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Going into 2017, the Toyota Highlander receives a significant number of changes including a new grille, a direct-injected V6 backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission, and every trim level now comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense bundle of accident-avoidance technologies. These include a forward-collision warning and automatic-braking system that can detect both cars and pedestrians. Other features include lane-departure warning and steering assist, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control. Another key update is the addition of four extra USB ports.
The base model LE trim comes with a 2.7L 4-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower, it can be upgraded to the 6-cylinder engine for added power. In this guise, the Highlander is rated at 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. All the other trims from with a 3.5L V6 with 295 horsepower while the top of the line hybrid uses an electric motor in conjunction with a V6 to make 231 horsepower. The hybrid Highlander returns 30 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, extremely impressive numbers for a vehicle equipped with third-row seating. The Highlander comes standard in front-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive is an option for those who need it.
There are six trim levels offered on the 2017 Toyota Highlander: LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited and Limited Platinum trim levels
LE is the most basic trim, and is the only trim to feature the smaller 4-cylinder engine. However, it still comes loaded with 18-inch wheels, an Entune stereo with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a backup camera, Bluetooth streaming, heated mirrors, 5 USB ports and third-row seating.
Stepping up to LE Plus adds several desirable items. Highlights include a height-adjustable power rear liftgate, a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, satellite HD radio, 3-zone automatic climate control, fog lamps and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The XLE trim includes a smart key and push-button start, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, roof rails to help secure extra luggage, rear window shades, an 8-inch touch screen, HomeLink, a navigation system and a moonroof.
The top-spec Limited trim offers 19-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, various parking aids and a blind-spot monitor, perforated leather seating, heated and cooled front seats, and a powered passenger seat. The Limited Highlanders are also the only trim that can be equipped with the optional hybrid powertrain.
Options include an LE Plus, a Technology package that includes radar-controlled cruise control, a Lane Departure system and automatically dimming high beams; as well as a Limited Platinum package, which includes everything in the technology package along with a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, rain sensing windshield wipers and a panoramic moonroof. A Rear Seat Entertainment system is also optional.
Safety is aided by anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control, as well as optional items like a blind-spot monitor. Of course, should an accident occur, the Highlander is equipped with eight airbags to help minimize any possible damage to its occupants.