In 2018, the Toyota Highlander went through a significant and much-needed refresh to keep it as modern looking as possible. Sadly, this refresh missed the mark. Beyond its funky looks, is the 2019 Toyota Highlander still a good options for your family? Continue reading to find out.

Best Value

Though there isn’t a bad value throughout the entire 2019 Toyota Highlander range, the LE Plus stands out as the best bang for your buck. It includes valuable features in this class like a 3.5-liter V6 engine, leatherette seating, a power liftgate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, three-zone automatic climate control, Entune Audio Plus, 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, and more.

  • Model: 2019 Toyota Highlander LE Plus
  • Engine: 3.5-liter V6
  • Output: 295 hp / 263 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 21 City / 27 Hwy
  • Options: None
  • Base Price:$37,305 (including the $1,045 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price:$37,305

Performance

Toyota Highlander

The 3.5-liter V6 engine’s 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque is more than enough to get this big crossover motivated. Pair this to the slick eight-speed automatic transmission and toss in its pothole-eating suspension, and you have a smooth, silky ride in all conditions.

While the V6 engine is a lush at the gas station, the hybrid powertrain delivers the 306 hp you need to move this beast while still getting up to 30 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway, and 29 combined, according to the EPA. Those numbers even make some small crossovers envious.

While its V6 powertrains have loads of power, the standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine wheezes out just 185 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. This is far from enough to get the Highlander out of its own way, let alone get it up to highway speeds in time for a sudden merge. Making matters worse, this four-cylinder engine offers no fuel-economy reward as its ratings are lower than the V6 at 20/24/22 mpg (city/highway/combined).

Style

The Toyota Highlander boasts an upscale, logically laid-out cabin filled with plenty of storage cubbies and unique trimming. The front seats add to its premium feel with loads of support and unexpected levels of comfort. The second row is equally comfortable with plenty of leg room and the ability to slide forward and backward. And if you need room to haul cargo, there's up to 42 cubic feet with the third row folded and 83 cubes with both rear rows folded.

While the inside looks great and is very inviting, the exterior is the victim of over-styling. Instead of sticking with the simple theme that made the Highlander so successful, its 2018 refresh included a too-sharp nose that doesn’t fit the rest of the vehicles.

The Best and Worst Things

The 2019 Toyota Highlander’s cabin is roomy, peaceful, and comfortable. This can easily trick you into thinking you’re driving a much pricier vehicle…but that crummy base four-cylinder engine will quickly remind you this is no luxury crossover.

Right For? Wrong For?

Toyota Highlander

The Highlander is a great option for buyers looking for nothing but a comfortable cabin with plenty of room.

Buyers with a large family will find its third row very tight and not built to haul anyone for an extended time.

The Bottom Line

If you can close your eyes while approaching the 2019 Toyota Highlander and only open them once you’re safely in the driver’s seat, you may think you're in a pricier vehicle. This is especially true once you move up the trim levels and pile on premium features. But there are a few must-avoid bits, including its standard engine and staring at its front end for too long.