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Expert's Rating

3.4Good | Details

MPG

20 City / 26 Highway
Contributing Editor -

The 2018 Toyota Highlander, with three rows and room for as many as eight, operates in the crowded mid-size crossover SUV segment. Although it offers a four-cylinder engine, we recommend the V6 that delivers more power and better fuel economy.

What's New for 2018

The 2018 Highlander carries forward with no changes from 2017.

Toyota Highlander

Choosing Your Toyota Highlander

Toyota offers the 2018 Highlander in LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited, and Limited Platinum trims. All have standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. Toyota markets a Highlander Hybrid model separately.

Seating is for seven or eight. Choose the latter only if you need the extra seat placement, otherwise, the seven-passenger Highlander offers the best combination of comfort and space.

Like nearly every competing model, standard cargo space for the Highlander is small, measuring 13.8 cubic feet behind the third-row seat. Fold down the third row and storage space increases to 42.3 cubic feet, topping out at 83.7 cubic feet behind the first-row seat.

Two engine choices are available. The base 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine generates 185 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and has a 1,500-pound towing capacity. Toyota pairs this engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. This front-wheel drive only model makes an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon city and 24 mpg highway.

Most customers will opt for the 3.5-liter V6 engine and for good reason: it generates 295 hp and 263 lb.-ft. of torque and comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The V6 has a 5,000-pound tow rating, and the EPA rates this model at 20/26 mpg city/highway.

All models come with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), offering a suite of safety features, including a forward collision warning system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control with full stop.

LE

Priced from $32,025 (prices include the $995 destination fee), the Highlander LE comes with halogen headlamps, daytime running lights, LED taillights, power side mirrors with turn signal indicators, full power accessories, a tilt and telescopic steering column, cruise control, cloth seats, five USB ports, reading lights, and cargo tie-down hooks. The LE’s audio features include: a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, six speakers, a CD player, an auxiliary input jack, Bluetooth wireless technology, Siri Eyes Free, and a rearview camera. Shoppers may upgrade to the V6 engine, adding $2,050 to their cost. All-wheel drive, only available with the V6, adds another $1,460.

LE Plus

Toyota prices the LE Plus from $36,455, and it comes standard with the V6. This trim adds integrated fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, three-zone automatic climate control, upgraded fabric seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, navigation, an eight-inch color display, satellite radio, a power liftgate, and flip-up rear hatch.

XLE

Starting at $39,915, the XLE adds heated side mirrors, a power tilt and slide moonroof with a sunshade, and roof rails with a chrome-like finish. The XLE also brings in a multi-information digital display cluster, leather-trimmed first- and second-row seats, heated front seats, power front seats, and second-row captain’s chairs with a side table. You’ll also find push button start, a power liftgate, a 120-volt outlet, and second-row retractable window sunshades. Buyers can choose to have a second-row bench seat for no cost, while a rear-seat Blu-ray entertainment package costs $1,810.

SE

With a starting price of $41,085, the SE adds several sporting embellishments, including 19-inch alloy wheels with a black finish and a sport-tuned suspension. This model also brings LED daytime running lights, black leather-trimmed front- and second-row seats, and blue LED lighting. There are no packages available on the Highlander SE.

Limited

Pricing for the Highlander Limited begins at $43,075. The Limited model has special garnishing, including 19-inch chrome-like wheels. Other features include an integrated backup camera with dynamic gridlines, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, perforated leather seats, and a rear cargo tonneau cover. The Blu-ray entertainment package returns for an extra $1,810.

Limited Platinum

Costing $47,655, the all-wheel drive only Limited Platinum caps the Highlander line. The Limited Platinum adds a panoramic moonroof with a power sunshade, a heated steering wheel, heated second-row captain's chairs, and a surround view camera system offering a 360-degree view.

CarsDirect Tip

The Highlander XLE is the most popular model for shoppers. It offers all the amenities you want and costs about $40,000, an ideal price point for a well-equipped three-row SUV.

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