Toyota Highlander - A Trusty Trendsetter
The Highlander was introduced in 2001, with the first generation running successfully for seven long years. Due to its appropriate size, Toyota Highlander is able to offer the best of both worlds - the handling and economy of a car, and the capacity and versatility of an SUV.
Since 2007, it has entered its second generation. The second generation Highlanders are larger than the previous generation vehicles. Although a mid-size crossover is not a rarity anymore, Toyota Highlander remains one of the best-selling vehicles in this category. Let's find out how the new generation Highlander carries on the legacy while introducing new features and dynamic over the time.
The new generation Toyota Highlanders have received a number of facelifts, all while maintaining the Highlander resemblance of old. The humble broad smile of the first generation Toyota Highlander is now replaced by a wide and wicked grin, looking more aggressive and stylish. New exterior features included a restyled rear and front grille and headlights, as the Highlander drifts from its truck roots and comes closer to being a car-based SUV.
The Toyota Highlander has also added a number of new interior goodies. It now offers 50/50-split-folding third-row seats. Both Base and Limited trims are still offered while the Sports trim is now replaced by the SE trim. Standard features on the base trim include:
- air-conditioning with rear controls
- six-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack
- tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
The SE trim adds:
- power tailgate
- heated front seats
- auto-dimming rearview mirror
- USB port
- Bluetooth among other features
The Highlander comes standard with a 2.7-liter inline-4 engine capable of producing 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It comes accompanied with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Limited trim Highlander, on the other hand, comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 blowing out 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is offered as the standard mate for this engine. This engine is also available as an option for the other two trims. Other than the standard front-wheel drive, an all wheel drive is also available.
Fuel efficiency for the inline-four engine is estimated at 22 mpg while these figures drop to 20 mpg for the V6 configuration. The 0 to 60 sprint record of 7.5 seconds makes the Highlander the fastest vehicle in its class.
The new Toyota highlander can tow up to 5000 pounds, if properly equipped. This makes it an excellent off-road SUV. The cabin can easily offer a cargo capacity of around 95.4 cubic feet.
The Highlander has always maintained its reputation for being one of the safest mid-size SUVs on road. It has a very low fatality rate, and the highest possible safety ranking. Other than features such as antilock disc brakes, stability control and hill-start assist, it comes with a total of seven airbags inside the cabin. All wheel drive vehicles come loaded with extra features including hill-descent control.
Final Impressions of the Toyota Highlander
Although it has always been a favorable choice for crossover buyers, the new Toyota Highlander has further raised the bar. Wonderful smooth handling, quiet and comfortable cabin and practicality are the highlights of Toyota Highlander. So, if car like handling and SUV like versatility is desired, the Toyota Highlander is for you.