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Toyota Highlander is an Excellent Vehicle


Performance And Safety Combine With Comfort And Tech

The Buzz: Among its other accolades, the Toyota Highlander earned a “2015 Best 3-Row Midsize SUV for Families” from U.S. News and World Report for its “best combination of interior space, safety and reliability ratings and available family-friendly features in its class.” The magazine also gave the Toyota Highlander a No. 2 ranking in the Affordable Midsize SUVs and Affordable Crossover SUVs categories. Autoblog, Consumer Guide and Kelley Blue Book also commend the vehicle for its roomy seating and headroom for up to eight people, generous cabin storage and a quiet, comfortable ride.

Safety: It ranks as a Top Safety Pick Plus by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Highlander is built with the Star Safety System™, a suite of six active safety features for stability, traction and breaking control. It features turn-by-turn navigation, a back-up camera and eight airbags.

The interior is nice-looking, comfortable and quiet, with air vents for all rows, storage spaces that include a center console that holds oversized items and USB charging. Upgrade to Platinum for the panoramic moon roof. The Highlander has less overall cargo space than several competitors, with 83.7 cubic feet. Still, the vehicle has grown by approximately 3 inches in length and one-half inch width. That incremental widening is actually advantageous: a golf bag can lie flat without having to rest against some part of the interior, as in previous models.

Standard features include hands-free Bluetooth connectivity and Toyota’s Entune infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touch screen. Available upgrades offer the Entune system with an 8-inch touch screen, a 12-speaker audio system and Driver Easy Speak, which amplifies the driver’s voice to the rear passengers.

The ride: The vehicle has a six-speed automatic transmission that reviewers say is responsive and shifts well. Three engines are offered: a 2.7-liter four cylinder with front-wheel drive, a 3.5-liter V-6 with front- or all-wheel drive and a 3.5-liter V-6 hybrid. The hybrid gets better gas mileage (27 city/28 highway mpg) but the others get at least 18/24 mpg. The standard four-cylinder engine has good power, but the V6 provides greater acceleration.

Price ranges from $29,655 to $47,300. Compared with its competitors, this is an excellent value for a stylish, comfortable, technological and safe vehicle with good gas mileage.

Toyota Highlander is an Excellent Vehicle

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