2017 Toyota Highlander Review
2017 Toyota Highlander Review
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Used Highlander for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Edmunds ContributorJames Riswick is an automotive journalist at Edmunds.
- Just-right exterior and interior size for many families
- Standard high-tech safety features
- Strong V6 engine with improved fuel economy
- Quiet and compliant ride
- Third-row seat isn't as roomy as those of many competitors
- Touchscreen and other controls may require an extra-long reach
- Undesirable base four-cylinder engine
For 2017, the Highlander receives a number of significant midcycle changes. The styling has been updated, highlighted by a larger, more pronounced grille and redesigned LED taillights. The V6 engine is new, boasting more power and better fuel economy along with an eight-speed transmission and an automatic stop-start system. New feature content includes the Toyota Safety Sense technology suite, which comes standard on every trim level. There's also a new SE trim level that features uniquely sporty styling elements and a retuned suspension for sharper handling.
The well-rounded 2017 Toyota Highlander does just about everything you're probably looking for in a three-row family SUV. It's one of our top choices in a tough segment devoid of stinkers and should definitely be on your must-drive list.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2017 Toyota Highlander XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $4.64 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Midsize SUV
The Highlander has a just-right size for many families. It's not too cumbersome to maneuver, yet its interior should offer more than enough space for growing broods. Its new V6 engine — standard on most trims — also impresses with capable acceleration and comparatively good fuel economy, while the driving experience strikes a good balance between comfort, isolation and driver feedback. You're also likely to appreciate the Highlander's well-made, versatile cabin, which gains an additional four USB ports for 2017 — your power-hungry kids will certainly approve. Then there's the newly standard Safety Sense package, with technologies such as autonomous braking to help avoid or mitigate collisions.
At the same time, with so many appealing three-row alternatives on the market, we highly recommend cross-shopping the Highlander with top competitors. The Toyota's many virtues — including its strong reliability reputation and resale value — may make it seem like a slam dunk, but this vehicle class is just too strong for a one-and-done shopping process. Try a few out and see which one feels best to you.
Edmunds' Expert Rating4.0 / 5
The well-rounded 2017 Toyota Highlander does just about everything you're probably looking for in a three-row family SUV. Its manageable size, well-made cabin, powerful and efficient engine, easy tech controls and pleasant driving experience are standouts.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 Toyota Highlander XLE (3.5L V6 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Highlander has received some revisions, including a new V6 engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission and additional feature content. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Highlander.
|Overall||4.0 / 5|
An appealing combination of a powerful V6, proficient brakes and intuitive, precise steering, plus good handling and decent towing and off-road credentials place the Highlander among the class best.
The Highlander's V6 already provided impressive acceleration in 2014, and the new V6 only improves upon that. The new eight-speed automatic is smooth and reasonably responsive.
Despite a vague-feeling pedal, the Highlander provides substantial braking effectiveness — the panic-stop distance from 60 mph in Edmunds testing ranks among the class best — and very good fade resistance.
About as good as it gets for a large SUV. It has intuitive response and reassuring feedback when cornering and isolated straight-line stability on the highway. And it's a cinch to park.
A confident and competent handler, right up to the relatively low limit set by the stability control system, which really lets you know when you're asking too much. The new SE model's sport-tuned suspension provides a firmer ride but only minor handling improvements.
The Highlander feels bigger than some competitors when behind the wheel, so tighter parking maneuvers may feel hairy. It has nice-and-easy steering for parking lots, though, and indeed this is a very easy SUV to drive in general.
No low-range gearing, but a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, 8 inches of ground clearance, hill hold and hill descent control, and advantageous approach/departure angles give the Highlander admirable off-road capabilities for a family hauler.
Lexus-lite. The Highlander's seats, ride comfort and utterly silent atmosphere are nearly as good as you'll find in SUVs from corporate cousin Lexus.
Heated leather front seats are as comfy as furniture and offer tons of adjustment, including extendable thigh support. Second-row seats are firmer, but they slide and recline in a wide range. The third row is merely acceptable; certain competitors are better.
