2017 Toyota Highlander

2017 Toyota Highlander

Episode 3711 , Episode 3728
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Few brands have the SUV landscape covered as totally as Toyota. Even when it comes to large family duty, they have a trio to choose from. But it’s the Highlander crossover that picks up the bulk of that business, and its been updated for 2017 to give those families more of what they really want. 

Now midway through its 3rd generation, the Toyota Highlander adds a multitude of updates for 2017. But don’t think they’re the hastily assembled kind of revisions in response to some sales slump, rather just the normal progression of keeping current with the segment. As despite a rash of recently re-engineered competition, the Highlander remains a top seller in the family 3-row utility world. 

You don’t have to like the big mouth look, in fact most of our staff don’t; but you certainly won’t be able to ignore it, as it seems to be swallowing up as much road as possible while heading in your direction. 

The big news for ’17 is new SE trim. It tames that front end somewhat with dark pieces replacing the usual chrome. 19-inch wheels are added as well, to support a sportier image.

Fortunately, it doesn’t stop with looks. SEs also get a retuned suspension for a little more agility. Still, this is perhaps where Highlander shows its age the most, having a heavier feel compared to much of the competition who have moved on to lighter weight materials. But that also gives it a totally solid, safe, and secure feeling compared to many rivals.   

From the high seating position, drivers will be enjoying that enhanced nimbleness from new black leather seats with silver stitching. Of course its accompanied by dark dash and door trim.

Controls and layout are all very familiar, with no major changes here; including the very helpful storage in the dash. Good news for those with electronics to keep charged, all Highlanders now come with 5 USB ports!

Both 7 and 8-passenger versions are available, with the 2nd row seats remaining very comfortable and spacious. And while many competitors have stepped their game up in the 3rd row department, access here is still very good, though very low seat bottoms make for an awkward seating position.

Cargo space continues to be good here; 13.8 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 42.3 behind the 2nd, and a max of 83.7 cubic-ft. Boosting practicality further, the Highlander is one of the few SUVs that still has a flip up glass for the rear hatch; though only in upper trim levels. 

Even better news, is the arrival of a higher power. An enhanced version of the 3.5-liter V6 that gets a 25-horsepower boost to 295. Torque rises 15 lb-ft. to 263.

All this while actually improving fuel economy, thanks to a new 8-speed automatic transmission.

Government Ratings are now 20-City, 26-Highway, and 22-Combined with all-wheel-drive. Our average was 21.0 miles-per-gallon of Regular. 

At the track, thanks to the upgraded V6, Highlander certainly feels less sluggish off the line. There’s a strong low end pull to get you going, while it eagerly delivers power on the high end as well. We hit 60 in 7.7-seconds; with a ¼-mile time of 16.0-seconds flat at 92 miles-per-hour.

Base LE trim still comes with a 185-horsepower 2.7-liter I4, though in front wheel-drive only; and of course the Highlander Hybrid remains available as well. 

As for how the upgraded SE suspension handled our cones; well, there is still some mild understeer as you might expect, but the tauter suspension is very noticeable. 

In fact, after a few runs, we were really hauling the goods, shaving ever closer to the cones and keeping speeds higher than we would have expected going in. Even body roll is well subdued; it was tire sidewall flexing that seemed to hold us back the most. 

Of course it’s all about family safety these days; and for 2017, all Highlanders get Toyota Safety Sense P with automatic emergency braking as standard equipment.

Highlander pricing starts at just $31,625. New SE trim goes for $40,685, with all-wheel-drive adding another $1,460. 

Even with the rapid pace of change these days, the Toyota Highlander has had no problem staying near the top the sales charts in the highly competitive 3-row crossover utility segment. Toyota fans will find more of what they love here in this upgraded 2017 version. And that should ensure current Highlander sales remain high, until an all-new one hits the streets. 


  • Engine: 3.5 liter
  • Horsepower: 295
  • Torque: 263 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.7 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 16.0 seconds @ 92 mph
  • EPA: 20 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
2024 PHEV Roundup 1

2024 PHEV Roundup

You Don’t Have To Go Full EV To Live The EV Lifestyle

Episode 4338
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You’ve heard us say many times that PHEVs– plug-in hybrid electrics– rather than BEVs– pure battery electrics– are a sound choice for many folks thinking about owning an electric vehicle. Well, buyers do seem to have gotten the message, as while recent sales of all-electric BEVs are down, PHEVs are suddenly skyrocketing. So, we thought we’d give you a close look at the range of PHEVs that are available today.

