The 2015 Highlander is a runaway hit

2015 Toyota Highlander.

Sometimes, even Toyota surprises itself when it introduces a new product. When the all-new, third-generation Highlander midsize SUV was introduced in the latter half of last year, even those of us expecting it to do well were shocked with how much demand there was. And so, for a long time, it was difficult to even get a Highlander, with a several-month wait for customers.

Fortunately, we now have Highlanders in stock at Hallmark Toyota. And, seeing and driving one, it’s easy to understand why it’s been such a hit.

Highlander’s all-new exterior design conveys both refinement and strength, and it compliments a new interior that truly raises the bar in the mid-size SUV segment. With three-row seating for up to eight passengers, a long list of standard features, a host of available in-cabin technologies, and increased cargo capacity, the new Highlander offers a great balance of style, comfort and utility. The total package is capped off with three powertrain choices: a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, a powerful V6 with a new six-speed transmission that will produce excellent all-around capability, and a V6-powered Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain for enhanced mileage and fewer emissions.
The new Highlander features a lower roofline for improved aerodynamics. It’s grown in length by approximately three inches while width is increased half an inch, conveying a sleek and strong appearance. A new rear lift-gate has one-touch power open/close and driver selectable memory height settings. Using high-strength steel for the pillars means increased rigidity, but has allowed Toyota to make the pillars narrower to improve visibility.
Inside, more premium materials offer a more upscale experience. Premium fabrics, available smooth and perforated leather-trim seats, and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob add to the premium ambiance. Practicality is enhanced with a new centre console box that can accommodate a large handbag.
The second row offers bench seating for three passengers or two captain’s seats; getting into the third row is made easier with a one-step second-row sliding seat function. An overall interior width increase of 4.3 inches in the third row and a standard recline function creates added comfort; it can also be 40/60 split for added passenger and storage flexibility. Rear cargo space behind the third row has also increased.

A 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine features as the base engine is equipped with a variable intake manifold and dual Variable-Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), It’s teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. A step up is the 3.5-litre V6; acceleration and fuel efficiency are improved thanks to a new six-speed automatic that offers selectable manual sequential shifting. The Highlander Hybrid’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system pairs the 3.5-litre V6 gasoline engine with a high-torque electric drive motor-generator for additional power and fuel efficiency. Highlander’s Dynamic Torque Control AWD system automatically shifts from front-wheel drive to AWD when accelerating or when sensors detect wheel slippage.

All new Highlanders have eight standard airbags, the Star Safety System (with enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, and ABS with smart stop technology). All Highlanders also have a standard backup camera and hill-start assist Control.