One of the Highlander's best qualities is its ride comfort. This crossover is highly isolated and confident without feeling like a floating barge. Few if any road irregularities intrude.
Noise & vibration5.0
One of the quietest SUVs we've ever measured. Only an occasional wisp of wind noise is evident on a gusty highway pass.
With only a couple of exceptions (e.g., some long reaches for controls), the Highlander's interior is highly competitive in terms of access, space and ergonomics.
Ease of use3.5
Some controls, specifically those for the audio system, are located too far away. Otherwise, Toyota's typical array of controls is easy to use.
Getting in/getting out4.0
It can be difficult to reach the third row, as the second row (be it captain's chairs or the bench) doesn't provide a wide path to the way back. The doors are large, though, and the seats are of a reasonable height.
Abundant seat adjustments, including power-adjustable thigh support (a rare feature) on most trim levels. Sufficient seat and telescoping-wheel travel for taller drivers.
As is true of most competitors, the first and second rows provide copious room for adult occupants. The third row is squishier than that of the Honda Pilot despite having three seat belts — only small kids are likely to fit three abreast back there.
Quality of materials is high, and during the course of our one-year long-term test of a Highlander, everything in the cabin remained nicely screwed together. Impressive.
Overall cargo capacity is average for this segment, which means that there should be abundant room for most families. Small item storage is very good.
There's a unique built-in shelf on the dashboard that serves as a resting place for phones or other personal items. A vast amount of space is found under the sliding armrest cover — it's big enough to store a laptop or a sizable purse.
The Highlander offers an average amount of cargo capacity for the segment, regardless of how many rows are in place — nothing significantly outdoes it. Others are better behind the third row, however, notably the Ford Explorer.
A properly equipped Highlander V6 can tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is essentially the standard for the segment. To beat that, you'll need a more rugged alternative such as the Dodge Durango.
The 2017 Highlander's standard suite of safety technology is a nice plus, especially if you don't have the money for a range-topping model. The infotainment interface is is pleasantly easy to use.
Audio & navigation
Toyota's touchscreen interfaces aren't the flashiest or most feature-packed, but they are easy to use. The 8-inch version (standard on most models) is notably quick to respond to inputs and features large, easily pressed icons.
Every 2017 Highlander comes standard with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, along with adaptive cruise control and lane departure intervention. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are included on the XLE on up.
Which Highlander does Edmunds recommend?
For starters, we do not recommend the base LE with its standard four-cylinder engine, which is much slower than the V6 and less efficient, too. Although you can specify the V6 on the LE, our favorite model is the one-step-up LE Plus. It includes the V6 and all the necessities, as well as niceties such as a flip-up rear window, tri-zone climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen and a power liftgate. Fancier models provide garnishes such as leather upholstery and heated front seats, but we'd only wish for keyless entry and ignition (XLE and up).
2017 Toyota Highlander models
The 2017 Highlander is a large three-row crossover SUV with seating for eight, but optional second-row captain's chairs reduce capacity to seven. There are LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited and Limited Platinum trim levels. The LE isn't a stripped-down model, but its standard four-cylinder engine is a bummer. The LE Plus has key upgrades such as the V6 engine (optional on LE), a power liftgate and tri-zone automatic climate control, while the XLE, Limited and Limited Platinum essentially slather on luxury feature content. The SE stands out with unique styling and sportier driving dynamics.
The base LE comes standard with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine (185 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The 3.5-liter V6 that's standard on all other trims (295 hp, 263 lb-ft) is optional on the LE and comes paired with an eight-speed automatic. All-wheel drive can be added to the V6 as an option. Other standard feature content includes 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, rear privacy glass, the Toyota Safety Sense bundle (automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure intervention, and forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking), a rearview camera, rear air-conditioning, a six-way manually adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split second-row seat (slides, reclines, folds), a 60/40-split third-row seat (reclines, folds), five USB ports, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and a media player interface.
The LE Plus adds a height-adjustable power liftgate, a flip-up rear window, foglights, tri-zone automatic climate control, upgraded upholstery and trim, an eight-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a higher-resolution 8-inch touchscreen, satellite and HD radio, and a variety of smartphone-connection apps.