An EV when you want it, a fuel-efficient hybrid when you don’t; that’s the reason that PHEVs are so appealing, and why we feel they’re the perfect starter vehicle for this time of transition from internal combustion to all-electric. So, buckle up for an alphabetical rundown of all the mainstream PHEVs that are currently available.

BMW has many plug-in options, starting around $46,000 with the 2.0-liter I4-based 330e sedan and its 22 miles of EV range. There’s also a 750e sedan with more than 30 miles of EV range, and an xDrive50e X5 utility with closer to 40 miles of EV range, plus a high-performance XM with 738 horsepower. For partner Mini, a small 1.5-liter I4-based setup is available in the Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 utility with 18 miles of EV range, going for around $42,000.

Ford has been in the plug-in game for some time, and currently gets a great 37 miles of EV range out of their 2.5-liter I4-based setup which is available in both the Escape for about $36,000, and in its upscale Lincoln Corsair counterpart which goes for around $55,000.

Hyundai offers a pair of plug-in SUVs, the Santa Fe priced at around $43,000 and the Tucson which goes for about $40,000; both use a 1.6-liter I4 turbo engine. It shares with their corporate cousins over at Kia. The Sorento, which starts around $51,000, and the Sportage, beginning at $40,000, along with Kia’s Niro at $35,000. All get more than 30 miles of EV Range.

For the high-rollers, Land Rover has a six-cylinder P550e plug-in option for both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with 51 miles of range, starting around $119,000.

Mazda is very new to the plug-in game, with their inline-six based setup just recently becoming available in the new CX-70 and CX-90 SUVs, both with 26 miles of electric-only range, starting at $41,000.

Mercedes-Benz has offered quite a few PHEVs over the years, though currently their lineup only consists of the $70,000 GLE450e SUV with a 2.0-liter I4 and 48 miles of EV range; and a $128,000 3.0-liter I6 S580e sedan with 46 miles of range. Though a high-performance 671 horsepower AMG C 63 S E Performance will be blasting onto the scene soon.

We’re very familiar with this second-gen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, having had both generations as part of our long-term fleet. The current Outlander PHEV goes for $41,000 and gets 38 miles of EV range from its 2.4-liter I4-based setup.

Stellantis has a wide array of PHEVs available across their many brands, starting with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar-packing Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. It arrived way back in 2017 and currently delivers 32 miles of EV range for $40,000.

More recently, they’ve added the technology to the Jeep brand with 4Xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler for $52,000 and the Grand Cherokee at $61,000. And their most recent setup has just arrived in the compact crossover segment with 33 miles of battery in both the $45,000 Alfa Romeo Tonale and the $42,000 Dodge Hornet R/T.

All of this started with the Toyota Prius of course, which you can now get a Prime version of for $34,000 with a 2.0-liter I4 and 40 miles of range. The RAV4 Prime goes for $45,000 getting 42 miles. Plus, there’s a trio of Lexus PHEV’s rolling with bigger batteries on board, the NX450h+, the RX450h+, and the TX550h+, starting around $58,000.

Volkswagen PHEVs stick to their premium brands, starting with the $58,000 2.0-liter I4-based Audi Q5 55TFSI e quattro SUV with 22 miles of battery range.

Bentley adds electric-motor assistance to a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 for both the $206,000 Bentayga SUV, which gets 18 miles of EV range, and the $217,000 Flying Spur sedan, which stretches it to 21 miles. That same setup is available at Porsche in E-hybrid versions of both the $93,000 Cayenne SUV and $110,000 Panamera sedan, getting up to 19 miles on battery power.

Finally, Volvo has had a plug-in version of their turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 since the T8 arrived with the XC90 back in 2016. Now with a Recharge label, an updated version is available in just about every vehicle in their lineup; the S60 and S90 sedans, XC60 and XC90 SUVS, and yes even in the V60 wagon, starting around $53,000 with up to 40 EV miles.

So, there you have it, the Bs-to-Vs of PHEVs. They really are an easy way to live the EV lifestyle today, without going all the way.