Toyota Highlander review


What is?

Toyota’s largest SUV (the LandCruiser is a 4×4), with seating for seven and hybrid drive. Highlights include the aforementioned seven seats with a sliding center row (180mm), a long list of specifications from both models available in the UK (Excel and Excel Premium) including 20-inch alloy wheels, a roof panoramic, an 11-speaker JBL audio system and an 8-inch multimedia screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in addition to that hybrid all-wheel drive that manages just under 40 mpg and 160 g/km of CO2.

The Highlander has been happily partying in other markets for some time now, starting, relatively, in 2000, growing smoothly over the years to this current generation based on Toyota’s GA-K platform, yes, same thing. than the current RAV-4. . And that enlarged platform means just under five meters from your best big barge with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine mated to front and rear electric motors to provide four-wheel drive, 62 mph in 8.3 and up to a maximum 111 mph, if you’re in possession of a really long stretch of tarmac and have nothing better to do.

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It looks pretty good, though it can look a bit bland next to some of its contemporaries, and most of its impression seems to come from its size, rather than any particular design feature, but it’s not actively ugly and there’s a lot like a slightly more conservative design. Somehow it slips out of consciousness, mind you, and that’s not always a good thing.

The interesting thing is below; the Highlander uses Toyota’s fourth-generation hybrid system, which combines that wonderfully efficient 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder with front and rear electric motors (providing all-wheel drive) and a small nickel-metal hydride battery, located under the hood. of the second row of seats

It can get to 78 mph on electric alone, but not for long, and there’s a smaller, lighter transaxle than before. A transaxle is simply a one-stop shop to house the transmission, axle, and differential, something typically used on cars with the engine at the same end of the car as the drive wheels. It’s a pretty neat system, and it works in EV mode for a surprising amount of time, which could alleviate some of that big SUV guilt, if nothing else.

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What’s the verdict?

The Highlander mainly suffers from an excess of mid-range. It’s good. But hey it’s not enough

The problem for the Highlander is that there are a lot of competitors in this sector, and no matter how hard Toyota tries to define the Highlander’s opposition, it’s bitten from above and below. It’s also not immune to the odd out-of-area cross-buy, because let’s face it, £50,000+ is a good amount of money. Then check out the aforementioned Kia Sorento, the full Land Rover Discovery and Sport offerings, maybe even the Defender, from VW, Audi, Volvo…

The Highlander primarily suffers from excessive mid-drive; there’s no real USP to grab and say “that’s why I bought this car”. The hybrid system is interesting and efficient, but it does not change the situation. Space is good but not exceptional, driving is just as practical and yet uninteresting. It’s good. But good is not enough.

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