Toyota’s midsized three-row SUV blends functionality, family-friendliness, and fuel efficiency. Its solid reliability and stellar resale value broaden its appeal.

With more horsepower for 2017, the V6 engine provides ample muscle for drivers to confidently pass or merge in traffic. The new eight-speed transmission and engine start/stop feature improved fuel economy by 2 mpg, for a respectable 22 mpg overall. But unfortunately, the shifts can be felt as mild bumps. For greater efficiency, consider the Highlander Hybrid, with its impressive 25 mpg overall.

Well-suited to road trips, the Highlander’s ride is steady and serene, absorbing road imperfections with ease. Handling is responsive but not particularly engaging. Still, the Highlander remains predictable and secure in emergency maneuvers.

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The driver’s seat is plushly padded, and visibility is largely unobstructed. A roomy three-person second-row seat allows the Highlander to carry up to eight people, although three child seats won’t fit across. Seatbacks easily fold down flat to expand the cargo area, and the numerous storage bins are handy. Controls are simple and clear, including those on the infotainment system’s 8-inch touch screen, but some require a long reach.

Toyota has raised the bar by making active safety systems standard, including forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

Read the complete Toyota Highlander road test.

2017 Toyota Highlander

HIGHS: Standard advanced safety gear, spacious interior, simple controls, strong reliability and resale value
LOWS: Transmission smoothness
POWERTRAIN: 295-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine; eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
FUEL: 22 mpg
PRICE AS TESTED: $41,169


Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the July 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.