6 things you should know about the 2017 Toyota Highlander Midsize SUV

Article by Christian A., on October 18, 2016

With the perennial leader Ford Explorer seemingly pulling away and the Honda Pilot inching closer this 2016, Toyota seriously updated its Highlander midsize SUV for 2017 hoping it would gain more traction than before.

For the 2017 model, the new Toyota Highlander benefits from a new SE trim as well as a new version of its V6 engine.

While the 2016 Highlander comes with a 3.5-liter 2GR-FE engine, the 2017 model is provided with a more powerful yet more efficient, direct-and-port-injected 3.5-liter 2GR-FKS V6 unit.

So, what can you expect from the 2017 Toyota Highlander?

A Super Large Grille

Perhaps there is no better way to describe the new 2017 Highlander than an SUV with a very large grille. This grille essential defines the front end of the new Highlander.

While the grille might be indicative – as what designers from Toyota may want to convey – of the higher power output of the new V6 (higher than the 270 hp of current engine), it dominates most of the surface area on the front end, making the Highlander look more imposing if not angrier.

A Sportier Version

For the first time, the new 2017 Toyota Highlander will be offered in the new SE trim level, which has been designed to inject sportiness into the SUV. In terms of performance, the SE trim is only sportier when it comes to the suspension, which has been tweaked to become firmer. Aside from that, it’s better not to expect to be blown away by its performance.

Appearance-wise, however, the new Highlander SE indeed looks sportier and bolder – boasting of dark-silver lower grille and headlamp surrounds as well as dark-silver roof rails. It also boasts of model-specific 19-inch wheels and the SE-exclusive Salsa Red Pearl exterior color. The cabin, meanwhile, features black leather seats with silver contrast stitching as well as extra black accents.

A More Premium Platinum Trim

To cater to customers with premium preferences, Ford is offering a Platinum version of the Explorer. The 2017 Highlander Limited Platinum is targeting the same set of customers and has been loaded with features and elements that should make it look and feel more luxurious. Exclusive to this trim level are exclusive wood accents and brown leather seats.

Interestingly, the material and the color of the brown leather are the same as those on the Lexus LS – making them look more premium and feel more luxurious. Well, this is not surprising considering that Lexus is Toyota’s luxury division.

Moreover, the Highlander Limited Platinum is provided with newly designed 19-inch wheels in a dark chrome finish as well as light projection puddle lamps usually seen on Jaguar and Lincoln models.

No Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

For those wanting to cast their smartphones to the control monitor of the Toyota Highlander, still not good news for them -- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still not on the options list. Sorry guys!

More Standard Safety Features

The 2017 Highlander will be offered – as standard – with adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams automatic pre-collision braking, forward-collision warning (with pedestrian detection) and lane-departure warning systems.

More Affordable Efficiency

The hybrid version of the Highlander is ideal for customers seeking to save on the gas and the cash. However, the 2016 Highlander Hybrid was offered only in Limited and Limited Platinum trim levels – which makes them hard to avail if one doesn’t have a deep pocket. But for 2017, the Highlander Hybrid is now more accessible as it is being in base LE and XLE trims.

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