While the Highlander might look rugged for a family vehicle, it's a big softie inside with room for up to eight passengers and enough available comforts to pamper all of them. Add to that its pleasant on-road demeanor, and you can see why this midsize crossover has become such a popular alternative to larger minivans and SUVs.
What's New for 2016
A 5,000-pound towing package is now standard on all V6 models.
Choosing Your Toyota Highlander
The Highlander starts out with front-wheel drive and a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine good for 185 horsepower. The available 3.5-liter V6, which powers most models, puts out 270 horsepower and can paired with all-wheel drive. Both engines use a six-speed automatic transmission.
There's a full-width third row, which means you can carry up to eight passengers, or seven with the optional second-row captain's chairs. With both rows folded, you have up to 84 cubic feet of cargo space at your disposal.
As before, the Pathfinder is offered in five trim levels:
The mid-level XLE comes fully equipped for family life and then some. It's the smart choice so long as you can live without the available driver assistance technology. The base LE is perfectly fine if you're on a strict budget, but we would avoid the four-cylinder, which simply doesn't cut it in a vehicle of this size.