By Jon Gaffney
on 3.1.10

2010_toyota_highlander

Though we have a glaring weakness for classic 4×4’s, in general we tend to be against the gas guzzling SUV. It’s not that we don’t like the extra cargo room, passenger seats, and “off-road” capabilities. We just have a hard time rationalizing those likes with our increasingly balmy planet not to mention our wallets. The 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is an ease to our guilty conscience. The 2009 Highlander Hybrid is equiped with a 3.3L Hybrid V6 pumping out 208hp plus the electric motors netting a total 270HP, while still qualifying as a SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle). It can seat you and seven friends with three rows of seating, all easily accessible (height challenged members of your #cartel should go third row.) Or, toss your friends and use that space to tote a few surf boards home from a long day at the beach. That’s in addition to:

  • Regenerative braking (energy from braking is used to recharge the battery of the electric motor, yes it’s cool, yes we’re nerds)
  • 8.1 sec 0-60 mph
  • Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT)
  • Electronic On-demand intelligent 4WD
  • 3500lb towing capacity

After test driving one last month, we were struck by how quiet the Highlander is. More than once we went to restart the Highlander, only to realize it was in electric mode..very cool. The Highlander Hybrid also accelerates very well, usually with hybrid merging onto a highway or sneaking in front of someone in city driving is a harrowing experience. There’s none of that anxiety here, you merge and pass with authority. The Highlander Hybrid is a “green” car you won’t feel embarrassed driving, head to Toyota.com to play around configuring your own. We take no responsibility for lost time.

Buy Now: Starting at $34,700

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