Car Talk: New hybrid Toyota fulfills all of buyer’s wishlist

Dear Car Talk:

My next car purchase will probably be my last. I’m 72. And like my trade-in, I’m in great shape. But ya never know, right? I want a seven-passenger hybrid that does not require a home plug-in station and is in the $60,000 range.

I currently own a 2019 seven-passenger Buick Enclave with 55,000 miles that I plan to trade in. I love my Enclave — it’s my third — but given the gas price fluctuations, I feel a hybrid is the way to go.

Your thoughts? Thanks for years of your advice and humor! — Carol

I think Toyota must have been reading your mind, Carol. Or eavesdropping on your Alexa. Because they just came out with a vehicle that sounds like it’s exactly what you’re looking for.

It’s called the Grand Highlander. It’s a seven-passenger SUV (two captain’s chairs in the second row, and a bench seat for three kids or misbehaving in-laws in the back) that comes with a very good, optional hybrid drivetrain.

It actually offers two hybrid drivetrains: a regular, fuel-saving hybrid, and a hybrid that emphasizes extra power. You want the plain old Hybrid, not the so-called Hybrid Max.

You can get it with all-wheel drive, if you want. And despite the fact that this thing hauls seven passengers and a bunch of their stuff, the Grand Highlander Hybrid gets around 35 miles per gallon.

And in my experience at the garage, Toyotas, in general, have been very reliable, and Toyota hybrids have been very long lasting.

You should be able to get a well-loaded one for $60,000, Carol. In fact, for 60 grand, you should be able to buy the car and get loaded yourself.

I’d recommend the Grand Highlander Hybrid Limited trim, which comes with all the luxuries that I know you deserve; a power tailgate, a heated steering wheel, and fancy sound system so you can rock out with the grandkids. Or without them. Enjoy.

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