Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie...The 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD
Readers of a certain age will recognize the headline above as a blatant rip-off of the mid-1970s Chevrolet ad campaign "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet."
For those not of that age, here---watch:
Guess I should have warned you about the earworm of a jingle.
Anyway, that was a long time ago---a lot has changed in 48 years. To the point that the most all-American car I can think of right now is a Toyota.
Skip the whole "Asian manufacturer" thing---the Highlander is assembled in Princeton, Indiana, population 8,300. There's just a "load the kids in the wagon, honey, we're going to the drive-in and the ice cream's on me" feeling about the Highlander.
The vibe may be throwback, but the mechanicals are contemporary---a gasoline/electric hybrid with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 243 horsepower, with a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds and delivering an EPA-estimated 35 miles per gallon city/34 highway. And that's with all-wheel drive. It's smooth and effortless to drive, the Continuously Variable Transmission seems to be one of the better ones on the market and those EPA estimates match up perfectly with our week of city street and urban freeway driving.
There's seating for eight (seven with the Captain's chairs that came standard on our Platinum trim tester) with decent cargo room, clever small-item storage and more than enough cupholders for everyone.
In Platinum trim, the base price of the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD is $50,960. But that is for a seriously loaded vehicle---Toyota's top-notch Safety Sense 2.5+ active safety suite, a panoramic moonroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an 11-speaker JBL premium audio system with subwoofer and amplifier, navigation, leather trimmed seats (heated and ventilated for the driver and front passenger) and Driver EasySpeak, an in-car intercom allowing you to be heard by the folks in the third row without having to raise your voice.
And---that's it. Our car had all-weather floor mats and a cargo liner for $318, but no more. With $1,215 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum is $52,493.
Sure, there are a lot of three-row crossovers on the market. But loaded for a shade over $50k with Toyota reliability and the fuel economy of a hybrid? I think that combination makes the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD the all-American family vehicle.