12 Best Family Cars: 2019 Toyota Highlander
- Legendary reputation for reliability and resale value
- KBB 2019 Best Resale Value Award winner
- Seats seven or eight people
- Excellent fuel-efficient choices
- High emphasis on safety
- Pricing starts at $32,625 | Price yours
The Toyota Highlander has consistently been a fan favorite of families. After all, it offers reliability, loads of safety features, a roomy interior, and a choice of full-efficient powertrains – including a hybrid. These same winning attributes also explain why the Highlander has been a perennial member of our Best Family Cars list. The Highlander isn’t the newest vehicle on our list – in fact, there are rumors of an all-new model arriving for 2020 – but it’s still one of the most solid choices in the 3-row midsize SUV segment.
Features for the Whole Family
The Highlander offers easygoing comfort, and a choice of bench seats in the second and third rows for 8-passenger seating, or captain’s chairs in the second row, for a maximum occupancy of seven. The Highlander’s seats are comfortable, and third row access is fairly easy. The two rear rows fold mostly flat, making it easier to load large items, and there’s plenty of cargo area for your gear, whether the seats are up or stowed. The cargo area also comes with four tie-down hooks and lights. Toyota also included storage solutions in the cabin, including an in-dash shelf designed to hold small electronics plus make it easy to keep cables organized; a 24.5-liter roll-top center console; and eight cup holders and four bottle holders.
Available features make the interior posh, such as tri-zone climate control, heated and cooled seats, and a Blu-ray entertainment system for rear passengers. The optional panoramic moonroof makes it easier for passengers to stargaze, and if they get too distracted by nature’s dazzling show, you can easily communicate with them through the Driver Easy Speak system, which uses a microphone in the overhead console and sends what you say to the rear speakers.
Safety Comes Standard
Anyone who has precious cargo on board wants to make sure it stays safe through every journey, and Toyota has made sure its Highlander comes equipped with an impressive array of safety equipment. All Highlanders come with the Toyota Safety Sense P suite, which includes lane departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision with pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams. This is in addition to three-row airbag protection including a driver-knee airbag, seat belt reminders for all three rows, and hill-start assist. There are even more available features including downhill assist; a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert; front and rear parking assist; and Safety Connect, a subscription package that includes roadside assistance, emergency assistance, an automatic collision notification, and a stolen vehicle locator.
One of the most important aspects of an outstanding family car is its value, and the 2019 Toyota Highlander offers a boatload of it. Value starts with the Highlander’s standard fare, most notably the Safety Sense suite of features. And every Highlander is backed by Toyota’s sterling reputation for reliability, meaning less time the vehicle is off the road, and less money you have to spend on repairs. There’s also the fuel economy: you can choose a 4-cylinder engine, a more powerful V6 that can offer comparable fuel economy to the 4-cylinder, or the Highlander Hybrid, which has the best fuel economy for a three-row SUV that doesn’t have a plug. Interestingly, the Highlander Hybrid doesn’t make you choose between power or fuel economy; with this vehicle, you can have up to 306 horsepower (the most power in the line) and 30 mpg in the city (the best fuel economy). Finally, based on Kelley Blue Book’s own research, the Highlander has been on the podium for our Best Resale Value Awards for the last five years, topping the Midsize 3-Row SUV category for 2019. You get a lot for your money when you buy, you save money while you own, and you get more for a Highlander when it comes time to sell. That’s undeniable value.
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