in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $29,665 - $44,040
Invoice: $27,084 - $40,209
MPG: 20 City / 25 Hwy
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Toyota Highlander Review

The 2015 Toyota Highlander ranks 2 out of 12 Affordable Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Toyota Highlander, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 Toyota Highlander is ranked:

Auto journalists agree that the 2015 Toyota Highlander's quiet, comfortable ride, spacious seating and abundant cabin storage make it an ideal family vehicle. It's our 2015 Best 3-Row Midsize SUV for Families. 

The Toyota Highlander has a standard four-cylinder engine that auto writers think has sufficient power. Many prefer the available V6, however, which they say delivers strong acceleration and doesn't have much of a fuel economy penalty compared to the four-cylinder model. The base 2015 Highlander gets an EPA fuel economy rating of 20/25 mpg city/highway, and the V6 model has a rating of up to 19/25, both of which are good ratings for the class. The Highlander has a six-speed automatic transmission that reviewers say is responsive and shifts without hesitation. Critics agree that the Highlander rides comfortably over rough roads and has buttoned-down handling, though some caution that it isn't particularly fun to drive.

Though it may not be fun to drive, the Highlander is an excellent family SUV. It has the best combination of interior space, safety and reliability ratings and available family-friendly features in its class, making it our 2015 Best 3-Row Midsize SUV for Families. 

Reviewers praise the 2015 Toyota Highlander for its soft-touch materials and quiet cabin. They write that there is plenty of leg- and headroom in the front and middle rows of seats and that kids should be comfortable riding in the third row. The Highlander has 83.7 cubic feet of overall cargo space, which is less than what a number of rivals offer. However, many are impressed with the abundance of small-item storage areas within the Highlander. Standard features include Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a USB port and Toyota's Entune infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touch screen. Available features include an upgraded Entune system with an 8-inch touch screen, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, adaptive cruise control and Driver Easy Speak, which uses a microphone to project the driver's voice through the stereo speakers to rear passengers. Overall, reviewers say the Entune system works well, and some appreciate that the Driver Easy Speak system makes it easier for the driver to communicate with passengers in the back.

  • "The 2015 Toyota Highlander is the standard bearer for the midsize crossover-SUV market. … It also comes with a cleverly laid-out interior with a pass-through cable organizer for your various devices, and Easy Speak, which amplifies the driver's voice so rear passengers can hear better. With a Top Safety Pick + crash-test rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Toyota Highlander's an obvious choice for families." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2015 Toyota Highlander, now in its third generation, is a top contender in this family-friendly crossover SUV segment. Tossing out minivans and V8-powered toy box-hauling behemoths, the Highlander is likely the sweet spot for most." -- Edmunds
  • "Although the new Highlander looks radically different from its predecessor, it maintains its position as one of the top vehicles in the midsize SUV class. And with its added features and functionalities, the Highlander is an even better choice for families, and one that shouldn't be overlooked." -- Consumer Guide (2014)
  • "All in all, the Highlander's combination of safety, comfort, space, attractive styling and predictable driving dynamics makes it a solid candidate for the family on the go. It's still not a terribly exciting vehicle, and it never will be, but Toyota's strategy of keeping the Highlander close to its roots while making improvements both inside and out means it will continue to play an important role in the lives of men, women and children across the nation." -- Autoblog (2014)

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Other SUVs to Consider

The Buick Enclave has more overall cargo space than most other SUVs in the class, and test drivers say its cabin has a luxurious look and feel. They also report that the Enclave has a spacious third row and a quiet, composed ride.

Test drivers like the Dodge Durango's buttoned-down handling and smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The Durango has one of the only available V8 engines in the class, and its available Uconnect infotainment system earns praise for its straightforward operation.

Compare the Highlander, Enclave and Durango »

Details: 2015 Toyota Highlander

The 2015 Toyota Highlander seats up to eight. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. A 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine is standard and a 3.5-liter V6 is available. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. There are four trims: LE, LE Plus, XLE and Limited. The Toyota Highlander was fully redesigned for the 2014 model year and sees no changes for 2015. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2014 and 2015 model years.

See 2015 Toyota Highlander specs »

Review Last Updated: 3/9/15

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