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2016 Toyota Highlander Review

Since 2000, the Toyota Highlander has enjoyed a comfortable top spot as a nondescript suburban do-all, adept at hauling families, tackling snow days and offering better road manners than the average SUV thanks to its Camry- based underpinnings. Reliable and useful, but not particularly exciting, was the recipe.

Has that changed, though? The latest Highlander, redesigned in 2013 and tweaked again for 2016, is larger, bolder and more luxurious than its predecessors. The new Highlander has curb presence, and the eye-catching design is just the beginning. The spacious interior would look equally at home in a Lexus product, and Toyota’s added items like an available panoramic glass roof for additional “wow” factor. A longer wheelbase provides additional room for third-row passengers, and the Highlander has grown into a viable minivan alternative.

Though rarely the darlings of enthusiasts, family-sized crossovers like the Highlander are important volume vehicles for manufacturers like Toyota. Not only does the Highlander fill an important midsize niche for the marque, but it also serves as a representative of the brand (and, by extension, Lexus) through which buyers my graduate to other Toyota products in the future. That’s why the Highlander’s upgraded style is significant: it’s not enough to just be a competent vehicle these days. The key to success is to bring ’em back for more.

Feb 22nd, 2016