Updated: 2/10/17

New for 2017

For 2017, the Highlander gains an updated powertrain, new safety features, added trim levels, and refreshed styling.

Toyota’s Family Hauler Gets An Update

The 2017 Toyota Highlander offers exactly what families need: lots of space and lots of value. As one of the original crossover SUVs, the Highlander has thrived on that formula for years. For the 2017 model year, the current-generation Highlander gets a significant refresh that should help it win over families for several more years.

Performance

Some of the most significant changes for 2017 come under the hood as Toyota tries to improve both the performance and efficiency of its midsize crossover. What hasn’t changed is the availability of both gasoline and hybrid powertrains—something that can’t be said of most of the competition.

A new 3.5-liter V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission make their debut in the 2017 Highlander. The 295-hp V6 features direct injection and a stop-start system on certain trim levels to deliver up to 27 highway mpg (FWD).*The Highlander Hybrid model combines the new V6 with an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT) and electric motor for an EPA-estimated 30 city mpg.* All Highlander models are available with standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. On the hybrid version, all-wheel drive is provided by an additional electric motor that powers the rear wheels.

In addition to the standalone 3.5-liter V6 and hybrid powertrains, the standard powertrain on the Highlander remains a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission rated at the same 185 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque as the 2016 version.

Features

The 2017 Toyota Highlander is a five-door mid-size SUV available in six trim levels: LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited, and Limited Platinum. Pricing starts at $30,630.**

The base LE comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer, and 60/40 split second- and third-row seating. The LE is well-rounded when it comes to features and technologies to make your drive even easier, including an integrated backup camera with projected path and the Entune™ Multimedia Bundle with 6.1-inch high-resolution touchscreen display and six-speaker sound system.

The LE Plus provides additional comfort through upgraded upholstery and tri-zone automatic climate control, and also adds a height-adjustable power liftgate, eight-way power driver seat, satellite and HD Radio™, and high-res eight-inch touchscreen to the base model’s features.

If you’re in the market for additional safety technologies, you’ll love the driver assistance features on the XLE, including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems. Driver Easy Speak (which helps you communicate with rear-seat passengers through the system’s speakers) is also an innovative touch. Other additions on the XLE include keyless entry and ignition, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an updated instrument panel, and embedded navigation. The SE is a sportier variant of the XLE with LED running lights; sport-themed styling, suspension, and interior trim; and 19-inch wheels.

The Limited and Limited Platinum models represent the upper tier of luxury to elevate your daily drive. The Limited adds rear parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats with driver memory settings, and a 12-speaker premium JBL® audio system. Opt for the Limited Platinum and you’ll also enjoy a 360-degree parking camera, front parking sensors, heated steering wheel and second-row seats, and Safety Connect emergency communications.

Design

To complement changes under the skin, the 2017 Toyota Highlander gets a substantial update to its already-handsome styling. As before, the Highlander blends the boxy look of a traditional SUV with some sleeker styling cues, nodding to its car-based crossover design.

To keep the look fresh, Toyota added a new grille design with different finishes denoting different trim levels. The LE, LE Plus, and XLE models get a silver painted finish, the Limited and Limited Platinum get painted chrome, and the SE gets darkened trim. At the back, the taillights are new, and Limited and Limited Platinum models get a chrome trim piece across the rear bumper. The Highlander also gains three new exterior colors for 2017, including Celestial Silver Metallic, Toasted Walnut Pearl, and Salsa Red Pearl for the SE model.

Most Highlander models offer seating for eight, with two rear bench seats. For those desiring a somewhat more luxurious setup, the Limited and Limited Platinum models also offer second-row captain’s chairs, which eliminate one seat but make things a lot more comfortable for those second-row passengers.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Toyota Highlander includes anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control, full airbag protection, and the Toyota Safety Sense bundle of safety features. This includes a Pre Collision System (forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking), lane-departure alert, automatic high beams, pedestrian pre-collision system, and dynamic radar cruise control.

In addition to the standard equipment, the Highlander XLE trim level offers blind spot monitoring, while the Limited Platinum gets a Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan. This employs four cameras to create a 360-degree view, including a rotating view around the vehicle.

Verdict

The updated 2017 Toyota Highlander offers everything a family SUV should.

Be sure to contact us online or visit Molle Toyota at 601 W 103rd St., Kansas City, MO 64114 to be among the first to experience the 2017 Toyota Highlander. 

*2017 EPA-estimated mileage. Actual mileage will vary.

** Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, excludes the Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee of $825 for Cars, $885 for Small/Light Trucks (Sienna, RAV4, Highlander Gas, Highlander HV, 4Runner, Tacoma and Venza), $1100 for Large Trucks (Tundra), and $925 for Large SUVs (Sequoia and Land Cruiser). (Historically, vehicle manufacturers and distributors have charged a separate fee for processing, handling and delivering vehicles to dealerships. Toyota's charge for these services is called the "Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee" and is based on the value of the processing, handling and delivery services Toyota provides as well as Toyota's overall pricing structure. Toyota may make a profit on the Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee.) Excludes taxes, license, title and available or regionally required equipment. The Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee in AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC and TX will be higher. Actual dealer price will vary.

Image: Toyota