Demand for 3-row midsize hybrid SUVs continues to rise, whether that’s for conventional hybrids or plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). These SUVs can be pricey, so saving a bit on gas helps take the sting out of that monthly car payment.

Finding a new vehicle to take home can be challenging enough, but adding a factor like which type of hybrid to buy can complicate the decision. Let’s use this comparison of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV and 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid to help provide some clarity.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV

Mazda’s amid a makeover of its lineup of SUVs, and the flagship, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV, has finally arrived — and it’s worth the wait. It replaces the CX-9 in the lineup. The CX-90 is a handsome upgrade, featuring a brawnier exterior that is making a comeback these days.

Mazda is known for providing great value, and the non-hybrid version of the CX-90 does precisely that. However, the CX-90 PHEV aims to take on the SUV market’s premium segment without necessarily having a premium price. Pricing starts at $51,320, including destination charges.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Highlights

Upping the power: The CX-90 PHEV puts out a combined 323 horsepower — quite a bit more than its non-hybrid sibling that puts out 280 hp from its 3.3-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder.

Plug-in capability: The CX-90 can travel 26 miles on battery power, which is more than enough to get most folks to the store and back with a run to pick up a child from practice or an extracurricular activity. EV mode on the Highlander Hybrid is restricted.

Standard AWD: While the availability of all-wheel drive is typical in this segment, it’s not standard on the Highlander Hybrid, as it is in all Mazda SUVs.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the CX-90 PHEV models for sale near you.

2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid in Ruby Flare Pearl driving down a road.

The 2024 Highlander Hybrid enjoys an advantage over many competitors: It doesn’t look like a hybrid. Other than a small logo, it looks just like its gas-only sibling. While being a hybrid isn’t bad, sometimes they come with some unique styling quirks that make them easy to spot.

The Highlander Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor to produce a total of 243 hp. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard but can be upgraded to AWD. You’ll get a second electric motor in that setup but no additional power.

A spacious cabin features room for up to 8 in a 3-row configuration. As good people haulers do, it offers plenty of technology to keep passengers comfortable and entertained during transit and safe with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5. The popular Nightshade appearance package is available for the big ute as well. Pricing starts at $42,365, including the destination fee.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid Highlights

Custom experience: Scrolling through the drive modes of the Highlander Hybrid changes its personality. Normal and Eco modes are suitable for daily duties, Sport mode makes it feel more spry, and EV mode allows electric-only driving at very low speeds for very short distances, like in parking lots. Trail Mode improves the traction of the AWD system if so equipped.

Safety standard: All Highlander Hybrids come with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5, which features driving aids like adaptive cruise control, lane-tracing assist, and blind-spot monitoring.

Fuel efficiency: If you’re buying a hybrid, you’re expecting good gas mileage, and Toyota made sure it doesn’t disappoint with 36 mpg combined in FWD and 35 mpg combined with AWD.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Highlander Hybrid models for sale near you.


The Mazda CX-90 PHEV and Toyota Highlander Hybrid feature attractive exterior styling, a spacious interior, and an impressive array of safety and convenience technology.


The significant advantage of the Highlander Hybrid is the price. It starts out $9,000 cheaper than the Mazda CX-90. However, it’s not as powerful, and it can travel an appreciable distance on battery power alone like the Mazda can. Determining which traits matter most to you will help in landing the right one in your driveway.

  2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Starting Price $51,320 $42,365
Popular Powertrains  
Engine 2.5-liter 4-cylinder hybrid 2.5-liter 4-cylinder hybrid
Horsepower 323 hp @ 6,000 rpm 243 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 369 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 175 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic CVT
Fuel Economy 25 mpg combined; 56 MPGe electric plus gas 36 city/35 highway/36 combined
Also Available Turbo inline 6-cylinder AWD; 2.4-liter turbo 4-cylinder
Basic Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety TBD 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 8 8
Wheelbase 122.8 inches 112.2 inches
Overall Length 201.6 inches 194.9 inches
Width 77.6 inches 76.0 inches
Height 68.2 inches 68.1 inches
Turning Diameter 38.1 feet 37.4 feet
Headroom, 1st Row 39.7 inches 39.9 inches
Headroom, 2nd Row 39.3 inches 39.4 inches
Headroom, 3rd Row 36.9 inches 36.1 inches
Legroom, 1st Row 41.7 inches 42.0 inches
Legroom, 2nd Row 39.4 inches 38.7 inches
Legroom, 3rd Row 30.4 inches 28 inches
Shoulder Room, 1st Row 59.2 inches 59.0 inches
Shoulder Room, 2nd Row 58.1 inches 58.7 inches
Shoulder Room, 3rd Row 53.3 inches 55 inches
Cargo Volume 14.9/40.0 cubic feet 16/48.4 cubic feet

Source link