Each and every year, millions of vehicles are bought to be used solely as a means to an end; the end being getting to and from work, the mall, or the grocery store, and the means being, say, a Toyota Highlander. It's not the quickest crossover, nor is it the best-handling. In fact, it's not exciting at all. But those things don't matter even one iota to the Highlander's target buyer, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Toyota's midsize crossover is a very sensible automobile, and Toyota is equally as sensible for providing a huge number of buyers with exactly what they want. Here's why the 2017 Toyota Highlander is better than ever before, why it will still be shunned by the enthusiast crowd, and why it will continue selling in droves. Toyota's latest take on the midsize crossover is attractive enough, but it's not going to stand out from the crowd. A new pyramid-shaped grille is the biggest change from previous Highlanders, and it joins new taillights to keep the 2017 model looking fresh. Big changes can be found in the Highlander's engine bay. A new 3.5-liter V6 puts out 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. That's 25 more ponies and 15 more lb-ft than before, and, while it's not as quick as a V6 EcoBoost Ford Explorer, you can feel the extra power from behind the wheel. Base LE models are still saddled with the old 2.7-liter four-cylinder, which is probably best avoided. There's also a new eight-speed automatic transmission in the V6-equipped Highlander for 2017, replacing the old six-speed unit. That helps eke out a bit more fuel economy from the big V6, which is rated at 21 miles per gallon in the city, 27 on the highway, and 23 combined for front-drive versions. Drop one mpg across the board if you choose all-wheel drive. We would suggest that buyers skip the $31,570 Highlander LE; the V6-powered LE Plus, at $37,460, is a more reasonable starting point. XLE models add about $3,000 to that price and benefit from leather seats and an 8.0-inch Entune infotainment system with navigation. The gas-only range tops out at the $44,080 Limited model. For $42,090, the SE trim is aimed at enthusiasts with a (very slightly) sportier suspension tune, 19-inch alloy wheels, and blacked-out projector-beam headlamps. This is the model pictured in our image gallery above. As before, a Highlander Hybrid is offered beside the standard gas-powered models. A total of 306 hp means the Highlander Hybrid is both the most powerful and the most efficient version offered. The EPA rates the Hybrid at 29 mpg combined. Base price for an LE Hybrid is $37,210. The most expensive Highlander you can buy is the $48,820 Hybrid Limited Platinum, which gets a big, panoramic moonroof and a sweet 360-degree Bird's Eye View Camera with multiple viewing modes so you can park this people-mover more easily. All 2017 Highlander models get Toyota Safety Sense standard. That package includes forward collision warning, automatic …
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|MPG||21 City / 27 Hwy|
|Transmission||8-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||295 @ 6600 rpm|
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