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2017 Toyota Highlander Review

The 2017 Toyota Highlander has lots of cargo space, an interior filled with high-end materials, and a good number of high-tech standard safety features. It ranks in the top-third of the midsize SUV class. Its underpowered base four-cylinder engine is one reason the Highlander doesn’t rank higher.

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of standard active safety features
  • Above-average fuel economy
  • Comfortable and quiet on the highway
  • Dull performance and handling
  • Cramped third-row seat

New for 2017

  • Midgeneration refresh with styling updates all-around
  • New engine and transmission available
  • Toyota Safety Sense made standard

Rankings & Awards

The 2017 Toyota Highlander's #2 ranking is based on its score within the 2017 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. It was a finalist for our 2017 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money award and a finalist for our 2017 Best 3-Row SUV for Families award. Currently the Toyota Highlander has a score of 8.3 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 38 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.2
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Toyota Highlander Overview

Is the 2017 Toyota Highlander a Good Used SUV?

The 2017 Toyota Highlander is a good midsize SUV. It comes standard with a number of advanced driver assistance features, including forward collision warning and braking, pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control. Most rivals only come standard with a rearview camera. The Highlander also has a comfortable, quiet ride.

Not all is good, though. The Highlander’s base four-cylinder engine delivers above-average fuel economy for the sector, but it doesn’t have enough juice to shuttle this Toyota up to speed swiftly. The available V6 does a much better job. Also, third-row passenger space is limited.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our used car rankings and reviews are based on our analysis of professional automotive reviews, as well as data like crash test scores, reliability ratings, and ownership expenses. We researched 38 Toyota Highlander reviews to help you decide if it’s the right used car for you.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, our staff never takes expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2017 Toyota Highlander?

There are more than 700 Highlanders listed for sale on our site, with prices ranging from $27,700 to $42,000. The average list price is $35,200. The price for the vehicle you choose depends on the trim, condition, mileage, location, and features.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Toyota Highlander Cost to Own?

The 2017 Toyota Highlander’s estimated costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs over a five-year period come out to just over $25,300. That amount is average for the class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Toyota Highlander?

The new 2018 Toyota Highlander isn’t notably different than the 2017 model, so buying a used 2017 Highlander to potentially save some money makes a lot of sense. The 2018 model ranges from $31,230 to $46,680. Used 2017s, in contrast, range from $27,700 to $42,000.

Read about the new Toyota Highlander »

If your budget is limited to $35,200 (the average price for a 2017 Highlander), but you’d prefer a new 2018 vehicle, you’ll find a lot of options. The 2018 Kia Sorento sits near the top of our midsize SUV rankings, and the 3-row SUV starts at just $25,900. It features a quiet, comfortable ride, a great predicted reliability rating, good gas mileage, and a roomy interior with top-notch materials. The 2018 Honda Pilot is pricier – $30,895 – but it’s another great SUV. It has more cargo and passenger space than most rivals.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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Which Model Year of the Toyota Highlander Is Best?

The 2017 Highlander is part of a generation that launched for the 2014 model year. Of the models within this generation, the 2017 Highlander is our recommendation. It received a midgeneration refresh that added Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of active safety features as standard. The 2017 Highlander also has a new, more potent available V6 engine. The 2014-2016 models are also good, and they’ll cost a bit less. However, if you plan to do any towing, be sure to buy the 2016 model with the V6 engine. Those models come with the towing package as standard.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Highlander »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Toyota Highlander?

The 2017 Toyota Highlander received an above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Highlander reliability »

2017 Toyota Highlander Recalls

As of this writing, the 2017 Toyota Highlander has two reported recalls. The first concerns an improperly fastened roof rail that may detach from the vehicle. The other recall addresses an improperly inflated spare tire.

See more information on Toyota Highlander safety recalls »

Which Used Toyota Highlander Model Is Right for Me?

There are five available trims: LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, and Limited. Toyota also offers a Highlander Hybrid, which is reviewed separately.

The base Toyota Highlander LE will meet the needs of most drivers who spend their time in the city. It comes loaded with features, including a rare number of driver assistance technologies that most rivals offer only as pricey options. It’s powered by a four-cylinder engine.

If you regularly drive on highways or plan to routinely carry a full load of passengers, step up to the LE Plus, which comes with the more potent V6 engine. It also adds some convenience features, including navigation, a larger touch-screen display, a power liftgate, and tri-zone automatic climate control. The Highlander XLE comes with smartphone integration as part of the infotainment system's Entune App Suite, an 8-inch touch screen with a split-screen display, leather upholstery on the first- and second-row seats, heated front seats, a panoramic moonroof, a proximity key, push-button start, a 120-volt household-style outlet, second-row retractable window shades, Driver Easy Speak, roof rails, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The SE model has seating for seven, as well as a few interior upgrades, like leather-trimmed seats and ambient lighting. The Toyota Highlander Limited adds a few luxury amenities, including perforated upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a premium JBL stereo.  

