AA DRIVEN NZ COTY 2022: Toyota Highlander is the best Clean Car Hybrid (HEV) of the year

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The Toyota Highlander is another familiar favourite that’s returned to the podium for 2022. It’s a genuinely spacious seven-seat SUV, which ticks a very important box for so many Kiwi families.

Highlander is an American-style (US built, too) SUV in the best possible way, delivering on space and comfort like few others in the segment can.

But Toyota New Zealand’s move to hybrid power means buyers can have their cake and eat it too. With the maker’s proven petrol-electrified technology, Highlander is a large crossover with truly impressive fuel-economy credentials.

It’s pretty good off-tarmac too, thanks to the integrated hybrid E-Four AWD system that employs the rear electric motor for fast-response traction when the going gets tougher.

Supply is still severely restricted – as it is with the RAV4 Hybrid, 2021’s winner that we decided to exclude from consideration this year as orders for the popular XSE, Limited and Adventure models can’t be filled until 2024.

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But you can get delivery of a Highlander GXL Hybrid from early 2023, and at $66,290 less a potential Clean Car Discount of $1304, it’s a lot of highly accomplished family HEV for the money.

Runners up: Haval H6 HEV, Honda Jazz e:HEV.

ENGINE: 2.5-litre petrol four with full hybrid electrified syste
POWER: 184kW (combined)/242Nm
GEARBOX: Continuously variable transmission, AWD
CONSUMPTION: 6.2l/100km, 142g/km (3P-WLTP)
PRICE: $66,290-$78,290

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