IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
Highlander provides excellent passenger and cargo room, fine road manners, a quiet cabin, and a good selection of family-friendly features.
Acceleration is a bit sluggish with the base 4-cylinder engine.
The Highlander is the only mainstream-brand midsize SUV to offer a hybrid powertrain.
WHAT IS IT?
The Highlander is Toyota’s 3-row midsize crossover SUV. It can seat eight passengers when equipped with the available second-row bench seat. It is available with 4-cylinder, V6, or hybrid V6 powertrains, and ascends through LE, XLE, Limited and Limited Platinum models. Available features include a BluRay entertainment system and Toyota’s “Driver Easy Speak” feature, which amplifies the driver’s voice through the rear-seat speakers for easy communication with passengers in the 3rd row.
V6 Highlanders now come standard with a towing package that includes upgraded engine-cooling systems.
EPA estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway with the 4-cylinder (which comes only with front-wheel drive), 19/25 with the front-drive V6, and 18/24 with all-wheel drive V6. The Highlander Hybrid (which comes standard with all-wheel drive) is rated at 27/28. In Consumer Guide® testing, a Highlander Hybrid averaged an impressive 30.2 mpg, beating the EPA numbers. A test XLE V6 AWD model didn’t do as well, averaging 17.1 mpg in a slight majority of city driving.
VALUE IN CLASS
We rank the Highlander as a Best Buy because it excels at delivering the traits that SUV-buying families want most. First and foremost, it offers excellent passenger/cargo room and versatility. Thoughtful small-items storage areas abound, and the cargo space behind the 3rd-row seat is among the best in the class. Add in Highlander’s decent maneuverability for the size, comfortable ride, and nicely finished interior, and you have a standout midsize SUV.
|BASE PRICE RANGE||$29,765 – $50,340|
|BODY STYLES||4-DOOR WAGON|
|AVAILABLE ENGINES||185-HP, 2.7-LITER 4-CYL.; 273-HP, 3.5-LITER V6; 280-HP 3.5-LITER V6/ELECTRIC|
|DRIVE WHEELS||Front or All-Wheel Drive|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||18-28 MPG|
Other Best Buys in this Class
Hyundai Santa Fe/Santa Fe Sport