2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The Highlander Hybrid Platinum has a standard Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Crosstrek Hybrid only offers a rear monitor.

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 Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Highlander Hybrid and the Crosstrek Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, 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 and rear cross-path warning.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid weighs 1099 to 1239 pounds more than the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

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 Crosstrek Hybrid has not been tested, yet.


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. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Crosstrek Hybrid.

There are almost 2 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Subaru 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Subaru is ranked fourth.


The Highlander Hybrid’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 158 more horsepower (306 vs. 148) than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Highlander Hybrid has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Crosstrek Hybrid (17.2 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Highlander Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Crosstrek Hybrid:




Front Rotors

12.9 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Highlander Hybrid has larger tires than the Crosstrek Hybrid (245/55R19 vs. 225/55R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum has standard 19-inch wheels. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

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 Crosstrek Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Highlander Hybrid’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the Crosstrek Hybrid (109.8 inches vs. 104.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Highlander Hybrid is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than on the Crosstrek Hybrid.

Passenger Space

The Highlander Hybrid has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Crosstrek Hybrid can only carry 5.

The Highlander Hybrid has 44.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Crosstrek Hybrid (144.9 vs. 100.7).

The Highlander Hybrid has .9 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front hip room, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, 2.3 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear legroom, 3.1 inches more rear hip room and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Crosstrek Hybrid.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Highlander Hybrid’s middle and third row seats recline. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Highlander Hybrid’s cargo area provides more volume than the Crosstrek Hybrid.




Third Seat Folded

42.3 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


15.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

83.7 cubic feet

43.1 cubic feet

The Highlander Hybrid’s cargo area is larger than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s in every dimension:




Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width






The Highlander Hybrid’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Highlander Hybrid has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer a power liftgate.


The Highlander Hybrid’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s (3500 vs. 1000 pounds).


The engine computer on the Highlander Hybrid automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

When different drivers share the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Highlander Hybrid Platinum’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Both the Highlander Hybrid and the Crosstrek Hybrid offer available heated front seats. The Highlander Hybrid Platinum also has standard heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Crosstrek Hybrid.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Highlander Hybrid’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Highlander Hybrid and the Crosstrek Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Highlander Hybrid has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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 Crosstrek Hybrid 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.

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Subaru Crosstrek by 69% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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