2017 Toyota Highlander Walk Around

The new nose (grille and headlamps) is more aggressive without being distinctive. The old grille was smoother and subtler, and more traditionally Toyota-SUV-shaped. It’s hard to tell the Highlander from any other SUV on the road now. For sure it looks a lot bigger than what might be considered mid-size. Its size and square lines makes it look more like a truck-based SUV than a smooth crossover.

The grille is angular, silver on lower trim models, black on the new SE, and platinum on the Limiteds. It protrudes, adding 1.3 inches to the Highlander’s already long length. The Limited model has lights that spell the word Highlander on the ground, and looks cooler than it sounds.


The instrument panel only has a little bit of truck in it, that goes totally away with the big touchscreen on some models. Although the climate control still uses large easy knobs. The big gauges are a welcome sight.

The cabin is quiet, calm, refined. Luxury inside, with thick acoustic glass and floor insulation. The lines and textures mix well, if sometimes a bit busily; and the flat, rich dashboard features a storage spot that opens things up. Cubbies are not hard to find.

The long wheelbase of 110 inches provides plenty of room inside to work with. But three rows of seats have to be squeezed in, so it’s not a slam-dunk. Most models have a sliding second-row bench that splits 60/40 and seats three, to make eight passengers; but the Limiteds offer captain’s chairs, or seven passengers.

The front seats are good but manual, if you want power adjustment you have to buy a Limited. You can get them cooled, but you’ll feel the hardware through the seat.

The optional sunroof takes up headroom, but you can recline the second row and look up at the sky.

The so-counted three-seat third row is very small, with little headroom or legroom, kids only. However it is possible for two adults to reach the seats and fit into them.

But the third row folds flat, so if you don’t need the space for children, there’s 42.3 cubic feet behind the second row; and with that row folded it’s 83.7 behind the front row, enough room for bunk beds.

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