16 Best Family Cars: 2016 Toyota Highlander

Making its third consecutive appearance in our Best Family Car honor roll, the Toyota Highlander earns its spot with a solid combination of comfort, quality, space and convenience features that continue to make it a truly formidable player in its segment while offering buyers a choice of trims from the entry-level LE model to a range-topping Limited with ultra-lux Platinum Package.

Family-Friendly Character

A rolling home away from home, the Highlander makes it easy to settle in and enjoy a journey of any length. Its command seating position gives the driver a great view of what'€™s ahead, main control layouts are logically arrayed and there'€™s plenty of space for people as well as their gear including a large covered center bin and an innovative under-dash tray. Even the LE bolsters its Entune Multimedia system and 6.1-inch touchscreen display with Bluetooth wireless phone and music streaming, a USB port and a trio of 12V powerpoints. Moving up the line to XLE/Limited trims brings additional primo touches like leather upholstery, bigger screens and more inputs plus the option of adding a rear-seat Blu-ray DVD entertainment system with a 9.0-inch screen.

The Highlander features room for eight -- seven with optional captain'™s chairs --€“ and its second-row seats fold and slide to provide easy access to the innermost perches that will accommodate adults but are better suited to younger folk. While the Highlanderâ€'s 13.8 cu ft rear bay capacity falls somewhat short of its key rival, the Honda Pilot, the two are virtual equal-opportunity haulers when both rear rows are dropped.

The Power to Please

With an economical 185-horsepower 4-cylinder engine --€“ front drive only --€“ a potent 270-horse V6 in FWD/AWD or an all-wheel-drive Hybrid variant with 280 gas/electric ponies, the Toyota Highlander offers an unsurpassed level of choice in the motivation department. For 2016, all V6-powered models, including the Hybrid, also come with a standard 5,000-pound tow package. Last but far from least, the Highlander features Toyota's full Star Safety System and is surprisingly easy to live with on a daily basis matching good control and maneuverability with a genuinely appealing personality.

More Toyota Highlander

Build and price your own 2016 Toyota Highlander, read our in-depth review or check out our Midsize SUV Buyer's Guide to check out all your options in this popular segment.

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