Consumer Reports has chosen the 2015 Toyota Highlander as one of its top ten picks. Safety, reliability, and practicality were among the reasons cited for the choice.
When it comes to reliability, Consumer Reports gave the Highlander a five out of five. This is in keeping with news from other review agencies such as JD Power. In its recent Durability Study, J.D. Power ranked Toyota as the highest non-premium brand.
Consumer Reports also praised the Highlander's safety. This has been demonstrated by excellent ratings from both of the nation's safety agencies. The 2015 Toyota Highlander earned Top Safety Pick Plus from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It got five out of five stars from the federal safety testers at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To ensure better stops, the Highlander has special ventilated front brakes and Toyota's Brake Assist electronics. Safety Connect adds emergency roadside assistance.
Consumer Reports calls the Highlander a real swagger wagon for the sensible crowd. The review says the interior is cavernous and smart. When it comes to spaciousness, the Highlander is designed to handle up to eight occupants in its three-row layout. The second row now slides further, allowing better access to the third row. The rear cargo area picked up more space, making it more suitable for busy families. Consumer Reports also approved of the special touches like the berth for a smart phone. This in-dash shelf includes easy access to power outlets. To keep the cabin hushed, Toyota adds acoustic glass and special floor insulation. Consumer Reports called its ride quality steady and absorbent.
Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader also praised the SUV for its dashboard design and materials quality. The Highlander interior has been carefully arranged to take care of modern needs. A roll-top center console provides a safe place for tucking away items. With the option of center captain's chairs, another large console is added to the center row. The flat-folding rear seats add the necessary cargo space you'd expect from a large SUV. The available power liftgate can be height-adjusted for safety. A flip-up window, a feature that many rival models don't have, makes it easier to access the hold without opening the liftgate.
Higher trim levels pile on ways to beat the weather. There's a tri-zone programmable temperature system. Heated and ventilated front seats can take care of Mom and Dad. Second row sunshades and heated second row captain's chairs offer comforts for the kids. A choice between a regular sunroof and a panoramic one offer extra ways to bring in fresh air and sunshine.
Adding to the Highlander's basic pricing value, the base edition of the Highlander is packed with must-have dash tech. This includes a 6.1-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth. Voice control makes it easy to access audio choices. A standard backup camera makes reverse easier by providing helpful on-screen guidelines.
The LE Plus adds an upgraded audio package with satellite and HD radio. The XLE adds an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, and Toyota's Entune apps. For the kids, a rear DVD entertainment center is a favorite option. For the parents, Easy Speak amplifies the driver's voice to communicate better with the rear-seat passengers.
Consumer Reports also praised the SUV for its responsive handling. A new double wishbone rear suspension keeps it solid in corners. For performance, drivers can choose between a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 3.5-liter V6 powertrain. With the combined energy of an electric motor, battery pack and the V6, the hybrid Highlander gets 27 mpg city/28 mpg highway. All-wheel drive is available with the V6 and standard on the hybrid. This unique drivetrain features Dynamic Torque Control. This creates electronically-controlled coordination between the SUV's power steering and the AWD's power distribution to the wheels.
Since drivers obviously prefer to avoid a collision rather than simply survive one, the Highlander offers the latest in crash avoidance systems. A blind spot monitor helps with lane changes. This system includes a cross traffic assist for rear maneuvers. The Highlander offers a collision mitigation system, which is made more meaningful by automatic braking and a lane departure warning. Automatic high beams raise and lower the light in response to traffic.
In addition to its top ranking at Consumer Reports, the Highlander has won accolades from two of the top automotive review sites. Edmunds gave it an A rating and named it a top pick. Kelley Blue Book named the Highlander one of its 2015 Best Buys.
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