CNHI News Service

Features

December 31, 2012

CARS: Highlander makes a 270 horsepower statement

I usually don't pay much attention to the engine in Toyota products.

If I'm driving a sports car, I might get all nerdy about the lightweight construction and drool over the high-tech, electronic variable-vale whatchamacallit. But Toyotas are merely Toyotas — practical, comfortable and reliable.

Weirdly, though, I was smitten by the 3.5-liter V6 engine in Toyota's Highlander crossover I drove this week. It's powerful, producing a muscle-car-like 270 horsepower, and sounds inspiring with a throaty exhaust note.

The V6 is the bigger of two engines Toyota offers in the Highlander — the other being a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 187 horses — but the fuel economy figures make the bigger engine a no-brainer if you can afford it.

It makes 44 percent more power but is rated for just 1 mpg worse on the highway.

According to the EPA's figures for a two-wheel-drive Highlander, you'll get 25 mpg on the highway with four cylinders and 24 mpg if you opt for the V6. That's amazing.

Aside from the surprisingly good V6, the Highlander simply lives up to expectations as a Toyota crossover.

It's quiet, smooth riding and car-like in demeanor, despite having a high ride height and boxy body that make it look like an SUV. It has three rows of seats, although cargo space is pretty limited when you have people sitting in the third row.

Carrying three rows of passengers and their bulky luggage for a road trip would be tough. With the third row folded down, though, it's got plenty of cargo room to offer SUV-like versatility. If you need to haul a big dresser home from the furniture store, you can fold the seats flat and treat the Highlander like a plush moving van.

Toyota has rearranged the Highlander's standard equipment and option packages for 2013. In addition to the base model, it's available in the new Highlander Plus trim that replaces the old Tech Package and adds several popular features, including a back-up camera. It's also available in SE and Limited grades that come standard with the V6 engine.

Text Only
Features
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 25 hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    Yankovic's 14th album was released this week, and it warms my heart containers that he's kept up his geeky brand of humor for so long. While he has written so many incredible songs, none have spoken to my love of proper grammar.
    Until "Word Crimes."

    July 16, 2014

  • ent_taylorswift.jpg There's less good music now — here's why

    Taylor Swift, the seven-time Grammy winner, is known for her articulate lyrics, so there was nothing surprising about her writing a long column for The Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry. Yet there's reason to doubt the optimism of what she had to say.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • wheat1.jpg Backlash has begun against gluten-free dieters

    The swelling ranks of Americans adopting gluten-free diets have given rise to another hot trend: people calling the whole thing a bunch of baloney.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 4.21.43 PM.png A messaging app that doesn't use words at all

    About 10,000 people have signed up for usernames for a chat app that isn't even out yet: Emoj.li. It's an instant messenger app that uses no words at all — not even "Yo" or "Hodor!" Instead, it employs only emoji icons.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • lawgrad.jpg Things looking up for law school grads

    This might sound weird, but here goes: Now might be a pretty good time to think about law school. For the sixth year running, the employment rate fell, as schools produced a record number of graduates for an industry without the room for them. There was, however, a nugget of good news buried in the data.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

News
Sports

Opinion