The Highlander has been a favourite of ours in the three-row crossover segment since it was fully redesigned in 2014. In our head-to-head testing it beat out the Hyundai Santa Fe XL that year, which had been the winner of that year's mid-size SUV comparison test. In 2016, it finished fourth. We praised it for cargo space, flexibility, and ride comfort. It can't offer the value of the Kia Sorento, or the fun-to-drive of the Mazda CX-9, and the fuel economy falls behind the Nissan Pathfinder, which gets the highest rated economy of the class. For 2017, Highlander gets more safety, a new engine, and updated styling.
The Highlander gets a bold new grille this year, and some revised styling. The new upper grille is smaller, but the bottom is larger. the new nose is a definite improvement over the old one. There are also slightly changed taillights to match.
Toyota has stepped up the active safety systems as well, adding Safety Sense P as standard on all trims. That gives it forward collision warning and automatic braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings with steering assist, automatic high-beams, and radar cruise control. That gives it one of the best active safety suites around, on even the base model. There are also four extra USB charge ports this year, one of our gripes with the 2016 model.
The new engine is a revised version of the 3.5L V6 that now makes 295 hp and has a new eight-speed automatic. All-wheel drive models get a start-stop feature to help same more gas. If you're looking for even better economy than the rated 11.8/8.7 L/100 km city/highway of the front-drive LE, the 11.7/8.8 of the AWD LE, or the 12.1/9.0 of the Limited and XLE, look at the hybrid model, which is rated at 8.1/8.5 in all available trims.
The 2017 Toyota Highlander is available in three trims. Base LE (in front or all-wheel drive), XLE and Limited. XLE and Limited are all-wheel drive only. The LE comes with tilt and telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone climate control with AC, power windows, tinted rear glass, and a backup camera. The audio system uses a 6.1-inch touchscreen and six-speakers. An optional convenience pack adds satellite radio, an 8.0-inch screen, and adds power adjustment to the driver's seat along with a flip-up window for the power opening rear hatch.
XLE adds three-zone climate control, navigation, artist and song display for the audio, power driver and passenger's seat along with leather for all seats and heating for the front row, leather door trim and steering wheel, and rear door sunshades.
Top trim Limited adds a heated steering wheel and JBL 12-speaker audio. The middle row is now heated Captain's chairs and the front seats are ventilated. All rows are perforated leather. There is an exterior surround view camera, woodgrain trim, and 19-inch alloys. Limited also gets a panoramic sunroof.