See 2017 Toyota Highlander trims and specs »

What Does Toyota's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Toyota offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 85,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Toyota provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty on all its certified pre-owned vehicles, and it extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the initial sale date or 100,000 miles. Each CPO Toyota must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits like a CarFax vehicle history report, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Toyota warranty page carefully.

Toyota’s CPO program is about average for an affordable carmaker, according to our research. Hyundai and Kia both have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Highlander?

The 2017 Highlander received an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It earns four stars in the frontal and rollover crash tests and five stars in the side crash test. The 2017 Highlander aced all five Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests and received the institute's highest designation – Top Safety Pick+.

The 2017 Highlander comes with Toyota Safety Sense, a suite of safety technology that includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, forward collision warning and braking, and pedestrian detection. Available safety features include rain-sensing windshield wipers, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and a bird's-eye camera with Perimeter Scan (which is a rotating display of the area around the Highlander).

See Highlander safety scores »

2017 Toyota Highlander Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Toyota Highlander or 2017 Honda Pilot?

There are few differences that separate the Honda Pilot and the Toyota Highlander. Both are great for families, providing lots of cargo room and soft suspensions. They also have similar crash test and predicted reliability ratings. The Highlander offers an abundance of standard safety features, including adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. It also has an available 360-degree camera, which the Pilot has as a standard feature. The Honda is available with CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, which Toyota doesn’t offer in the Highlander. The Pilot also has adult-friendly space in its third row – a rarity in this class. In the end, these are both good midsize SUVs. Your decision will depend on your personal preference.

Which Is Better: 2017 Toyota Highlander or 2017 Toyota 4Runner?

Making a decision between these two midsize SUVs from Toyota is fairly simple. The Toyota 4Runner’s driving dynamics are geared more toward off-roading than family travel. Unless you plan to head off the pavement, the Highlander will be the more fitting option for you. The 4Runner also gets poor gas mile and has hardly any advanced safety features.

Compare the Highlander, Pilot, and 4Runner »

2017 Toyota Highlander Performance

How Does the 2017 Toyota Highlander Drive?

The base model is powered by a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 185 horsepower. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Still, this powertrain doesn’t quite have enough ponies to get the midsize SUV moving quickly. The available 295-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine pared with the eight-speed transmission is a better match for hauling cargo and people on the highway. All-wheel drive is available in models with the V6 engine.

The Highlander’s soft ride makes it a great vehicle for lengthy road trips. Its suspension soaks up bumps, and its well-insulated cabin keeps wind and road noise outside. The Highlander remains fairly poised through turns, as long as you don’t turn a corner too quickly.

Does the 2017 Toyota Highlander Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Toyota Highlander with the four-cylinder engine earns above-average fuel economy estimates for the class: 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Models with the available V6 earn even better numbers: 21/27 mpg city/highway. Models with the V6 and all-wheel drive get 20/27 mpg.

2017 Toyota Highlander Towing Capacity

The Toyota Highlander has a maximum towing weight of 1,500 pounds when equipped with the four-cylinder engine. With the V6 engine, it can tow up to 5,000 pounds. All but the base model come standard with a towing package.

Read more about Highlander performance »

2017 Toyota Highlander Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Toyota Highlander Seat?

The Toyota Highlander seats eight across three rows. The second row slides, and both rear rows are 60/40-split-folding bench seats that can fold flat or recline. The Highlander Limited and Limited Platinum trims come with second-row captain's chairs, reducing seating capacity to seven. There’s good space and comfort in the first two rows. Taller occupants will wish for more legroom in the third row, which is a typical of the class. Cabin material quality is first-rate, especially in the top trims.  

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Toyota Highlander?

The second row has upper and lower LATCH child-seat connectors in the outboard seats, and the second- and third-row middle seats each have an upper tether anchor. This LATCH system received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest rating of Good for ease of use. 

2017 Toyota Highlander Features

The Highlander comes standard with Toyota's Entune interface with a 6.1-inch touch screen, five USB ports, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, and six speakers. Available features include smartphone integration, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, tri-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic moonroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a proximity key, push-button start, a 120-volt household-style outlet, Driver Easy Speak, and a height-adjustable power liftgate.

See 2017 Toyota Highlander specs »

Read more about Highlander interior »

2017 Toyota Highlander Dimensions

Toyota Highlander Cargo Space

The Highlander has 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind its back seats, which is a typical amount of room for vehicles in this class. Behind the second row, there is 42.3 cubic feet of space. With the second- and third-row seats folded, you’ll get 83.7 cubic feet of space, which is a little higher than most competitors’ overall cargo capacities.

2017 Highlander Length and Weight

The 2017 Toyota Highlander is 16 feet long. Its gross vehicle weight ranges from 5,665 pounds to 6,000 pounds, depending on the engine and drivetrain.

Where Was the 2017 Toyota Highlander Built?

Toyota manufactured the 2017 Highlander in Indiana.

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