2010 Toyota HighlanderClick here to listen to this weeks review
People movers. They come in all shapes and sizes. Wagons, crew cab trucks, SUV’s, CUV’s and vans all contribute to moving friends and family from one place to another. More times than not, the trip is a good time to catch up with friends or to find out how the kid’s day at school went. Sometimes, I think we depend too much on the DVD players to baby sit our kids in the car. Whatever happened to talking to your kid on a trip to school or across the continental U.S.? The Toyota Highlander takes care of all of your worries so you can concentrate on your payload. In this case, we’ll call them friends and family.
With a couple of great engine choices, you can decide whether you want more fuel economy or more power. The base model is equipped with a very impressive 2.7-liter that puts 178hp and 186 lb-ft of torque to the ground; enough to guide you to any destination you wish quietly and effectively. If more power is your mantra ,fine, order the 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. For those of you who remember the mid nineties Camaro Z-28 was very close to those numbers. Just trying to put it in perspective for you so you won’t be turning your performance nose up at 270 hp. The V-6 all-wheel drive Highlander sprints to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds. Not bad for a third row seat bearing SUV. That time easily places the new Toyota Highlander as one of the quickest vehicles in this segment.
Fuel mileage is respectable and averages about 20 mpg. With 24mpg on the Highway and 18 mpg in the city, you can go about your trip or soccer mom duties without fixating on the fuel gauge. These numbers are for the V-6. I haven’t seen the numbers for the I-4 but, surely, they improve on the above numbers.
As expected, all the safety features are included. The list is long and begins with anti-lock brakes, stability control and hill-start assist (this keeps the vehicle from rolling backward on uphill grades). What’s really cool is the downhill assist offered on the all-wheel drive models. The driver even gets a knee airbag. Now, that’s cool. Knee airbag…Tony Soprano…anything.
As with most SUV’s in this segment, the Highlander includes foldable third row seating. I found the process of folding the third row seat down quite easy. Lift and fold. Sounds like a description of Joan Rivers. Seriously, the Highlander offers more than enough room to carry five or six folks comfortably. The middle seat (second row) even offers a 40/20/40 split to allow the passenger to walk through the middle of the car to get to the rear seat.
So, go pick up a new Toyota Highlander without the DVD player and remember what people movers do best. Move a bunch of people you care about and probably need to catch up with.