The Toyota Highlander ranks among the best midsized, three-row SUVs, with a desirable balance of an absorbent ride, responsive handling, and generous interior space. A third row allows seating for eight in a pinch--seven with optional second-row captain's chairs--and folds flat easily for more cargo stowage. The punchy 3.5-liter V6 is now matched to an eight-speed automatic. While the new transmission isn't as smooth as the previous six-speed one, it helped improve fuel economy to 22 mpg overall. The Hybrid version gets 25 mpg overall. It's a long reach to some controls, particularly the touch screen. The Entune system includes a larger 8-inch screen. A comprehensive suite of safety technology, including automatic emergency braking, is standard.