Reviews

2017 Toyota Highlander Driving Impressions


The base engine is 2.7 liters and 185 horsepower with 184 pound-feet of torque. It’s smooth and meaty for a four-cylinder, but it carries too much weight in the Highlander, and the transmission is only a six-speed. Acceleration is reasonable but stressed if pressed. Forget it for towing, rated at a mere 1500 pounds.

The new V6 has to be the call. Its numbers run with the best V6s in the class, starting with 5000-pound towing. The turbocharged Ford Flex and V8 Dodge Durango are quicker, but that’s not everything.

Shifts with the new eight-speed automatic transmission are so smooth you can hardly feel them, although it can be late to downshift when you get on the has.

The Hybrid powers the front wheels mostly with the V6 engine, and the rear wheels solely with the second electric motor. The engine and front motor use a power-split system like Toyota’s other vehicles with Hybrid Synergy Drive. Because this system weighs 350 pounds, the Hybrid is slower, unlike some cars whose hybrid is the quickest.

The handling is pleasant and predictable, with firm electric power steering, but it’s uninspired and vanilla. It’s controlled, but it leans in turns and can be wobbly.

The ride is smooth, not quite cushy, on the standard wheels. But the 19-inch wheels allow the jolts to be felt.

The soft handling and soft ride might be fixed in the SE. Certainly improved, with the SE’s firmer suspension.

Request More Info

  • AdChoices