2017 Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander continues to garner fans time and time again. The three-row hauler squeezes right in between its sibs the Rav4 and Sequoia. The longtime family favorite with its impressive reliability ratings still offers style, and substance as it takes on multi-tasking families, and competitors while it continues to build on all of the things that still makes it popular. Even though the new 2018’s have rolled in, you can probably snag a great deal on a 2017 Highlander!

The Highlander exterior is still very macho. The dual-level chrome grille is aggressively bold and oversized. The angular and stylish headlights flank the grille. The sculpted side panels and accented taillights wrap around to the side panels, adding overall aerodynamic curbside appeal to this vehicle.

The hauler’s interior is pretty competitive in terms of spaciousness, comfort and ergonomics. The Japanese automaker utilizes premium materials to offer an upscale experience in the vehicle; nothing looks downmarket. The first and second row in the Highlander is passenger-welcoming which is ideal for road trips and daily commutes. Drivers will, however, receive death stares from passengers who are forced to occupy the rearmost seating. Third-row seating is never a winning situation for adults and the section should only be reserved for the Play-Doh and crayons set. The third row is child-class snug on dimensions, but the second-row seats have a generous tip-n-slide for easy third-row access. There are lots of well-thought-out ample storage spaces like a center console that is large enough for family stuff.

The dash is flat, wide and ergonomically sensible. The infotainment system is intuitive and quick to respond with screen sizes that come in either a standard 6.1 or 8-inch found in the higher trims. The navigation system and Bluetooth in the vehicle never challenge which is refreshing as so many on the market do. If you’re looking for  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, just keep it moving as they are not offered on the Highlander.

The Highlander has a relatively smooth ride and enough power for everyday driving maneuvers. In nasty weather, it offers secure handling. The SUV’s steering is light with practically no feedback which makes it easy to maneuver particularly in tight urban traffic and when it comes to parking. The Highlander cruises well on highways and offers a hushed ride. There are six trim levels in the Highlander and all but the entry (LE) are powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 with 295 horsepower with 263 lb-ft of torque that can be paired with front, or all-wheel drive. A 185-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder with 184 lb-ft of torque is standard on the base Highlander LE with front-wheel drive only. The hybrid version of the Highlander is one of the most fuel-efficient crossovers. And speaking of fuel at the pumps, the Highlander gets 21 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined with front-wheel drive.

The Highlander is at the very top of the heap as far as safety features. Its usual safety allotment includes–antilock brakes, stability control,  airbags and a rearview camera. It also boasts a driver knee airbag, a front passenger under-cushion airbag, forward collision warning and automatic braking, and lane-departure warning and keeping. The XLE trim and above includes blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Highlander with the firm’s highest rating of Top Safety Pick.

The 2017 Highlander is attractive in and out and just the right size for families or singles who need a hauler. Nice driving dynamics, user-friendly technology, safety features galore, and all with peace of mind Toyota’s renowned reliability; the Highlander should definitely be placed on your car-buying radar.