The Toyota Highlander has long been one of America’s most popular family crossover SUVs. Last year Toyota sold nearly 216,000 Highlanders in the US, making it the third best selling mid-size SUV behind only the Ford Explorer and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. It can be compared with crossovers such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda Pilot, and Chevrolet Traverse.
The Highlander got a revision in 2017, including a facelift, more tech, and more power with an eight-speed transmission and remains unchanged for 2018. The lineup includes SE, LE, LE Plus, XLE, Limited, and Limited Platinum models. The Highlander Hybrid comes as LE, XLE, Limited and Limited Platinum.
The base Highlander LE uses a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine making 185 horsepower. Toyota claims it gets 22 combined miles per gallon though the available V6 has more power and gets better fuel mileage.
The Highlander LE includes cloth upholstery, 4.2-inch multi-information display, six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat and four-way passenger seat, 60/40 split-folding and reclining second-row seat, 60/40 split-folding third-row seat, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, five USB ports, LED taillamps, and 18-inch alloy wheels. It also comes with the Toyota’s Entune AM/FM/CD audio system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, six speakers, an auxiliary input jack, Bluetooth phone connectivity and music streaming, and Siri Eyes Free. Also standard are a rearview camera, hill start assist, and eight airbags, including a driver knee airbag and a front passenger seat cushion airbag.
The sporty SE gets a dark grille, headlamp housings, and roof rails. Inside it gets black leather with silver stitching and patterned inserts.
Toyota’s upgraded Safety Sense P system is standard, with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert, a pedestrian pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.
If you are looking for a CUV that can hold not only a lot of passengers (up to 8) but also a good amount of cargo, this vehicle fits the bill. I was able to load up all of my son’s gear for his first year of college with some room to spare.
The 2018 Highlander starts at $31,230 and tops out around $47,000 with the Limited Platinum AWD.