2017 Toyota Highlander: What's Changed

img1642333927 1475513454114 jpg 2017 Toyota Highlander | Cars.com photo by Brian Wong


  • Most significant changes: New 3.5-liter V-6, eight-speed automatic transmission, SE trim level, front and rear styling updates, and more standard safety features. Hybrid models add LE and XLE trim levels.
  • Price change: Ranges from $140 higher on two-wheel-drive Highlander LE models to $1,270 on Limited Platinum models. On hybrids, prices are $3,110 lower on all-wheel-drive Limiteds and $2,605 lower on Limited Platinums.
  • On sale: Mid-November
  • Which should you buy, 2016 or 2017? 2017’s updates look promising.

Toyota is doing a lot more to the 2017 Highlander SUV than just tweaking the front and rear styling for a midlife update. All models have more standard safety features, and the available 3.5-liter V-6 is a new engine with direct injection, 295 horsepower and 263 pounds-feet of torque. Horsepower is up by 25 and torque by 15 pounds-feet. The V-6 teams with a new eight-speed automatic transmission (replacing a six-speed) and is standard on all models except the base, front-drive LE.

Related: 2017 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid Review: First Drive

Fuel economy estimates with the new V-6/eight-speed combination with AWD improve to 20/27 mpg city/highway, according to Toyota, from 18/24 for the 2016 model. Toyota did not provide estimates for front-drive, four-cylinder or hybrid models, and official EPA numbers weren’t available.

All models add as standard Toyota Safety Sense P, which includes front radar and a camera to detect vehicles and pedestrians, collision avoidance with automatic braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. All models except the LE and LE Plus also get a standard blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and Limited Platinum models add a bird’s-eye-view camera.

The Highlander Hybrid lineup expands with the addition of lower-priced LE and XLE trim levels, both with standard AWD. Base price on the Hybrid LE is $37,210 and on the XLE it is $42,270. The Hybrid Limited is $3,110 cheaper for 2017 at $45,700 and the Limited Platinum is $2,605 cheaper at $48,820. (All prices include an unchanged $940 destination charge).

The Highlander SUV is available with seats for seven or eight, a choice of two engines, front- or AWD and gas-only or hybrid powertrains, so there is much to choose from. Even with higher prices on all except the hybrid models, the additional standard safety features and other changes make the 2017 model a better value proposition.

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