2015 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum AWD
Class: Standard SUV
Fuel Economy: 18/24
Base Price: $43,790
Toyota is no stranger to the successful creation of family vehicles and the 2015 Highlander is certainly no exception. Made for everyday family functions as well as comfort for traveling and vacationing, the Highlander appeals across the board to many different people with varying interests and vehicle needs.
The engine in the Highlander is sized perfectly to match the weight and build of the vehicle supplying 270 horsepower via a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission and a 5000-pound towing capacity. Taking the Highlander on a quick road trip from Birmingham to Atlanta allowed me to check out the power with interstate driving and it was absolutely up to the challenge! Also noted was the smooth road handling and increased mileage on the highway (I averaged 20.9 mpg up from 14.6 mpg experienced in the stop-and-go city traffic).
Aside from the exterior smooth lines that, branded with the iconic Toyota badges, make it recognizable to all as an established brand of dependable family traveling machines, Toyota has some other fun things to brag about in the Highlander. Let’s take a look at five of them now.
1. Interior comfort is excellent! Large, soft bucket seats with premium leather in the front and middle seating areas offer roominess all throughout the front two-thirds of the vehicle. And seat warmers (even in the second row) are a well-used amenity when the weather is chilly. Lastly, parents will appreciate the overwhelming presence of cup holders to accommodate all the many sippy cups, water bottles and juice boxes that tend to accompany families in their cars.
2. The soft nighttime glows across the dashboard in hues of blue were not only eye-pleasing, but also subtle enough to make the cockpit a bit more upscale in appearance. I loved this take on the front cabin lighting.
3. My children are older (and larger) so the third row is more helpful folded down for suitcases and storage than seating, but for families with younger kids, that third row is easily accessible when needed for seating. And, it is so easy to fold the back seats down to make room for groceries, sports equipment, strollers and other everyday essentials.
4. Safety is a given with tons of air bags, great crash test ratings and lots of extras. Among those extras are things like anti-lock brakes; rear backup camera; and blind spot monitoring. No parent wants to sacrifice safety for any other feature on a car and Toyota does a really good job of making sure that their cars, trucks and SUVs have this topic top of mind.
5. The controls were straightforward and easy to operate, but look so fancy! For folks who like gizmos and gadgets, the “look” of that is there, but with ease of operation for those of us who enjoy technology on a user-friendly level. I’m always amazed at how quickly the children pick up on how to operate all of the vehicle controls (radio, temperature, entertainment, etc.).
I’m often asked by friends and family, what vehicle is reliable and safe for families…and Toyota is always at the top of that list. Hopefully, this gives a bit more of an insiders look at the Highlander. Aside from that, how can you not love a family-friendly SUV like this one, especially when the color is Ooh La La Rouge Mica? As always, don’t take my word for it. Get out and drive one for yourself. Mom will love the power rear liftgate, cup holders and upscale interior. Dad will love the powerful engine and ability to tow the toys to the lake. And the kids will love the comfort and space they have when moving to and fro. It’s a win-win for Toyota!
Photos courtesy of Toyota USA.