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2017 Toyota Highlander KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 9.0 / 10
This Car - 2017 Toyota Highlander
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Consumer Rating 8.4 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Keith Buglewicz

A thorough refresh keeps the 2017 Toyota Highlander ahead in a very tough game. Under the hood, a new V6 engine puts out more power and connects to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. A new suite of standard safety systems includes active cruise control and automatic collision avoidance, combining with Top Safety Pick + crash-test rating from the IIHS for peace of mind. There's also seating for eight passengers, with decent cargo space behind the third row. The interior design includes tons of clever features to make living with the Highlander easier, and the exterior gets a new grille that's, well, really big. Put it together, and Toyota's midsize SUV will continue to be a best-seller for all the right reasons.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2017 Toyota Highlander's emphasis on safety complements its existing strengths of comfort, economy, reliability and resale value. The new engine gets more power and better fuel economy, and the exterior styling is sure to turn heads.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Highlander can haul eight passengers, and it can carry a decent amount of stuff, but it lags competitors like the Honda Pilot in both. Additionally, if you need real off-road capability, or towing capacity greater than 5,000 pounds, check out full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe or Toyota Sequoia.

What's New for 2017

There's a new face, a new and more powerful V6 engine and a new 8-speed automatic transmission, a new SE model, and a new suite of advanced standard safety equipment for the 2017 Toyota Highlander. The Highlander Hybrid is also available in more trim levels, making it less of a budget-breaker.

Driving It Driving Impressions

The new V6 under the hood of the 2017 Toyota Highlander puts out more horsepower and torque than its predecessor, and it's now connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Though most people will need a stopwatch to tell the difference in acceleration, the 8-speed does make finding that power easier. Around town or on the highway, the suspension is set up to be smooth and creamy; if you're hoping for a sharp-handling midsize SUV, you've come to the wrong place. Truth is, most people want that comfortable ride, and they'll be perfectly happy with the Highlander's blend of control and smoothness, even in the "sporty" new SE model. The Highlander Hybrid also benefits from the new V6, and with a combined total of 306 horsepower, it's actually the hot-rod of the Highlander family. Go ahead and ignore the 4-cylinder model, as its meager fuel savings aren't worth the sacrifice in power.

Favorite Features

"DON'T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE!" becomes a whisper, thanks to the Highlander's Driver Easy Speak system. This intercom lets your voice be heard loud and clear even in the third row, making driving a shout-free affair, to the benefit of everyone's stress levels (therapeutic screams notwithstanding).

Whether you need to retrieve or add a single item from the cargo area without the dog escaping, or if you just need to grab that pickle jar so it doesn't smash on the pavement when you open the hatch, the Highlander's flip-up rear glass is the gift that keeps giving.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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