40cm longer than the RAV4, and that shows in the larger window behind the rear doors. The rear end gets RAV4-like tail-lights and a panel designed to look like a skid plate across the rear bumper.

Interior and technology

Inside, the Highlander shares some parts with the company’s smaller SUVs and has an infotainment screen embedded in a panel that forms part of the dashboard. Buyers are set to enjoy plenty of tech, including sat nav, wireless phone charging, a head-up display (HUD), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a digital rear mirror like the one in a top-spec Land Rover Defender. It provides an uninterrupted view behind, even if you’re travelling with rear-seat passengers or bulky cargo.

A range of safety features will be present, including active steering assist, lane-keeping tech, adaptive cruise control, road sign assist, and pedestrian and cyclist detection.

Toyota says the Highlander features a high level of noise insulation, including in the windscreen, roof and wheel-arch liners. Combined with the hybrid powertrain, this should mean it’s a quiet and relaxing car for long journeys.

Engine, performance and practicality

Like the RAV4, the Highlander uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine and electrification but offers slightly more power at 241bhp. Full details of the car’s performance will be revealed in early 2021 but with the RAV4 taking a whisker over eight seconds to cover 0-62mph, the Highlander shouldn’t be too far behind. The Highlander uses two electric motors - one on each axle - to give all-wheel drive.

Despite its hybrid powertrain, the Highlander’s bulk results in CO2 emissions of 146g/km and fuel consumption of 42.8mpg. VED (road tax) will be ever-so-slightly lower than a petrol or diesel car, but company-car drivers will still pay 33% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax from April 2021. There’s an electric-only mode, although it’s unlikely you’ll be able to travel too far on it as the Highlander isn’t a plug-in hybrid. Eco, Normal, Sport and Trail make up the other driving modes.

Toyota says the third row of seats can easily accommodate two adults, while there’s a 658-litre boot if you drop the rearmost seats. There’s also underfloor storage, and folding the middle row frees up a van-like 1,909 litres of luggage space.

What does it mean for car buyers?

Few seven-seat hybrid SUVs are on sale and those that are, such as the Lexus RX L and Volvo XC90 T8, are very expensive. The Toyota Highlander is more affordable than these models, providing a reasonably efficient alternative to similarly priced diesel-engined versions of it's rivals. However, with its petrol-electric powertrain, the Highlander does have a significant advantage over seven-seat rivals by offering a hybrid option that’s not available in rivals like the Peugeot 5008, Nissan X-Trail and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Read our Toyota reviews here, or see what the most reliable SUVs are.

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