A refreshed Highlander is on the way, and the world will get its first glimpse of the revamped CUV at the 2016 New York Auto Show.
The exterior styling of the 2017 Highlander has been tweaked, and while it is still not that exciting to look at, it still retains its function over form motif which should please young families. The front grille for example features new finishes that vary depending on the model selected. Naturally, the up-level Limited and Platinum models get the fanciest trim but expect the other models to still look good. The rear fascia features slightly tweaked taillamps that will be sleeker than before, but will otherwise retain the current generation’s styling language.
Enthusiasts looking for some form of fun from the Highlander will be content with the all new SE model (pictured). The SE brings model exclusive 19-inch wheels, a sport tuned suspension, and dark trim for the front grille and headlights. While it will not fare well in dogfights with more performance oriented entries from SRT, AMG, or M, it should help make the trek to soccer practice less mundane, while also adding a bit of style at the same time.
As for the interior, three row functionality has always been a strong selling point for the Highlander, and the 2017 model continues this trend by offering buyers the choice of either seven or eight passenger configurations. This is awesome, but with only five USB ports in the entire vehicle, expect three of the passengers to be forced to fend for themselves. Otherwise expect the cabin to largely retain the basic layout that is already seen in the current generation Highlander albeit with minor tweaks to distinguish between trim levels.
Performance for the 2017 Highlander comes from a pair of engines with the base 2.7 liter four cylinder engine being carried over from the previous generation with the older six speed automatic also carrying over but only on the front wheel drive LE model. Higher grade models receive an all new 3.5 liter V6, but the big news here is that it is hooked up to an all new eight speed automatic transmission. As for the Highlander Hybrid, that model will continue to live on, and still offer its Continuously Variable Transmission and all-wheel drive capability as standard equipment. Toyota did not release formal performance figures, but expect that information to be revealed closer to its official debut.
With the CUV segment as a whole greatly expanding due to a spike in sales, the Highlander also arrives with a new suite of safety technology which is a key factor for a majority of buyers when they are trying to decide which CUV to put in their driveway. In the case of the Highlander, automatic braking, lane departure warning, Pedestrian Pre Collision, radar powered adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beams all arrive standard as part of Toyota’s Safety Sense package. Highlander Platinum models up the safety factor even further and add a 360 degree Birds Eye View Camera to help with parking in tight spaces especially when parallel parking the vehicle.
After it makes its debut in New York, Look for the 2017 Toyota Highlander to make its way to dealer showrooms sometime in late April.