Towing With a Highlander Hybrid (Towing Capacity Guide)

Towing is not an issue when you have the right tow vehicle doing the work. Carmakers are well aware that their customers like to tow trailers a d have made many of their modern vehicles tow-ready. The only question there is if those modern vehicles can tow enough weight

The Toyota Highlander hybrid seems to be a very powerful little vehicle. While weighing roughly 5000 pounds, it is capable of towing up to 3500 pounds. That is better than other vehicles in its class. It also weighs about 1000 to 1500 pounds less than the standard highlander SUVs.

To learn more about the towing prowess of this vehicle, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can see if this is the tow vehicle for you. Keep reading to find out.

Can a Toyota Highlander Hybrid Tow?


Yes, you can tow with this vehicle. From what our research has found, Toyota may provide the 4-pin wiring harness. However, it will not provide nor install the 7-pin harness. That is something you need to buy and install on your own.

But once you get set up, then you should be able to tow 3500 pounds with this vehicle. That may be a smaller trailer than you had hoped to use but at least it has the power to get over those hills.

The thing you have to watch out for is warranty voiding. Toyota has been known to threaten with voiding the warranty on their vehicles if you add any devices to their cars. The other thing to watch out for is how your electrician wires the new devices.

Cars made in Japan are wired differently than the ones made elsewhere. Make sure to get someone who knows what they are doing.

Does Highlander Hybrid Have a Tow Hitch?

Yes, there is a tow hitch available for this vehicle. Whether it is factory-installed or after-market installed depends on how you bought the vehicle. It may be possible to order it factory installed through your dealer at the time of purchase.

But even if the model you own does not have one, there are after-market receiver hitches made specifically to fit the Highlander Hybrid. It is one hitch that fits 130 different model variations made between 2006 and 2012.

Since the car is designed to tow, there should be a receiver hitch already installed on the vehicle. There is a difference you have to watch out for. The standard Highlander made by Toyota, not a hybrid, for 2023 can tow up to 5000 pounds.

The 2023 Highlander Hybrid can only tow 3500 pounds so do not get the two vehicles confused when it comes to towing weight.

Highlander Hybrid Tow Package


The Hybrid version of this SUV model is designed to tow 3500 pounds without a tow package. It may have been this way ever since the SUV was introduced back in 2001. But it is hard to say at this time.

In 2022 or for the 2023 model year, Toyota has introduced an optional tow package for this vehicle. This tow package will elevate your towing capacity to 5000 pounds. For many people that is great news. The tow package includes the wiring harness and the receiver hitch.

This applies to all trim models Toyota makes. That is for the Highlander Hybrid of course. You can choose any trim you like and not lose out on any towing experience.

Check with your Toyota dealer for more information on the tow package and see how much it will cost you. Your cost will depend on any influential factors for your region of the country and how nice your dealer is to you.

Can a Toyota Highlander Hybrid Tow a 5000 lb Trailer?

Yes, it is possible for this vehicle to do that. But the key to reaching that weight limit is to install the tow package. This tow package is now optional if you are interested in towing a slightly heavier trailer or more cargo.

As you know by now, the towing capacity without the tow package is only 3500 pounds. That does not allow you many trailer options. The 1500-pound increase will open up some new trailer options and make your camping time more enjoyable.

The power is certainly there to tow this heavier weight. The engine can produce up to 243 HP and 175 lb-ft of torque. Plus, it has two electric motor generators. The engine under the Hybrid’s hood is a 2.5 L, 4-cylinder motor.

If you are going to tow a 5000-pound trailer, you will need a Class 3 hitch to make sure you have no troubles.

How Much Can a Highlander Hybrid Tow?


One of the things you have to be careful about when towing is not to forget to add in your cargo weight. You may get to pull a 3500-pound trailer but that is only when you are empty in the SUV and nothing is in the trailer.

When you add cargo to the trailer, you need to drop the trailer weight significantly to meet that towing capacity. If there is a fresh water holding tank inside the trailer, water weighs roughly 8 pounds per gallon.

In other words, while the Highlander Hybrid is rated to tow 3500 pounds, your trailer cannot weigh 3500 pounds. If it does, then you have no room left for your supplies and other cargo items.

Make sure to buy or rent a trailer that weighs only about 3000 pounds or less to make sure you have room for everything you want to bring along on your trip.

Towing Capacity Highlander Hybrid

This is going to be 3500 pounds without the tow package and 5000 pounds with it. But as we just said, you need to have some room left over for cargo. And not to mention passengers.

The weight of all your passengers will lower that tow weight capacity considerably. For example, if there are 4 of you in the car and your total weight is 400 pounds and you are hauling a 3000-pound trailer, that leaves you only 100 pounds for cargo.

There is not a lot of weight room with this low towing capacity. If you add the tow package then you should have 1500 more pounds to work with and that will make camping more fun for all of you.

The good news is that there are some nice 21-foot trailers that weigh around 3000 or slightly less than that you can tow. Most of those trailers, though, would need the tow package to make it work.

Is Highlander Hybrid Good For Towing?


Our research has not found any real complaints about its towing ability. Most owners seemed surprised at how smooth a ride they got, how efficient it was and that they had little to no trouble with the Hybrid while on the road.

That was before they installed the towing package. The biggest complaint was that the electrical motors took away most of the power the regular Highlander engine provided. But people are not complaining about their results.

Non-towing the owner received over 20 miles to the gallon while towing that figure only reached 14 mpg. That is better than some of the bigger tow vehicles get when towing.

Whether it is good or not is up to you and how big a trailer you want to tow. If you do not need a lot of space, this vehicle can tow the smaller trailer very easily.

You won’t get more than a 21-foot trailer even with the tow package and most 21-foot trailers exceed the 3500-pound tow limit anyways. You have to be highly selective in your trailer.

Tips For Towing With a Highlander Hybrid

1. Toyota recommends that you do not travel more than 65 mph when towing a trailer. They also say to stick to the speed limits set by individual states.

2. Before starting on your trip, check your tail lights, turn signals, and other electrical connections to make sure they are working well

3. Practice turning, stopping, and reversing in a huge empty parking lot before you get on the road. Getting accustomed to the vehicle and the trailer is vital before you go on the road.

4. Stopping with a trailer takes longer and more distance. Make sure you have enough distance between you and the vehicles in front of you.

5. Avoid jerky starts, stops, and turns, make sure to slow down enough before making your turns.

Some Final Words

Hybrids are becoming a fact of life and they can be good vehicles to own. However, their power and towing ability are not going to be as good as a regular vehicle. But they may be more efficient.

It is a trade off and you need to decide which ability you want the most. Hybrids are okay and can tow small amounts but then you have to be comfortable in smaller trailers to make it work for you.

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