Highlander Hybrid



5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

198 lbs.

509 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

53/40 lbs.

409/517 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Traverse is safer than the Toyota Highlander Hybrid:


Highlander Hybrid

Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

204 lbs.

348 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

41 G’s

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

16 inches




Spine Acceleration

34 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

554 lbs.

829 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.


The Traverse’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Highlander Hybrid’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 2 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Toyota dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Traverse’s warranty.


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.


The Traverse’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 4 more horsepower (310 vs. 306) than the Highlander Hybrid’s 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Traverse FWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander Hybrid (19.4 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Traverse AWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander Hybrid (21.7 vs. 17.2 gallons).

The Traverse has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Traverse stops much shorter than the Highlander Hybrid:


Highlander Hybrid

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

187 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Traverse has larger tires than the Highlander Hybrid (255/65R18 vs. 245/55R19).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Traverse offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Highlander Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

The Chevrolet Traverse’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Traverse has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Traverse has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Traverse’s wheelbase is 11.1 inches longer than on the Highlander Hybrid (120.9 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Traverse is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Highlander Hybrid.

The Traverse RS handles at .84 G’s, while the Highlander Hybrid Limited pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Traverse RS AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the Highlander Hybrid Limited (27 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .62 average G’s).


The Chevrolet Traverse may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 450 pounds less than the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

The front grille of the Traverse uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Traverse uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Traverse has .6 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front hip room, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.3 inches more third row headroom, 6.8 inches more third row legroom, 2.9 inches more third row hip room and 2.5 inches more third row shoulder room than the Highlander Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

The Traverse’s cargo area provides more volume than the Highlander Hybrid.


Highlander Hybrid

Behind Third Seat

23 cubic feet

13.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

57.8 cubic feet

42.3 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

98.2 cubic feet

83.7 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Traverse High Country’s third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Traverse Premier/High Country’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.


Maximum trailer towing in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is limited to 3500 pounds. The Traverse offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Traverse uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander Hybrid uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.


The Traverse (except L/LS) offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Traverse Premier/High Country’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Traverse’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Highlander Hybrid’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the Traverse and the Highlander Hybrid have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Traverse is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Highlander Hybrid prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

On a hot day the Traverse’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Highlander Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Traverse LS/LT/RS/Premier/High Country’s available exterior PIN entry system. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Traverse’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Highlander Hybrid’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

When the Traverse Premier/High Country is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Highlander Hybrid’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Traverse Premier/High Country has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Model Availability

The Traverse is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Traverse owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Traverse will cost $475 to $2110 less than the Highlander Hybrid over a five-year period.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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