2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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$4,217–$11,657 Inventory Prices
Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Easy to drive
  • Ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Fuel economy and emissions of Hybrid
  • Generally seamless Hybrid operation

The Bad

  • Lack of Low-range gearing
  • Uninspired styling
  • Hybrid ownership costs unknown
  • Premium price of Hybrid
  • Hybrid emphasizes performance over economy

Notable Features of the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

  • Car-based construction
  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Available AWD
  • Up to seven-passenger capacity
  • New hybrid model

2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Introduced in 2001, the car-based Highlander became the most popular member of Toyota's five-model sport utility vehicle lineup. Though it is structurally related to the more expensive Lexus RX 330, the Highlander has a different squared-off appearance and comes with fewer standard features.

Both models can be equipped with front- or all-wheel drive, but the Highlander is available with either a four-cylinder or V-6. Nearly 2 inches narrower and 4.4 inches shorter than Toyota's truck-based 4Runner, the Highlander promises SUV versatility combined with carlike ride and handling. Except for revised engine ratings thanks to new Society of Automotive Engineers testing standards, nothing has changed for 2006.

A Highlander Hybrid with a gasoline/electric powertrain debuted during 2005 as a 2006 model.
(Skip to details on the: Highlander Hybrid)


Exterior
In addition to prominent fender creases, the Highlander exhibits squared-off styling, four doors and a rear liftgate. Toyota's SUV measures 71.9 inches wide, rides a 106.9-inch wheelbase and stretches to 184.6 inches in overall length.

Interior
Seating for five people includes two front bucket seats and a 60/40-split, folding rear bench that holds three occupants. A third-row seat that boosts seating to seven passengers is available. Fitted with a four-step reclining feature, the third-seat option includes privacy glass and a rear heater system.

The automatic-transmission lever is conveniently located high ...
Vehicle Overview
Introduced in 2001, the car-based Highlander became the most popular member of Toyota's five-model sport utility vehicle lineup. Though it is structurally related to the more expensive Lexus RX 330, the Highlander has a different squared-off appearance and comes with fewer standard features.

Both models can be equipped with front- or all-wheel drive, but the Highlander is available with either a four-cylinder or V-6. Nearly 2 inches narrower and 4.4 inches shorter than Toyota's truck-based 4Runner, the Highlander promises SUV versatility combined with carlike ride and handling. Except for revised engine ratings thanks to new Society of Automotive Engineers testing standards, nothing has changed for 2006.

A Highlander Hybrid with a gasoline/electric powertrain debuted during 2005 as a 2006 model.
(Skip to details on the: Highlander Hybrid)


Exterior
In addition to prominent fender creases, the Highlander exhibits squared-off styling, four doors and a rear liftgate. Toyota's SUV measures 71.9 inches wide, rides a 106.9-inch wheelbase and stretches to 184.6 inches in overall length.

Interior
Seating for five people includes two front bucket seats and a 60/40-split, folding rear bench that holds three occupants. A third-row seat that boosts seating to seven passengers is available. Fitted with a four-step reclining feature, the third-seat option includes privacy glass and a rear heater system.

The automatic-transmission lever is conveniently located high on the center console. Cargo space behind the second row is 39.7 cubic feet and escalates to 80.6 cubic feet when that seat is folded. A touch-screen DVD-based navigation system is optional for the Limited model.


Under the Hood
Under the new SAE system, Toyota's 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 155 horsepower and the 3.3-liter V-6 generates 215 hp. The four-cylinder teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission, while the V-6 uses a five-speed automatic. The Highlander is available with front- or all-wheel drive, which lacks a Low range.

Safety
Toyota's Star Safety System consists of Vehicle Stability Control, traction control and antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain-type airbags are optional.

Driving Impressions
Confident, capable handling and an exceptionally smooth ride are the Highlander's principal attributes. Body roll is minimal in fairly tight curves. The Highlander is very easy to drive and has just the right steering feel and good highway balance.

Acceleration from a standstill is strong, but a deeper push on the pedal — which produces some awkwardness or unpleasant noises at times — may be necessary at midrange speeds.


Highlander Hybrid
For 2006, Toyota has launched a hybrid-powered version of its Highlander SUV that features a new second-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Except for a new front fascia and LED taillights, the Highlander Hybrid looks nearly identical to the regular Highlander. Aluminum wheels hold 17-inch tires, and Toyota includes an extended hybrid-powertrain warranty.

The Highlander Hybrid achieves an SULEV emissions rating, and front- and all-wheel-drive versions are offered. Lexus, Toyota's luxury division, markets a hybrid SUV named the RX 400h.

The Highlander Hybrid provides seating for up to seven people in three rows of seats. Three battery packs sit under the rear seat, which is 20 millimeters higher than the regular Highlander's. A power meter replaces the usual tachometer in the instrument cluster, and the optional navigation system includes energy-monitor and consumption modes.

Combining a 208-hp, 3.3-liter V-6 engine and an electric motor, the Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain generates 268 total hp. A continuously variable transmission sends that output to the wheels. When equipped with all-wheel drive, a separate electric motor drives the rear wheels.

Side-impact airbags and first- and second-row roll-sensing side curtain-type airbags are installed. A new Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system provides stability enhancement and traction control.

The Highlander Hybrid performs effortlessly. You often can't tell the gasoline engine is running because it's so quiet. That quietness helps make the transition between electric and gasoline propulsion more seamless than some hybrids; you're often unaware of any changes taking place.

This hybrid accelerates as eagerly and smoothly as the company claims, and it's surprisingly agile on curvy mountain roads. It's easy to drive, with appealing steering feel and a generally comfortable ride, but an occasional bump can produce a harsh response. The recessed gauges aren't the easiest to read on a sunny day.

Because Toyota emphasizes performance over economy, the Highlander Hybrid's V-6 doesn't shut off as often — or as readily — as does the four-cylinder engine in the company's Prius passenger car. Back to top



2006 Highlander Hybrid Video

Watch MotorWeek on PBS. Check your local listings for time and channel.

Latest 2006 Highlander Hybrid Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

So Far So Good

by Angela from Waukesha, WI on July 10, 2018

The car has so far exceeded expectations considering its age and overall mileage. If all continues to go well , I am hooked on Highlander Hybrids for life. Read full review

(4.0)

BASIC BUT SUITS ME.

by WEL859i from Duarte, CA on June 4, 2018

I wish this car would run forever but sadly it has come to the end at 225,000 miles. The repairs it needs are more than the values of the vehicle. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid currently has 6 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Highlander Hybrid received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker