By Edward R. Noble/Wheels Vehicle Test Ranch
If I could only have one vehicle, it would be a big SUV. They do about everything a busy person needs whether its runs to the hardware or taking the dogs to the beach. Families will always find a SUV with the third row seat on some of the full size SUV’s a deal maker. Toyota’s Highlander is one of the best selling big SUV’s with the third row seat as standard issue. Offering excellent reliability and priced rightly, the highlander offers a lot of reasons to consider it over its sizable competition.
There are three model options starting with the base front-wheel drive and four-cylinder 187 horsepower engine linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. You may not think a four-cylinder engine would be enough to pull a big 4,000 pound SUV and loaded with family and vacation stuff along. But, it is well able to manage if you are not into power take-offs. The EPA is not that impressive at about 20/25 mpg with the base four-cylinder.
In the middle of the Highlander mix is the more likable 3.5 V-6 with 270 horsepower and a five speed automatic transmission gives a EPA of 17/19. . The V-6 with the optional "Hybrid Synergy" electric help will provide a notable increase in power with even better mileage 28/28 MPG.