2018 Toyota highlander reviews and rating motortrend

The 2018 Toyota Highlander is a three-row midsize crossover with seating for up to eight passengers. The crossover slotts above the compact RAV4 and below the full-size Sequoia. Front-wheel drive comes standard and all-wheel drive is optional. A hybrid variant is available and it comes with all-wheel drive standard. Another affordable Toyota-branded three-row vehicle is the Sienna minivan, which is also available with all-wheel drive.

The 2018 Toyota Highlander offers three engine choices including a 2.7-liter I-4 185 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, a 3.5-liter V-6 with 295 hp and 263 lb-ft, and a hybrid powertrain that combines the 3.5-liter V-6 with three electric motors, a CVT and a nickel metal hydride battery for a total output of 306 hp.

A six-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the base four-cylinder engine and the V-6 comes exclusively with an eight-speed automatic.

EPA fuel economy ratings are 20/24 mpg city/highway for the front-drive four-cylinder model and 20/27 mpg for V-6 models with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive models are rated at 20/27 mpg for the LE Plus, 19/26 mpg for the LE, and 20/26 mpg in the XLE, SE, Limited, and Limited Platinum trims. The most efficient Highlander is the Highlander Hybrid at 30/28 mpg for the LE Plus trim and 29/27 mpg for the XLE, Limited and Limited Platinum trims.

Cargo space is 13.8 cubic feet behind the third row, 42.3 cubic feet behind the second row and up to 83.7 cubic feet behind the front seats on the LE and LE Plus models. The XLE, SE and Limited trims have slightly less maximum cargo space at 83.2 cubic feet and adding the panoramic sunroof drops capacity even more to 82.6 cubic feet. When properly equipped, the four-cylinder Highlander can tow up to 1,500 pounds while the V-6-powered ones can tow 5,000 pounds. The Highlander Hybrid can only tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.

Standard features on the base Highlander LE trim includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a 4.2-inch multi-information display, cloth upholstery, 50/40 split-folding second- and third-row seats, keyless entry, five USB ports, Toyota’s Entune infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity and a rearview camera. The Highlander LE Plus grade adds a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, tri-zone climate control, power adjustable front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Jump up to the Highlander XLE trim and you get navigation, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a sunroof and keyless start. The Highlander SE trim features similar equipment as the XLE but adds sporty design cues like black leather upholstery with contrast stitching, a unique suspension tune and 19-inch alloy wheels finished in black.

Move up to Highlander Limited trim and it adds perforated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, second-row captain’s chairs, a JBL premium audio system, 19-inch chrome-look alloy wheels, and LED accent strips on the headlights. The range-topping Highlander Limited Platinum gets a panoramic sunroof, dark chrome look 19-inch alloy wheels, a 360-degree view camera system, a heated steering wheel, and heated second-row seats. Second-row captain’s chairs are also available on the XLE trim while the rear-seat entertainment system is available on all but the LE and LE Plus models.

The 2018 Highlander received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). The IIHS hasn’t tested the 2018 Highlander but the 2017 model received a Good score on all crashworthiness tests and Acceptable on the headlights test (Good is the highest possible score). In the front crash prevention test, the Highlander received a Superior rating after it avoided a 12-mph collision and reduced the impact of a 25-mph impact by 24 mph (Superior is the highest possible rating on the front crash prevention test). As a result, the Toyota Highlander received the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ rating.

Standard on all 2018 Highlanders is Toyota Safety Sense-P, which bundles together forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert is available only on the XLE, SE, Limited and Limited Platinum trims.

In a 2017 First Test, we said that the SE trim’s sportier suspension tuning produces a harsher ride than in other variants with minimal improvements to handling. Throttle response wasn’t as responsive, as the eight-speed automatic always wanted to upshift to the highest gear and had a tendency to shuffle between gears even while cruising. Off pavement, the Highlander performed well and was able to handle dirt without getting bogged down too much.