2019 Toyota Highlander


The 2019 Toyota Highlander is a spacious mid-sized SUV that’s very popular with families and others who need a lot of space in their vehicle. It seats up to eight and comes in five trim levels: the LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, and Limited, which can be differentiated by their grille designs. There’s also a hybrid variant, but we’ll just discuss the conventional gasoline burner here.

The lower trims are equipped with the base engine, a 2.7-liter four-cylinder, which is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission; that combination is EPA rated for 20 mpg around town and 24 mpg on the highway. The higher trims’ V6 is rated even higher, at 21 city/27 highway in the FWD version, thanks to its efficient eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. All ’19 Highlander trims get a tire pressure monitoring system, LED tail lights, and the Toyota Safety Sense package of active safety features.


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Comfort and Utility

The Highlander is foremost a people mover, and Toyota has equipped it to keep its occupants comfortable and connected, with ample room for everything they need to take with them. The vehicle has been designed so that the placement of its suspension is not entirely under the cargo area, leaving more space to devote to cargo. The third row reclines for comfort and splits and folds for versatility. The cabin is quiet, with noise-reduction insulation throughout. And with tri-zone automatic climate control, everyone can be comfortable on their own terms.

Safety and Technology

As mentioned, the excellent Toyota Safety Sense suite of active safety technologies is a bundle of state-of-the-art crash-mitigating features that keep the Highlander’s passengers safer than ever before. Its highlights are pre-collision alert with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert (with steering assist), and auto high beams. Upgrades that are available include a blind-spot monitor, rear parking assist sonar, and a bird’s-eye view camera featuring perimeter scan. The passive safety features consist of front and rear crumple zones, side impact beams, airbags, and active headrests.

The Entune system is the information and entertainment nerve center of the 2019 Highlander, with everything from music to apps controlled through it. And in a vehicle of this capacity, there will always be somebody who needs to charge their device, so Toyota has put five USB ports in every Highlander. For sophisticated convenience, Smart Key technology will automatically unlock the doors, including the liftgate, and turn on the cabin lights as the driver approaches with the key tucked away in pocket or purse. Driver Easy Speak is an option that facilitates communication from the front row to the back rows without raised voices, thanks to a built-in microphone and the Highlander’s speakers.