2018 Toyota Highlander
The 2018 Toyota Highlander remains unchanged from 2017, therefore keeping all the features that make it an increasingly popular choice for larger families, adventurous types and those who regularly transport a lot of gear. While it earns the title of "crossover SUV" due to its in-town maneuverability and smaller size than truck-based SUVs (like its cousin, the Toyota Sequoia), it is still bigger than most standard SUV crossovers and features a third row of seats. Because of this, the 2018 Highlander remains one of the most versatile yet comfortable vehicles that Toyota has to offer consumers. After all, it was chosen as one of Edmunds Best Midsize SUVs of the year for a reason. Well, make that a few reasons. Keep reading to learn more.
The Highlander comes in six different trims: the LE, the LE Plus, the XLE, the SE, the Limited and the Limited Platinum. The LE isn't a total bare-bones base trim, but the kicker is that it comes with only a four-cylinder engine and front wheel drive while the other trims all get a V6 and the option of all-wheel drive. It also doesn't come with the tri-zone climate control and power liftgate that are on the other trims. In addition to having these features, the remaining trim levels each add more luxury and comfort features, with the most obvious being on the Limited Platinum (heated steering wheel anyone?). And starting with the XLE, second-row captains chairs are optional. Of course, these bring down the maximum capacity from eight to seven, although most people will find that only two adults- not three- can fit comfortably in the back row anyway. But hey, the kids will be just fine.
Now as mentioned, all of the trims save for the base get a 3.5 liter V6. This allows for great, versatile handling and contributes to fuel capabilities of between 19 and 29 mpg in the city and between 24 and 27 mpg on the highway. That's not bad at all for an SUV and is comparable to its competitors (like the Honda Pilot). Those who want to save even more on gas though should consider upgrading the engine to the Highlander's gasoline-electric hybrid option, available on all trims except the base. Some drivers who regularly engage in light off-roading or other kinds of more strenuous driving may find that the hybrid doesn't offer as much power as the full gasoline V6, but for most, it should do just fine and save considerable gas money in the process.
As for safety features, the 2018 Toyota Highlander comes fully stocked. It is, after all, a vehicle that's going to be used by a lot of families. All trims come standard with Toyota's Safety Sense and Pre-Collision Systems, which include cool features like lane departure intervention, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency brakes, a rear view camera, and forward collision detection. The higher trim levels (the XLE and up) also come with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert systems for additional safety. The Highlander also comes with specialized whiplash-lessening seats for both the driver and front passenger.
For the average driver, the XLE trim might just be the perfect fit as a combination of great driving and comfort features without getting too gratuitous. Most drivers will also want to strongly consider the all-wheel drive option for better control, especially if they live in areas with changing seasons and weather conditions. But the 2018 Toyota Highlander, in general, is a great choice for those who need to regularly transport family members but still want to maintain options for adventure.