Making its official debut at the New York Auto Show, the 2017 Toyota Highlander SUV gains a bolder look, new powertrain elements and an enhanced roster of safety features. The revamp also sees a new sporty SE trim added to the LE, LE Plus, XLE, Limited and Limited Platinum lineup. The Highlander Hybrid receives a similar series of upgrades and also expands its side of the family tree with new LX and XLE models joining the existing Limited and Platinum variants.

More curb appeal

Beyond several new colors, exterior tweaks to the 2017 Highlander bring edgier grille treatments, with trim-level-specific finishes that carry into the headlamp surrounds. Out back, sleeker taillamps are embellished on Limited and Platinum trims with chrome. Updates to the cabin of this 3-row midsize hauler include four new USB ports (bringing that total to five) while Limited/Limited Platinum grades will let buyers opt for the second row bench in place of Captain’s Chairs to bring seating capacity up from seven to eight. The new Highlander SE boasts a more tautly tuned suspension with a dark grille, 19-inch alloy wheels and unique black leather upholstery with silver stitching.

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Stronger performance, better economy

Output and fuel efficiency for the 2017 Highlander are poised to increase. While the entry level FWD-only Highlander LE will carry on with its existing 185-horsepower/2.7-liter 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic transmission, all other versions will be fitted with a new 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 that develops “significantly more” horses than the 270 of the existing engine and incorporates stop/start technology. It will be backed by an equally new 8-speed automatic transmission that is more compact as well as more efficient than the present 6-speed and offers an expanded lockup range. The combination is projected to deliver superior driving experience as well as better EPA marks. The same V6 will be used in the AWD-only Highlander Hybrid, although there it will be paired with the existing CVT automatic.

Bolstering safety

All 2017 Highlanders will supplement the existing Toyota Star system with a new advanced safety package, Toyota Safety Sense P. Elements in the TSS bundle include a Pre-Collision System with Forward Collision Warning and automatic emergency brake, Lane Departure Alert, Pedestrian Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Automatic High Beams. The Highlander XLE and above adds a standard Blind Spot Monitor while the Highlander Platinum Limited gets a new 360-degree Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan.

The 2017 Toyota Highlander line will start appearing in showrooms this fall. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

More Midsize SUVs…

Check out our Midsize SUV Buyer's Guide for a look at what’s new and what’s next.


 

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