By Autoreviewman

For the 2017 model year, all Highlander models receive a few nips and tucks to keep it looking fresh and vibrant. There is bolder styling, improved safety features and more power. The Highlander range features the LE, LE Plus, SE, XLE, Limited, and Limited Platinum models that become more plush and high specced as you move up the hierarchy. The Highlander Hybrid we tested was the loaded Limited version. On the outside, a huge redesigned upper and lower grill amps up the front fascia, there is also a new rear fascia and the Limited version as we tested now rolls on big 19 inch wheels with a cool “black chrome” finish. The Limited model adds puddle lamps that spell out “Highlander” on the ground, all models get LED taillights, and the rear end features a chrome garnish on higher line models. Inside, there is an updated instrument panel, interior trim and more space in all quarters.

Overall it’s a pleasing mixture of lines and textures. The 2017 Highlander Limited model as tested came as standard with two second-row captain’s chairs and features a fold-away cup holder tray between the seats that allows for small adults or kids to access the cozy third row seats. The second-row captain’s chairs can be adjusted forward or back for extra flexibility. The Limited model comes with such features as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, driver’s seat memory, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, a surround-view camera system, a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, and a panoramic sunroof.

Powering the Highlander Hybrid is a 3.5L, V6 engine along with Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD), combined with Toyota’s efficient high-speed electric motors. Together they are mated to an Electronically Controlled Variable Transmission (ECVT) to create favorable fuel economy results. The gasoline engine and the electric motor work together to create a peak horsepower figure of 306 horsepower. (Up 26 hp from the previous model.) This smooth-riding vehicle is a great city CUV or sublime highway cruiser.

Fuel economy is rated at 1/8.5/8.3 L/100 km city/hwy/combined, making the Highlander Hybrid, one of the most fuel-efficient seven- or eight-seat SUVs on the market. With its proven pedigree, fantastic build quality reliability and low running costs the new 2017 Highlander Hybrid makes for an excellent family Crossover Utility vehicle. Highly recommended.

2017 Highlander Hybrid Limited: Base MRSP $55,990.

Total MRSP with AC levy, freight and PDI $57,878.

 

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