Toyota is back with their largest SUV crossover model the 2017 Toyota Highlander. These days crossover the crossover rolls of the assembly line the most and it’s really difficult to compete in this segment. Automobile producers are forced to outdo themselves every time they release a new model, because an OK crossover just won’t do anymore. At the 2017 Highlander’s debut at the New York Auto Show it was immediately clear that this car was going to be a hit. The exterior was updated to look sharper, less bulky and overall a lot more modern. Also, the interior hasn’t stayed behind, it looks fantastic and the tech features on offer are really high class. We are sure this record selling crossover is going to do even better in the upcoming years.
The main difference on the 2017 Toyota Highlander is the front grille. Although most of the 2016 Highlander’s features have been taken over, this upgraded front grille alters the whole face of the car.
The grille is a lot larger and sharper, which gives the front a more aggressive look and thus making it look more like an SUV. The grille is now divided in two parts and has a strip of body-coloured metal running between them. There is no chrome strip around the logo anymore, just dark material that runs all the way down to the bumper. On LE, LE Plus, and XLE the grille will receive a silver painted finish and on the Limited and Platinum it will be a chrome finish.
The headlights will have a slightly different design and will be a bit smaller. The headlights will feature more efficient LED-lights, so the lamps don’t have to be as big for the same amount of lux. The design around the foglights changed a bit as well. Instead of a square cut-out it now has a high vertical niche surrounding it.
The front is looking much better with the simple but impacting change of the grille. That’s why Toyota probably decided to leave the side and rear how they were. The high wheel arches make the car look even more like an SUV, although it’s still categorized as a crossover. It does seem like the dark material that outlines the lower part of the car and bumpers is now a darker shade of gray.
Three new exterior colors options are available: Toasted Walnut Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic, and Salsa Red Pearl (the last only on the SE trim).
The people for who the Toyota Highlander isn’t quite big enough. There is also the giant pick-up truck 2017 Dodge RAM 1500 with a sleek exterior design.
The interior does not change much either. Some alterations have to do with the current available technology features and keeping up with today’s trends. For example, a new brown leather colour is optional on the Limited Platinum trim, since brown leather is gaining popularity among the public.
Also, especially for the SE trim, black leather seats come with silver accents and stitching. Besides that, there’s a black dashboard shelf with matching dashboard and doorpanel inserts.
The 2017 Toyota Highlander now comes with four extra USB-ports throughout the car, bringing the total number of ports to five.
The Highlander comes standard as an eight passenger vehicle, due to a second row bench seat. However, you can choose to have the bench seat removed and put in two captain seats on the second row. This will make the total amount of seats seven. Another great exterior and interior design featuring seven seats is the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SUV. Be sure to check that one out.
The real change in the 2017 Toyota Highlander is found under the hood. The car will be equipped with Toyota’s new 3.5 liter V6 engine with direct injection. This not only makes for more engine power, but also better fuel economy. The engine is also smaller and lighter than the 2016 Highlander’s engine. Although Toyota hasn’t released specific statistics yet, we expect to see the engine make 290 horsepower. The six speed automatic transmission from the 2016 Highlander will be replaced by an eight speed automatic transmission when opting for this engine.
Besides that engine there is still the 2.7 liter four cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission from the 2016 Highlander. Only the lowest trim with FWD will receive this engine option.
Another engine feature that should help the fuel economy is the Stop & Start Engine System. This system shuts off the car automatically at a red light or stuck in traffic and restarts the car immediately when the foot is taken off the brake.
The hybrid will remain available as well. It now comes standard with the 3.5 liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately there was no room in the hybrid for the eight-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid will also come standard with all wheel drive.
Unlike the 2016 Highlander, the 2017 Toyota Highlander will come standard with a whole range of safety features. These features come combined in the Toyota Safety Sense System. Included are: Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning and Automated High Beams. When driving at night this feature automatically turns on the high beams for better vision. At the same time it uses the front camera to detect headlights of oncoming vehicles. Then, it automatically lowers the high beams so as not to blind the oncoming driver.
Furthermore there’s Dynamic Radar Cruise control Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Pre-Collision system.
Toyota’s Perimeter Scan comes standard on the highest trim and provides a 360 degree view around the vehicle, with help of the exterior camera system.
Price and sale date
The 2017 Toyota Highlander is planned to hit dealerships in October. Prices have not been made public yet, but we expect a price of around $31,000.
Europe does not get the 2017 Highlander. Although Americans are quite fond of the large trucklike SUVs, Europeans are less impressed. That’s why many car manufacturers decide to not release their SUV in Europe, or limit their offering to one. The largest Toyota crossover currently available in Europe is the latest 2017 Toyota C-HR, at a decent price and reasonable sale date.