The fourth-generation Highlander looks, feels, and drives in a very familiar way. It benefits from incremental improvements across the board and remains competitive in the three-row midsize SUV class. All told, it’s a smart choice for families looking for a do-it-all vehicle—but it is not a standout.
The smooth running, lively V6 engine serves up lots of power for passing or climbing hills. It’s paired with a responsive, smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid version feels less powerful but gets an impressive 35 mpg overall.
The Highlander’s ride is compliant and controlled. Handling is slightly more agile, and a touch more capable when pushed to its limits. The soft suspension allowed pronounced body roll when driving the Toyota on our track and through our accident-avoidance maneuver. Any Highlander customer that was happy with the old Highlander’s dynamics will be happy with the current one.