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When Kelley Blue Book named the Toyota Highlander the best family car of 2015 North American households on the hunt for a new vehicle took notice. Sure the Highlander has long been renowned for its role in managing the transportation needs of family units since its inception, but to be crowned yet again 15 years later is quite the feat considering the competition entering the market over the last decade. KBB's quote says it all:
"There is no shortage of 3-row crossover SUVs yearning to be the transportation of choice for today's busy families, but the 2015 Toyota Highlander rises above the rest in its segment. In this family hauler, it's the little things that add up to make it a winner." (Kelley Blue Book, 2015)
So, what exactly has made the Toyota Highlander so essential to today's family, be it a tight knit unit or an overflowing Brady Bunch? Read further to find out.
We'd be remiss to start with anything other than safety when discussing the merits of a family vehicle. Your family's safety is our brand's top priority and thus the Toyota Highlander SUV is considered one of the most secure SUVs on the market. The Highlander comes with Toyota's Star Safety SystemT. The system includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST). The standard models also come with front-seat side airbags, a driver-knee airbag, a front passenger seat-cushion airbag, a full-length side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. Need more? The government run National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2015 Toyota Highlander SUV a 5-star safety rating (out of five!) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS) gave the Highlander the top honor as 2015 TopSafety Pick+.
Now that you know your family is completely safe within the Highlander, it's now time to assess how well you can pack the entire mob (and their gear) into the vehicle. The Highlander has a spacious and comfortable cabin with available options including 7 (the Limited AWD) and 8 (all other) passenger SUV models. The second row of the Highlander can either serve as a three-across bench or a double captain's chair that comes with a side table. The vehicle has even carried over one of it's smallest yet most popular features from 2014 - the built in dashboard shelf which is perfect for smartphones, keys, and bags of Oreo-minis. See it to believe it here. Cargo bed length is impressive at 465 mm (18.3 in), cargo bed width even more so at 1,440 mm (56.7 in) so there is room for more than one set of hockey bags. Does your family tip the vertical scales towards basketball player levels? No problem there either, with front (1,033.7 mm or 40.7 in), second (1,013.1 mm or 39.9 in), and third (912.9 mm or 35.9 in) rows allowing significant headroom. Roof-rack options are also available and ready to accept your family's collection of surfboards, skis, and whatever else floats their boats (including kayaks). Looking to load up a trailer for long weekend and vacation excursions? The Toyota Highlander also has an impressive towing capacity of 2,268 kg (or 5,000 lb.).
The only negative to this much space? You'll be called upon to pick-up and drop-off half of the neighborhood kids after weekly soccer practice.
The Highlander standard is 3.5 Litre, 6-Cylinder, DOHC, Variable Valve Timing w/intelligence (VVT-i), Direct Ignition System (DIS), Electronic Throttle Control System with Intelligence (ETCS-i), Tier 2 Bin 5 Emissions Rating, Heavy Duty Battery, Starter, Alternator and Heater, Cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) System. The Highlander has a fuel economy of 19-20 mpg city and 25 highway depending on the model. The horsepower of a Highlander is no slouch, with 270 hp (201 kw) @ 6,200 rpm and the torque too is impressive at 248 lb ft (337 n.m) @ 4,700 rpm. This all equals a fuel-efficient SUV and VERY smooth ride, no matter the roads you traverse.
The base LE Highlander comes with Bluetooth and audio connectivity, a 6.1-inch central touchscreen with a beautiful interface, a six-speaker audio system with voice control, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an additional iPod/USB interface. The LE Plus includes satellite and HD radio. The XLE includes an enhanced 8-inch central touchscreen, a navigation system and smartphone app integration in addition to adding a 110-volt power outlet in the second row for those passengers that want to plug-in and stay powered up with a multitude of mobile devices on long road trips. If audio superiority if is your family's thing, the Limited comes with a custom 12-speaker JBL audio system. There is also an optional rear seat entertainment package available for the XLE and Limited Highlander, which includes a BluRay player with 9-inch display, RCA jacks and wireless headphones. Your family, will be entertained.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to put on a little "show n shine" when pulling up to the lot to pick up the kids from school. The Toyota Highlander SUV helps you as a parent keep your cool intact, no matter how cemented your "soccer mom or dad" status is. With base LE touches such as a rear spoiler and 18-inch alloy wheels the 2015 (and soon to arrive 2016) comes out of the gates sleek, stylish, sporty, and provides for an unmatched palette of color options that include the likes of Blizzard Pearl, Ooh La La Rouge, and Nautical Blue Metallic. The XLE steps aesthetic (w/function) appeal up a notch, adding a sunroof and roof rails in addition to leather upholstery for the first two rows. The Highlander Limited hosts 19-inch wheels and LED running lights which creates an even more impactful visual persona for this family-centric vehicle.
Ready to take a test drive in the 2015 Toyota Highlander? Do you reside within the Greater Vancouver area? Bring your entire family down to our Lower Mainland dealership to see and feel what it's like to cruise in comfort and safety with the entire brood in tow.