How the Toyota Highlander Measures Up in 2019

The Toyota Highlander made its name over the years with a solid reputation and storied reliability. And the 2019 Highlander now available, this midsize SUV is adding another quality to the list: family-friendly.

The 2019 Toyota Highlander is a fantastic example of Toyota’s well-known quality. A midsize crossover SUV with a third-row seat, it’s family-friendly and measures up to the competition. Here’s what you’ll find on the newest iteration of the Highlander.

Styling

Toyota gave the Highlander a bit of a refresh a year ago. And like a number of the auto giant’s recent updates across its lineup, this one took a couple of pages from the Lexus playbook.

Thankfully, the Highlander didn’t go full-on Lexus, but it does feature some clean lines and new angles. The 2019 Highlander looks fairly neutral, which will certainly be an asset for drivers who are more interested in reliability and performance than style and flashy design.

Interiors

If sensibility is a key part of the exterior design philosophy, the 2019 Highlander’s interior doubles-down on this theme. The interior is comfortable, practical and spacious for both passengers and cargo. The front seats are very well-bolstered and comfortable with plenty of adjustability, and many models have power adjustable front seats. There’s plenty of legroom in the second row, and the third-row bench can fold away easily when not in use.

There are loads of clever storage spaces to be found throughout the Highlander’s cabin. Even with all the seats in place, there’s 14 cu.-ft. of cargo space behind the third-row. If it’s space you’re looking for, you’ll find plenty in the Highlander.

Safety

Like almost all Toyota models today, the 2019 Highlander comes standard at all levels with adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warnings with full-speed automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, active lane control, and automatic high beam headlights. Some of those features are only available in higher trim levels of some luxury rivals.

Not only does the 2019 Toyota Highlander get a full five-star rating for overall safety from the NHTSA, it also boasts the coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating from independent testers at the IIHS. If you want a three-row midsize crossover SUV that’s going to keep you and your family as safe as is reasonably possible in such a vehicle, it’s hard to look past the Highlander.

Trim Levels

Although the Highlander may not be the most exciting-looking vehicle, it can be specified in ways that make it uniquely individual. There are five different trim levels available, which start with the LE and then go to the LE Plus, XLE, SE and the Limited.

While the base LE can appear fairly anonymous, the XLE looks like a great value model with plenty of class and the SE is a model with a sportier appearance, blacked-out styling, stiffer suspension and a black leather interior. Go all the way to the range-topping Limited trim, and you’re then into a vehicle that does a decent impression of a luxury midsize SUV, but for a lot less money thanks to its Toyota branding.

Performance

The base LE Highlander model comes standard with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder,. Every other Highlander comes standard with a much more suitable 3.5-liter V-6, and then the Toyota can boast 295 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. of torque. As the Highlander weighs-in at around the 4,000-pound mark, the V-6 should really be considered essential equipment.

All versions of the 2019 Toyota Highlander are standard front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available with either engine and for all trim levels.

Hybrid Technology

With the Toyota Highlander, hybrids are really just extra models in the range that offers buyers extra choice. The Highlander Hybrids comes in LE, XLE and Limited trims, which mirror the same trims in the non-hybrid part of the range.

Fuel economy is the obvious reason for going hybrid, and the Highlander Hybrid can deliver ratings as good as 30 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined. V-6-equipped models with all-wheel drive are moderate, with ratings as good as 20/26/22 mpg.

The Last Word

If you’re looking for a vehicle that can accomplish it all, the 2019 Toyota Highlander could be the vehicle for you. It’s a capable midsize SUV and an excellent choice for families. So, if you want a great family vehicle that’s much cooler than a minivan, this could be it.

The Highlander is comfortable and well-equipped. It’s also an incredibly safe vehicle, is good on gas, and won’t break the bank. When everything is taken into consideration, it’s actually hard to think of a better family vehicle for the money.

Everyonephoto Studio / Shutterstock

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