A Refreshed Mainstay Glides into Middle-Age 2011 Toyota Highlander – Click above for high-res image gallery After more than a decade of wild growth and nearly limitless prosperity, Toyota experienced an unthinkable 2010 – the bandwagon derailed in a very ugly, very public way. Embarrassing recalls played their role in the Japanese automaker's uncharacteristic slide, but even though that public black eye is beginning to heal, Toyota is still grappling with an aging product lineup. The Camry and Corolla still sell in massive numbers, but they're growing long in the tooth. Admittedly, the latter received a very mild refresh for 2011, but the competition has caught up with each in every category that counts. It's much the same story for Toyota's truck and SUV portfolio, where the RAV4, Tacoma, FJ Cruiser and Tundra are hardly spring chickens. Compounding the issue is the lukewarm response to some of its newly refreshed. The styling remains staid. The interiors are no longer class-leading. The powertrains and fuel economy have done little to separate them from the rest of the pack. Still, not all Toyota models are headed off the reservation. The redesigned Sienna has been well-received and is doing good work on the sales floor. The same can still be said for the Prius and the redesigned 4Runner, which is selling far better than its predecessor. The subject of Toyota's latest refresh and the vehicle featured here, the 2011 Highlander, has been consistently successful over its lifespan. Will new tweaks to the seven-passenger crossover help this perennial top-seller stay near the top of the pack, or could the lack of a more comprehensive redesign relegate this CUV to also-ran status? Continue reading... %Gallery-114327% Photos copyright ©2011 Chris Shunk / AOL With over 92,000 sales in 2010, it's clear that CUV shoppers are at least considering the Highlander. In fact, the only three-row crossovers that have been more successful are the Chevrolet Traverse and Honda Pilot, with 107,000 and 102,000 units sold respectively. To keep customers streaming into the showroom, Toyota has updated its bread-and-butter CUV with updates like bolder projector-style headlamps and standard three-row seating. Limited-spec models like our tester start at $36,575 in front-wheel drive guise and $37,375 with all-wheel drive, and all trim levels receive a standard power liftgate, satellite radio and connectivity features including Bluetooth and USB. Each Limited model also comes with standard heated front seats and a no-charge power moonroof. Among the options checked off on our $43,635 all-wheel drive tester included a $4,630 infotainment package that bundles together a nine-inch navigation screen, rear seat DVD and a premium JBL sound system. Other standard features on the Limited trim level include 19-inch wheels, a 10-way power driver's seat and tri-zone climate control. New features usually help move more models, but refreshed aesthetics do a lot to bring customers to dealerships. In that spirit, the Highlander has been given a thorough nose job for 2011, with a chiseled beak that gives a more muscular appearance. An aggressive new …
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