The 2015 Toyota Highlander is a crossover SUV with discreet and low-key elegance that doesn’t draw too much attention to its looks but has everything you want and more inside. It’s sleeker and longer than Toyota’s other models and comes with complete features for a smooth riding experience. Under the hood, the engine is a V-6 3.5 L powered by regular unleaded. The transmission is six-speed automatic and you can choose between an all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive. It produces 270 horsepower at 6200 RPM and performs adequately in the area of fuel economy, going at a decent 19 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon on the highway. It’s one of the best when it comes to safety features, tested and approved by safety authorities.
Jump inside and you’ll find that the cabin is well-appointed, comfortably seating eight passengers and including numerous compartments for small items. The Highlander also offers the standard support features for drivers: a warning system when we deviate from our lane, a blind-spot alert, electronically controlled braking and adaptive cruise control, plus a rearview camera which is a great help when parking. The usual price for this SUV ranges from $30,000 for the standard model with basic features up to $52,000 for the Hybrid model and more advanced features.
What’s great about it:
The Highlander can be proud of its exceptionally powerful engine which makes changing gears and passing easy. The V6 engine gives you additional leverage and the ability to haul a maximum of 5,000 pounds. Despite the engine’s strength, it turns out barely discernible noise.
The cabin is also the ultimate in comfort with nicely-cushioned leather seats. Thanks to its acoustic design, you can relax with ease and relish the quiet protection against the loud sound from outside and the engine only produces a subdued murmur anyway. No one will feel cramped either, with sizable leg and headroom for all passengers.
Integrated in the Highlander as well is all the technology necessary for a hassle-free and enjoyable trip: Bluetooth, a USB port, cruise control, and impressive audio system. Most notable is Toyota’s signature Entune infotainment system displayed on a 6.1-inch touch screen. Another excellent feature is the Driver Easy Speak system, so you can communicate with your passengers via microphone connected to the stereo speakers. This is particularly useful if you have boisterous kids sitting at the back row or if you don’t want to raise your voice just to be heard by your passengers.
This vehicle will also keep you confident of your family’s security with its reliable safety features, such as the eight airbags including at the vehicle’s sides, emergency locking retractor for all seatbelts, the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children system, child-protection locks, anti-lock braking system and traction control.
Areas of improvement:
There aren’t a lot of complaints about the 2015 Toyota Highlander. Its issues center mostly on off-road capability, cargo space and its price.
While it can get you safely through bumpy roads, the Highlander is not really built for off-road journeys. Driving it is not an altogether unpleasant experience but it’s not very flexible nor is it easy to maneuver. The steering does feel stable though and not very heavy.
If you’re planning to take a lot of items with you, take note that the Highlander is decidedly lacking in cargo space when compared to its competitors. The extra weight when fully loaded will also affect the vehicle’s speed and power especially if you’re going on a long trip or through hilly terrain.
Another drawback for this vehicle is that if you opt for all the advanced features or if you decide on the Hyrbid version, it can be especially pricey. Some users have also found the dashboard to be distracting but this is a minor concern.
When compared to one of its greatest rivals, the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Santa Fe offers similar features at a slightly lower price. Another top rival, the Kia Sorento, has a comparably powerful engine but lesser interior space.
Dependable and sturdy, the 2015 Toyota Highlander can take you through various landscapes with hardly any trouble, except for off-road journeys which you’ll have to limit when in this vehicle. It drives and handles just like a car and it’s among the most comfortable and secure vehicles offering ample protection in case of accidents. For all these reasons, it was rated as one of the top SUVs and it’s definitely worth considering for families.