Danielle Villeneuve

Unsurpassed: 2017 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum

The Toyota Highlander has been out for 17 years. Along the way it has undergone several redesigns. It’s most recent, in 2014, saw it grow in size. For 2017, the Highlander received some modest changes and upgrades. We reviewed this generation Highlander back when it was new in 2014 and found it to be excellent for families, but not the most engaging vehicle to drive. With a planned weekend getaway in mind, we decided to take the 2017 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum.

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2

Toyota was aware that the Highlander was falling short on the luxury scale. This lead to the debut of the Limited Platinum trim. It’s easily recognizable by the chrome finish front grille and rear bumper chrome accents. Across all trim levels, the taillights have been redesigned for a cleaner and updated look. It’s also worth noting that the Highlander has grown again – an additional 1.35 inches. This can be attributed to the refreshed front and rear fascia. The Limited Platinum comes with special 19-inch wheels in a dark chrome finish. Toyota has also taken a page out of the luxury brand’s book by adding light projection puddle lamps.

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4

The interior is where the Highlander really shines. It has a ton of storage areas and the large center console for storing belongings. In the Highlander, everything everything has a place. Toyota has added a host of standard safety tech to every 2017 Highlander. This includes active cruise control, lane keep assist and an automatic braking system with pedestrian detection. In an effort to make the interior of the Limited Platinum special, its brown leather seats use the same material as the Lexus LS. They have a luxury, quality feel that will help keep the Highlander competitive against the Ford Explorer Platinum and GMC Acadia Denali. Keeping the vehicle very family focused, the XLE and higher trim levels come standard with Driver Easy Speak. There’s a microphone conveniently placed in the overhead console that amplifies the driver’s voice and sends it through the audio system to the rear of the vehicle. It’s great for the occasional scolding.

Our Limited Platinum came with the optional Hybrid powertrain. A 3.5-liter V6 engine is paired with a high-torque electric drive motor-generator which is capable of producing 306 total horsepower. Although I’m not a huge fan of CVTs, it works smoothly and delivers plenty of power. Even with all its power, the fuel economy is impressive. During our road trip we managed a comfortable 28 mpg (combined city and highway driving). For those of you interested in the gas only engine alternative, the V6 has been updated and is now paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Highlander’s ride quality is superb. Between the different front and rear suspensions and many sound deadening features, it’s difficult to say if there’s a better riding vehicle in its class currently.

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 5

The last Highlander felt very vanilla. Good, but kind of bland. The Highlander Limited Platinum feels like a whole new animal. Toyota has added features and amenities that give it new life. The updated front and rear fascia along with the LED running lights and taillights make it stand out now. Pair that with an upgraded leather from the Lexus LS and you’ve got a winner. Toyota is keeping it fancy for those who want it but maintaining the same family friendly vibe.

-Danielle Assenheimer

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum
Rear Bumper Protector $139
Paint Protection Film $395
Four Season Floor Mats $374
Destination Charges $960
As Tested MSRP $49,748

Like Butter: 2014 Toyota Highlander

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