Words: Evan ‘Evo’ Yates
Exterior: The newest Highlander has LEXUS written all over it as virtually every angle is attractive and has just the right amount of chrome and panache to make it classy. Gone are the days of the bland bread box meandering down the road as the newest Highlander commands attention and all of its curves are sleek and sexy. The Ooh La La Rouge Mica exterior (yep, that’s the actual paint color) is certainly icing on the cake.
Interior: THE SHELF! As I said in my review of the 2014 Highlander, “The storage shelf nestled under the radio is pure genius and I’m curious as to why more vehicles don’t have something similar to this. The shelf is perfect for the vehicle’s keys, your cell phone and just about anything you can cram in there. This feature alone puts most vehicles on the road to shame in terms of convenience.” I can’t say this enough; having a place to put your cell phone, keys and whatever else you can fit in there is just so damn cool that not only was I thankful for it each and every day, my passengers were too. In addition to the shelf, the center console is so deep as you can fit bags of take out food, a football and a hat all at the same time – I tried it. The rest of the interior is gorgeous with its perforated leather seating, panoramic roof and plush appointments.
A/V: The audio system was stellar as all the tunes were produced masterfully and the iPhone integration was as seamless as it could be. The satellite radio never skipped a beat and the touchscreen operation was flawless. No hiccups whatsoever. Needless to say, Toyota seems to have this figured out.
Performance: The 3.5L DOHC V6 won’t win you any street races but still does its job. It accelerates effortlessly when you need to get somewhere in a hurry and the ride on the highway is simply marvelous. The front independent suspension with McPherson struts and rear double wishbone suspension takes massive pot holes on as if they were pebbles on the road and at no point does the Highlander feel heavy when cornering or braking.
Floss Factor: At this point in the Highlander’s evolution, you could almost re-badge it as a Lexus and get about 20k more but I’m glad this type of vehicle is available for the money. The Limited trim package along with the 19-inch wheels, smoked-chrome headlamps and chrome accents make the Highlander garner more than a few nods while in the carpool lane.
Power: 270 hp, 248 lb-ft
0-60: 7.1 sec
Gas Cash: 20 MPG (combined)