Gas-electric system works well; some parts are subpar
August 11, 2005
BY MARK PHELAN
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST
MARK PHELAN: 400h has good materials, equipment
"Oh yeah. They're all like that."
That's how a Toyota spokesman responded when I pointed out loose, poorly fitted pieces in the company's high-profile, high-tech and high-priced Highlander gas-electric hybrid SUV.
All in all, while the Highlander hybrid does offer good performance and some fuel savings, those benefits are not great enough to outpace competitive SUVs like the TrailBlazer, Nissan Pathfinder and the Ford Escape hybrid or overcome the fit and finish defects in the one I tested.