The XLE adds a sunroof, roof rails, keyless entry and ignition, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, an upgraded instrument panel, leather upholstery (first and second rows), simulated leather third-row upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, second-row window sunshades, Driver Easy Speak (carries the driver's voice through the rear speakers to distant passengers) and a navigation system.
The SE is equipped similarly to the XLE but has LED running lights, sport-themed styling elements and suspension tuning, 19-inch wheels and sporty interior trim.
The Limited starts with the XLE's content and adds LED running lights, different 19-inch wheels, rear parking sensors, a rear cargo cover, heated and ventilated front seats, driver memory settings, second-row captain's chairs (optional on the XLE) and a 12-speaker JBL audio system.
The Limited Platinum gains a panoramic sunroof, automatic wipers, a 360-degree parking camera, front parking sensors, Safety Connect emergency communications, a heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats.
The Limited and Limited Platinum can be optionally equipped with the second-row bench. A rear-seat entertainment system (9-inch display, DVD player, RCA jacks, wireless headphones) is optional on all but the LE and LE Plus.
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Spacious cabin and features for the little ones!
LE 4dr SUV (2.7L 4cyl 6A)
This is the only vehicle I've ever owned that I've enjoyed more than my '69 El Camino. The roominess is perfect to those long drives to Florida from Virginia and the suspension seems incredibly smooth. Also, it has 5 USB chargers which judging by the lack of bickering between my grand kids, is a great thing for keeping them pre occupied on their I-Andriods and bluetooth players. The … engine is also smooth as silk and has the peppiness I need when pulling out into Florida traffic (people drive like animals)!
5 out of 5 stars
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
We traded in our beloved 2007 Highlander for the 2017 because we needed the higher tow capacity. Wow, wow, wow! We feel enveloped in luxury and comfort. The 2017 has a much steadier ride, top quality materials and is more comfortable and roomy. We owned the Sport version previously because I hated the sloppy body roll on the regular 2007 Highlander. The XLE 2017 has a more responsive … ride and corners better, it is much smoother and steadier overall and all of the seats are roomier and very comfortable. Love the telescoping steering wheel, front shelf and pop-up hatch window, too. I am struggling with the new technology, but learning to love and appreciate it fast. The Stop Start system works really well once you get the hang of how and when to use it and is almost undetectable in use. Some of the climate controls are not intuitive (update-after owning this vehicle for one month...I am STILL struggling with the climate controls...only thing I can complain about really) and wondering why MPH not digitally displayed. Hoping this new Highlander is as reliable as our 2007! I am 5'6" husband is 6'5" and we both find it very comfortable, my husband can't stop raving about this vehicle either. Wow! Look forward to every drive now! Update: No issues after a summer of driving and towing. Towing is strong and steady. 1 year update - Vehicle is great, no problems about 10,000 miles. Handles snow and ice superb, my old Highlander did not. Also the 4wd button option has been used numerous times and worked perfectly for the situation for us. EnTune is the only consistent headache for me. It doesn't always work well with my phone/Pandora accounts and I have to reconnect constantly (no Pandora music if I don't). Small issue with rear bumper 'melting' in a small spot near exhaust - Toyota is replacing at no charge. We love the vehicle, it is perfect for our lifestyle of mountain biking, camping, hauling dogs around for hikes and bikes.....2 year update-vehicle running great. No issues.
