Instead of asking why the new 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid matters, perhaps the question is this: Why doesn’t it matter? Right now, as I write this 2014 Highlander Hybrid preview, which debuted to quiet fanfare at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, the reason is obvious. Gas is cheap. And the Highlander Hybrid costs thousands of dollars more than a comparable V-6 model.
For 2014, the Highlander Limited V-6 with all-wheel drive sees a 4.3 percent increase in price over last year, rising to $41,100. The Highlander Hybrid Limited, which includes all-wheel drive, costs $47,300. Note that these prices do not include a destination and delivery charge of $860.
Now, I’m no math whiz, which is why I am a Microsoft Word super-user, but something tells me that the reason Toyota mentioned this vehicle as an aside during its press conference at the L.A. Auto Show is because there’s likely little appetite for paying a hybrid premium in many regions of the U.S. Nationally, according to GasBuddy.com, unleaded costs about $3.22 per gallon, down 23 cents from this time last year.
Will that change? Probably. Always has, always will. And when it does, Toyota will be ready with the 2014 Highlander Hybrid.