The Toyota Highlander is a crossover SUV that in most of the markets around the world would probably be considered a full-size model, but by our EPA standards here in America it's still only a midsize offering. But regardless of official classifications, this is a fairly sizeable vehicle that's capable of accommodating up to eight people inside. So, let's take a closer look and see what else it has to offer today's midsize crossover buyer.
Although other Toyota crossovers such as the C-HR and the RAV4 have pretty unique exterior styling, the exterior of the bigger Highlander is considerably more conventional than its smaller siblings. That means overt angles, sharp creases, and exaggerated air intakes are conspicuous by their absence, so instead there's a thoroughly conservative silhouette that starts to get more interesting at the front with a razor-sharp fascia that does have a slight look of a bigger RAV4. The side view is quite elongated and elegant, which is only to be expected as this is a three-row crossover for up to as many as eight people, after all. Potential buyers will find more distinctive exterior designs if they want, but the Highlander possesses an almost timeless look that's not going to alienate anyone who's thinking of buying a vehicle of this kind.
You have a pair of conventional powerplants to choose from in the Toyota Highlander, which are the base 2.7-liter DOHC that produces 185 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, and a much more lively 3.5-liter V-6 that puts 295 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. of torque at your disposal. The 2.7-liter unit is only to be found in the base LE trim level, although that model can be upgraded to the V-6 if you choose. The V-6 is therefore the standard powerplant in LE Plus, XLE, SE and Limited models, but in this case the V-6 also boasts a stop/start system it doesn’t have in the base LE trim. The LE is a front-wheel drive-only model, which comes with a slick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is an available option for the whole RAV4 range though, and above the base LE trim the V-6 comes mated to an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission as part of standard equipment, instead of the base model's six-speed unit.
Toyota is proud to offer some of the highest levels of standard safety kits anywhere in the mainstream these days, and the 2018 Highlander is certainly no exception to that rule. The Highlander actually comes with some of the highest levels of standard safety tech in the segment in all trim levels, and it also gets almost perfect results from crash testing too. Every version of the Highlander comes standard with Toyota's Safety Sense-P package of safety features and equipment, which has helped result in a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS and a full five-star rating for overall safety from the NHTSA.
The Highlander isn't a luxury midsize crossover, but it would probably be more than a little churlish to want or expect more from an interior at this price point. There's a level of flexibility when it comes to the seating and cargo arrangements only a minivan can equal or better, and there's no real lack of quality when it comes to materials and trim either. It's definitely possible to get a more luxurious crossover for this kind of money, but to get more luxury will also mean losing a great deal of size and capability into the bargain. The second row can be specified as a bench or with a pair of captain's chairs instead, and the latter option does create a useful pass-through to the standard third-row, even though it does mean cutting the seating capacity down to seven from the maximum eight.
To check out a 2018 Toyota Highlander for sale in Watertown, get in touch with us today here at Waite Toyota for more details and to arrange a test drive in this fantastically versatile family vehicle.