5 out of 5 stars
Growing Appreciation and Satisfaction
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
Bought this car as a downsize. Traded in my 17 mpg Sequioia. This car is MUCH smaller, much easier to drive, and much more "car like". This is my second review. The car is roughly 5 months old & has 3600 miles. No mechanical problems thus far. The ride is comfortable. The front & middle seats are very spacious and comfortable. The dashboard display is clear & intuitive. … Ride comfort is very good, but to be fair, roads where I live are very smooth. Those who have criticized this car's acceleration are misguided. We drive with the car in "eco" mode. Acceleration is MORE THAN ADEQUATE!!!! Step on the gas, and the car moves. Overall mileage has been spot on EPA estimates: roughly 22 mpg, with a bias of 65% to 75% city driving. As for highway mileage, we took our first "semi-long" highway drive the other day, 300 miles round trip, 95% highway driving, set the cruise control at 68 mpg, and realized 28.4 mph upon fill up. So, a 290 hp 3 row SUV, with full time all wheel drive, with air conditioning running the whole time, returned 28.4 mpg over a 300 mile trip. Need I say anymore about fuel efficiency? Pretty impressive, in my opinion. If this car holds up like previous Toyotas, it's a no brainer, and should be on anyone's short list of 3 row. mid-sized SUVs. 11 months and 9,000 into ownership, we have only grown to appreciate this car more.
5 out of 5 stars
Best 3 row SUV in its class!
XLE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
I can't stop raving about my new Highlander! I saw the Pilot and MDX at the dealers and read a lot about the other competitors, Explorer, Traverse, Acadia, etc. It has more standard features than the base level MDX or even a comparable Pilot - for example, to get the 2nd row Captain's Chairs in the Pilot you have to go to the highest trim level or to get the Honda Sensing safety … features you have to pay 1,000, also Navigation is extra (at least on the EX-L). I love all the standard safety features that are included in the Toyota (collision mitigation, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, etc.) and it comes with optional Captain's Chairs (which are very comfortable) on the XLE. Yes, the 3rd row seating is smaller than the Pilot but we don't intend to use it that often and when we do it will be mainly for children so that was not a big issue for us. The rear seat cargo room when the 3rd row is up is smaller than the Pilot but again, we don't anticipate that being a big issue and I believe it is bigger than the other cars in this class. The fuel economy is what you would expect for a car of this size and weight. I did not get the AWD on purpose because we don't need it and it just adds expense, but having said that, finding a FWD was very hard - I call my car the "unicorn" because it was so hard to find. I look forward to driven this car every time I get into it!
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Highlander models:
- Forward Collision Warning/Auto-Brake
- Can detect and automatically brake for other cars and pedestrians.This standard feature is optional on its competitors.
- Lane Departure Alert and Steering Assist
- Helps keep you in your lane. Another typically optional feature that is standard.
- Driver Knee & Passenger Cushion Airbags
- Not every competitor has these extra airbags for front occupants. They are standard.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover18.5%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2017 Toyota Highlander
Used 2017 Toyota Highlander Overview
The Used 2017 Toyota Highlander is offered in the following submodels: Highlander SUV. Available styles include XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A), XLE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A), Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A), Limited Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A), LE Plus 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A), SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A), SE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A), LE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A), LE Plus 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A), LE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A), Limited Platinum 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A), and LE 4dr SUV (2.7L 4cyl 6A). Pre-owned Toyota Highlander models are available with a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 295 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2017 Toyota Highlander comes with all wheel drive, and front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 8-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2017 Toyota Highlander comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 2 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2017 Toyota Highlander?
Price comparisons for Used 2017 Toyota Highlander trim styles:
- The Used 2017 Toyota Highlander XLE is priced between $26,994 and$37,998 with odometer readings between 10658 and144093 miles.
- The Used 2017 Toyota Highlander Limited is priced between $28,237 and$41,995 with odometer readings between 11953 and118790 miles.
- The Used 2017 Toyota Highlander SE is priced between $29,499 and$35,998 with odometer readings between 49961 and95568 miles.
- The Used 2017 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum is priced between $30,988 and$40,998 with odometer readings between 33810 and105792 miles.
- The Used 2017 Toyota Highlander LE is priced between $21,888 and$30,995 with odometer readings between 43989 and97787 miles.
- The Used 2017 Toyota Highlander LE Plus is priced between $27,990 and$34,590 with odometer readings between 4419 and98775 miles.
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Which used 2017 Toyota Highlanders are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2017 Toyota Highlander for sale near. There are currently 67 used and CPO 2017 Highlanders listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $21,888 and mileage as low as 4419 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2017 Toyota Highlander.
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 Toyota Highlander?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.