As one of the most highly touted SUVs on the market, the Toyota Highlander has set the standard for the crossover SUV class for several years and is starting to offers owners so many great features that it might be able to be considered a luxury model. Competing with the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer, the Highlander makes quick work of all three, but continues to add a great deal of enjoyable features such as a pass-through cable organizer, seating for up to eight, and an Easy Speak feature to amplify the voice of the driver for the rear seat passengers to hear.
With no upgrades or updates for the 2015 model year, Toyota has chosen to leave a good thing alone, and the Highlander is certainly a good thing. The Highlander offers a driving experience that is comfortable and enjoyable as well as energetic and high performing. This is achieved from the well-engineered suspension and steering that makes this one of the best SUVs on the market today. The driving systems easily dispel any road debris and abrasions that are found on the road and the ground clearance offers the ability to head out onto some great trails for a weekend of fun.
With up to three engines to choose from shoppers can find exactly what they need to make their Highlander a daily enjoyable drive. Pennsylvania Toyota tells us that the base model shows up as a 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder engine that offers 185 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that comes in with a fuel efficiency of 20 city/25 hwy mpg making it a very efficient SUV. This model does not offer all-wheel drive (AWD) so if that is needed, the next model up might be a better choice.
The second and most popular engine model to purchase comes in the form of a 3.5-liter V6 engine that shows up with a very strong 270 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is available with AWD and is married up with the same six-speed automatic transmission to come in with a 19 city/25 hwy mpg for the front-wheel drive (FWD) model and a very impressive 18 city/24 hwy mpg for the AWD. With this powertrain in place this Highlander makes it way easily on and off the road allowing for plenty of weekend adventures.
The third engine is the hybrid model of the Highlander which shows up with a 3.5-liter V6 engine plus a two AC 650-volt permanent-magnet motors. This pairing offers as much as 280 horsepower and 215 lb.-ft. of torque. Partner this engine with the same six-speed automatic transmission and the Highlander offers a fuel efficiency of 27 city/28 hwy mpg for anyone who needs to gain some great fuel efficiency or just wants to save some money when they pull up to the gas pump.
The interior of the Highlander is very impressive with excellent materials and a lot of comfort to go along with upgraded features and equipment. The inside is spacious and comfortable, able to seat up to eight comfortably and offering plenty of great cargo configurations for any owner to take full advantage of. The dashboard is sleek and well-shaped to keep an interested eye moving across the entire width of the vehicle. All controls are intuitively placed making it much easier to find and enjoy the ride inside the Highlander. The center console even offers kids a great place to keep their drinks by having enough space to hold up to 58 juice boxes so the whole team can enjoy a drink on the way to the destination.
On the outside, the Highlander now in its third generation enjoys the size and shape that makes it easy to recognize and enjoy. This very attractive vehicle offers plenty of great chrome accents and a very strong profile that shows up with power and athleticism. With a strong front grill and beefier looking wheels, the Highlander aims to attract a more masculine crowd than in the past while still appealing to the feminine among car buyers as well. Regardless of gender, this vehicle is easy to enjoy and quite obvious in its attraction for a large crowd of drivers.
The standard features offered for the Highlander start with the base LE model that offers a rearview camera, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a day/night rearview mirror, three 12-vold auxiliary power outlets, a 6.1-inch touch screen display with Toyota’s Entune audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition, projector-beam headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels color-keyed mirrors, eight airbags, Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children (LATCH) points, stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, and electronic brake-force distribution. This allows Highlander owners who opt for a standard model to know they are buying an excellent vehicle even while not choosing any upgraded features.
The Highlander offers a great deal of optional features to choose from as the different models are reviewed. These optional features include lane-departure warning, dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beams, a heated second row of captain’s chairs, a panoramic moonroof, a heated steering wheel, rear-seat Blu-ray and DVD entertainment systems, Driver Easy Speak, and tri-zone automatic climate control. With so many awesome features for owners to enjoy the Highlander can be highly equipped and offers a great deal of safety features to enjoy and ensure all occupants are able to stay safely in their seats as well as giving the driver more information to make the drive as safe as possible.
The Highlander starts with a price of $30,300 for the LE model with the base engine. Moving up to the V6 engine brings in a price around $32,000 and at the very top end the Limited model with AWD shows up around $42,000 for owners to enjoy all the awesome features. The Hybrid Limited comes in with a price of $48,160 for owners to be able to save some money at the pump. With the multitude of options and choices, the Highlander shows off as a great SUV for anyone to really enjoy.