[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he 2017 Highlander has more power and fuel economy on account of its new 3.5-liter V6 D-4S Injection engine and Direct Shift – 8AT 8-speed automatic transmission.
Taking full advantage of this revised powertrain is a new-for-2017 SE grade that brings a premium, sporty personality to the lineup. Not to be out shined by its gas-sipping siblings, the Highlander Hybrid adds two additional entry-level grades – LE and XLE – to its popular range. All Highlander models receive revised front and rear styling and enhanced interior convenience and comfort. Long story short, it’s great to be a Highlander buyer for 2017.
The Highlander is among numerous Toyota’s having the innovative and highly advanced Toyota Safety Sense™ P driver-assist technology as standard. Using millimeter-wave radar and a monocular camera sensor to detect a preceding pedestrian, a preceding vehicle, and visible lane markers in the surrounding area, TSS-P can help the driver identify obstacles and automatically apply braking if necessary to help mitigate or avoid collisions in certain conditions.
TSS-P includes the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection function; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist function; Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Automatic High Beams.
Earlier this year, Toyota committed to making automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all models by the end of 2017 (2018 Model Year). This decision will place Toyota four years ahead of the model-year 2022 industry target announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) – before any other full-line automaker.
The Highlander V6 has steadily made strides in performance over its lifespan, but for 2017, the powertrain upgrade is perhaps the most dramatic. The new 3.5-liter D-4S Injection V6 pushes output to 295 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. of torque, which represent increases of 25 hp and 15 lb.-ft., respectively, over the 2016 Highlander V6. The new V6 also becomes the base engine for the Highlander Hybrid and features Dual VVT-i.
Making best use of the engine’s upgraded performance and efficiency, the V6 Highlander now employs a new Direct Shift – 8AT 8-speed automatic transmission. The eight ratios, compared to six in the 2016 V6 model, benefit the Highlander’s acceleration and passing abilities. Both the engine and transmission incorporate new advances in friction reduction, while the transmission delivers a more direct driving feel and higher level of efficiency by expanding the torque converter lock-up range.
Fuel economy for all-wheel drive models improves to an EPA-estimated 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway, versus 18/24 for the 2016 model.
Highlander V6 models (excluding LE) get another new feature: Stop and Start Engine System (S&S). This new system allows the engine to shut off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop, and then restarts when the driver’s foot lifts from the brake pedal. S&S is designed to reduce emissions, help reduce fuel consumption, and provide a quieter in-cabin experience for passengers when the vehicle is at a complete stop.
The LE front-wheel drive model’s standard 185-horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine uses Variable-Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) to produce a thick torque curve. It’s teamed with a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The combination yields an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 20 mpg city/24 mpg highway.
All Highlander V6 models come standard with a towing package that allows for a maximum towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds. The package includes a heavy-duty radiator with engine oil cooler, 200-watt fan coupling, supplemental transmission oil cooler and 150-amp alternator.