Toyota took to the New York Auto Show to unveil the latest edition of the 2017 Toyota Highlander midsize SUV. The crossover SUV is sold as Toyota Kluger in some markets. This vehicle has dominated the midsize SUV segment since its launch.
This is due to its excellent blend of comfort, drivability, reliability and fuel efficiency which makes it stay a step ahead of the competition. The automaker has redesigned the new Highlander to be even better. The new model will feature an updated exterior profile, an upgraded cabin and an array of new technologies. Read along to find out more:
2017 Toyota Highlander Exterior
On the outside, the five-door crossover SUV features a number of visual upgrades. To start with, a new trim has been added. The new sporty SE trim will slot between the XLE and Limited trims. Other trims include the lower LE and LE Plus and the top Limited Platinum trim.
At the front, the ne Highlander will feature a new grille borrowed from Lexus. For lower trims LE, LE Plus and XLE, their grilles have a silver paint finish while the top trims feature a chrome finish. This grille finish also extends to headlights housings. The upper grille features Toyota’s logo at the center. Below the grille is a redesigned bumper which is integrated with fog lights at the extreme ends. LED lighting is offered all around for headlights and taillights. The headlights housings also integrate LED DRLs just below the main headlights. At the rear, all trims feature redesigned taillight housings. The top Limited and Limited Platinum trims feature a chrome strip on the rear bumper.
All the trims ride on a set of 18-inch alloy wheels but the new SE trim rides on 19-inchers.
The new SE trim exterior profile is differentiated by a dark paint on the grilles and headlight housings as well as on its roof rails. The SE also features a sport-tuned suspension. Salsa Red Pear exterior color is offered only on the SE trim.
Two new exterior colors are available for all models; they are Toasted Walnut Pearl and Celestial Silver Metallic.
2017 Toyota Highlander Interior
Inside the Highlander’s cabin, you will meet a blend of comfort features and technological gadgets. Lower trims feature quality cloth upholstery while top trims are upholstered in quality leather. The cabin is capable of accommodating either 7 or 8 passengers depending on the choice of second-row seats chosen. Buyers have an option to choose between captain seats and bench seats for the second row seats. When bench seats are chosen, it accommodates 8 passengers and 7 passengers when one opts for captain seats. The seats provide ample head and legroom. These seats are also heated.
Changing gear to the tech’s department, the vehicle features an 8.0-inch infotainment system which integrates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and Smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For audiophiles, the Highlander features a 6-speaker sound system with a CD/DVD player, FM/AM radio, satellite radio and HD radio. The cabin also features a whole five USB ports compared to the current model’s single USB port. It also features a 3-zone automatic climate control system,
The new SE trim is differentiated by an exclusive black leather trim on the seats which is contrasted with a silver stitching. It also features silver seat inserts, silver door inserts and a black colored front tray.
To answer critics who argued that the previous model lacked adequate safety systems, Toyota has equipped all Highlander trims with Toyota’s Safety Sense P suite. This suite features lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control and pre-collision warning system with automatic emergency brake assist as standard. A pre-collision warning which uses radar and cameras to detect objects and pedestrians ahead and then warns the driver is optional for all models. The XLE trim adds blind-spot monitoring while the top Limited Platinum trim features a 360-degree view camera that uses 4 cameras to give the driver’s a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle’s surroundings.
During the launch, Toyota didn’t reveal output numbers of the Highlander’s engine lineup. However, we know that the entry level LE trim will carryover its 2.7 L 4-cylinder engine which produces 185 hp. This engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission system and is the only trim offered in FWD others are offered in AWD. Higher trims will derive their power from a new version of the 3.5 L V6 petrol engine that drives the current models.
The engine is direct injected and though output details were not released, we understand that the engine will exceed the current engine’s 270 horses. The engine is mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission system. Further, the engine is fitted with a stop/start technology. The new enhancements will help the model deliver better fuel economy as well as offer a better driving experience.
Just like the outgoing models lineup, there will be a hybrid Highlander. Unlike in the previous version where it was only offered on the Limited and Limited Platinum trims hence out of reach for some buyers, the 2017 Highlander hybrid will also be offered on the LE and XLE trims. The hybrid drive-train will feature the same 3.5 L V-6 engine combined with an electric motor but unlike the petrol engines, the hybrid engine will be paired with a CVT system.
Price and release date
Toyota is yet to announce official prices of the 2017 Toyota Highlander. The automaker has however announced that the crossover SUV will be available in dealer showrooms this fall.
As for the price, expect a slight increment from the outgoing models to reflect the new changes and the prevailing inflation rates. The automaker will release actual pricing details close to the model’s on-sale date.
Due to low fuel prices, crossover SUVs and fully fledged SUVs are becoming attractive again. As such, competition in this segment is growing. The 2017 Toyota Highlander will do battle with the likes of Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer. GMC and Mazda also want a piece of this segment with their Acadia and CX-9 respectively.