Tremendous comfort, performance, style, technology and safety for your crew of eight.                       

By Garth W. Cane

My drive this past week has been a 2019 Toyota Highlander XLE with black leather interior. It has a refined exterior, featuring elegant front and rear fascia designs, LED tail lamps, a rear spoiler, and alloy wheels. XLE and Limited models include a remote operated power rear door with jam protection, plus flip up rear door glass and a sunshade.    

POWER OPTIONS

The aerodynamic flowing lines of the Highlander are integrated into every detail.

The 2019 Highlander is offered with three different powertrains: conventional front wheel drive, conventional all-wheel drive, and Hybrid. The conventionally powered Highlander is offered in two choices – front wheel drive and all-wheel drive with an active torque control system and downhill assist control. These Highlander models feature a 3.5 L V6 engine that delivers 295 peak horsepower. The XLE and Limited trim levels include an engine stop and start system to further enhance fuel efficiency. This engine is matched with an eight-speed direct shift automatic transmission, while the powertrain features hill start assist control. Electric power rack and pinion steering, with tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a front suspension featuring MacPherson struts, and a double wishbone rear suspension with trailing arms enhance responsiveness, control and ride comfort. The Highlander rides on 245/60R19 tires with black alloy wheels, front ventilated disc and solid rear disc brakes.

Drivers may also choose the Highlander Hybrid, built around the most popular and proven self-charging gasoline-electric powertrain on the planet. This 306 net horsepower Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive is specifically tailored to the Highlander Hybrid, featuring a 3.5 L V6 and high-torque electric motor/generator. Power is applied to the four wheels through an electronically-controlled continuously-variable transmission for confident acceleration and remarkable fuel efficiency – at just 8.3 L / 100 KM (city/highway combined).

Both the front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models can tow a 5,000 pound trailer with brakes when equipped with the factory installed trailer towing package.

“Canadians know the Toyota Highlander is the perfect choice to create family adventures and memories to last a lifetime,” said Cyril Dimitris, Vice President, Toyota Canada Inc. “Ready for weekend getaways, and comfortable enough for daily driving, the Toyota Highlander has the safety, driving fun and features that let Canadians focus on the journey – wherever life takes them.”

INTERIOR

Our test vehicle featured the luxurious black leather interior.

Inside, the Highlander offers seating for seven or eight adults in a cabin that’s spacious and modern. All models are well-equipped with many standard features that enhance comfort and convenience. It has a cabin air filter and a 3-zone independent automatic climate control for heating and air conditioning, a heated steering wheel, seat heaters, and seat ventilators.

Toyota is committed to offering Canadians the most advanced bundle of in-vehicle technology and connectivity services. The entertainment system is equipped to receive AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA, SiriusXM and has six speakers, USB audio input, Bluetooth® connectivity, SIRI Eyes-Free, steering wheel-mounted controls, four USB charging ports. The system has AVN premium navigation, SMS-to-speech and Email-to-speech, advanced voice recognition, display of artist, song and album art for connected iPod.

The 2019 Toyota Highlander XLE AWD features room for eight adults, with a 60/40 split folding second row seat. Other features on this model include a six-speaker 8” Display Audio system with the Driver EasySpeak system, AVN Premium Navigation, three-zone independent automatic climate control, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat and four-way power-adjustable front passenger’s seat, a 4.2” multi information display, electro-chromatic rear view mirror, leather seating, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, the Toyota Smart Key System with Push Button Start, keyless entry with hatch release, a power rear door with jam protection, flip-up hatch glass and rear door sunshade, an anti-theft system, chrome accents on the rear bumper, silver painted roof rails, a power moon roof, 18” alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, fog lamps, and more.

SAFETY

The LED running lights highlight the elegant front facia design.

Of course, the Highlander wouldn’t be a Toyota without delivering impressive safety performance: Toyota is committed to making the road safer for all users and to leading the industry with innovative safety technology that’s available to all. Highlander’s extensive list of safety technologies is headlined by Toyota Safety Sense P. This bundle of advanced systems includes the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection function, featuring forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist function, Automatic High Beams and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Other standard safety features include the six active technologies of the Toyota Star Safety System, eight airbags, a backup camera, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Highlander Hybrid models, which may run almost silently in electric vehicle mode, also feature a vehicle proximity notification system to alert other users of the road to their presence.

Warranty coverage as follows: basic- 3 years or 60,000 km, power train- 5 years or 100,000 km, corrosion perforation- 8 years or 130,000 km, hybrid unique components- 8 years or 160,000 km.

SUMMARY

My test unit also had the optional SE Package including 245/55R19 tires and black alloy wheels, captain’s seats, black SE badging, sport grill, black painted roof rails, black front grill, sport interior trim, black headlight surround, LED fog lights, ambient lighting, and Toyota Roadside assistance. We would have appreciated the optional side step bars and a grab bar on the dash to enable short passengers to climb in to the seats. The price as tested was $49,351 including environmental fees and options.

The Highlander is available in conventional and self-charging hybrid powertrains, with room for seven or eight adults, and features a range of models and grades that let you pick the vehicle that suits your style. After a week of behind the wheel diving experience, the new Highlander delivers tremendous comfort, performance, style, technology and safety.