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The Highlander Hybrid has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The e-tron doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Full-time four-wheel drive is standard on the Highlander Hybrid. Full-time four-wheel drive gives added traction for safety in all conditions, not just off-road, like the only system available on the e-tron.
The Highlander Hybrid’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The e-tron doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Highlander Hybrid and the e-tron have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Highlander Hybrid the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The e-tron has not been tested, yet.
Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Highlander Hybrid 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the e-tron. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the e-tron ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the e-tron.
There are over 4 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander Hybrid’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 8th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Audi is ranked 7th.
The Highlander Hybrid’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 516 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The e-tron’s range is only 204 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only an 80% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 9 hours.
The Highlander Hybrid has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the e-tron; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
For better maneuverability, the Highlander Hybrid’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the e-tron’s (38.7 feet vs. 40 feet).
The Highlander Hybrid has standard seating for 8 passengers; the e-tron can only carry 5.
The Highlander Hybrid has .9 inches more front headroom, 3.4 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom and 1.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the e-tron.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Highlander Hybrid’s middle and third row seats recline. The e-tron’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Highlander Hybrid’s cargo area provides more volume than the e-tron.
Third Seat Folded
42.3 cubic feet
Third Seat Removed
28.5 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
83.7 cubic feet
57 cubic feet
The Highlander Hybrid’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The e-tron’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.
The Highlander Hybrid’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the e-tron’s (3500 vs. 0 pounds).
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Highlander Hybrid has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the e-tron only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Highlander Hybrid detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The e-tron doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
On extremely cold winter days, the Highlander Hybrid Platinum’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The e-tron doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The Highlander Hybrid XLE/Limited/Platinum has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The e-tron doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Highlander Hybrid as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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