Toyota highlander review

Published on 7 April, 2022

 

The Toyota Highlander, also known as the Toyota Kluger in Japan, is a Mid-size Crossover SUV produced by Toyota. It is built on the same platform as the Toyota Camry. In Japan it is known as the Kluger as they were unable to use the Highlander nameplate because of the trademarked trim line name being owned by Hyundi, Toyota calls the vehicle the Toyota Kluger in these markets."Kluger", written in German with an Ü instead of a U, means "someone who is smarter than another". So does the SUV really live up to its name?

EXTERIOR

Toyota’s RAV4 and Highlander not only share Toyota’s New Global Architecture, the TNGA platform, they share a harmonious design language that makes it easy to tell that they’re all siblings. Despite being the larger SUV among the two, the Highlander Hybrid is the most expressionless amid its contenders. It has the blocky exterior design of many other midsize SUVs in favor of something with flowing lines. Even the front grille, which tends to be one of Toyota’s most controversial design elements, is somber and cohesive on the Highlander Hybrid.

INTERIOR

There's plenty to like about the interior of the 2021 Toyota Highlander. The cabin is filled with quality materials, and it boasts spacious seating in the first two rows, ample standard features, and a respectable amount of cargo room. This SUV can seat up to eight people in its standard configuration. The first and second rows can accommodate adults easily, and the second-row bench seat's sliding and reclining capability makes sitting there even more comfortable. However, you'll want to reserve the tiny third-row seats for people in your family you like least. A full grown adult can manage a small ride in the last row but if you're planning on going for long drives, those seats have to be reserved for the kids. 

The Highlander has slightly more cargo space than most of its competitors. There's 16 cubic feet of space behind the third row and 48.4 cubic feet behind the second row. Optional cargo features include a power liftgate and a hands-free liftgate. Standard comfort features include cloth upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a sliding and reclining second-row bench seat. Synthetic leather upholstery, genuine leather upholstery, second-row captain’s chairs, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats. The steering and shift knob also come leather-wrapped and the steering wheel can also be temperature controlled. Sun shades are also available in the second-row windows which also doubles as extra privacy if you get stuck in the busy Dhaka roads.  

PERFORMANCE SPECS

Under the hood is Toyota’s well known 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired up with two electric motors that delivers a combined output of 243 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) handles shifts and routes power through the front wheels in the standard variant. The hybrid powertrain isn’t too far off the gasoline model’s 3.5-liter V6 engine that’s rated at 295 horsepower and is in the middle of its rivals.

But Toyota certainly knows how to make hybrids and it shows. The interaction between the gas engine and electric motors is smooth and encourages fuel-efficient driving habits. Usually, CVTs are the weak spot of any powertrain, but in the Highlander Hybrid where things move a little slowly, the transmission handles things well.

Toyota states the Highlander delivers 8.9 kilometers per liter in the city and more than 12 kilometers per liter on the highway. These figures are below average for mid size SUVs, but they're good for a midsize SUV with a V6 engine. The all-wheel-drive Highlander performs a little less compared to the Front-wheel drive variant. But considering how people drive in Bangladesh, factoring the bumpy roads and busy streets, don't be surprised if the numbers don't add up.

DRIVING EXPERIENCE

The Highlander is a comfort-oriented vehicle with a smooth ride, even when the road gets bumpy. It also offers poised handling, though steering feedback is minimal.

Although Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available. Neither Hybrids nor midsize SUVs are known for being athletic, so it should come as little surprise that the Highlander Hybrid is not. The electrified hybrid has plenty of power for city use and running around town, but can feel underpowered when passing on the highway.

So how does the car handle? there’s a feeling of good-humored comfort if you take things super easy and drive on smooth roads,  but the elegance is actually attenuated. There’s body control, there’s accurate enough steering, there’s decent braking performance - but there’s precious little satisfaction.

As for the other stuff, it’ll pick up on bad road surfaces fairly aggressively, thanks to the new trail mode added by Toyota. But if you thought this mode meant you could try out a little offroading like you would with a Toyota Land Cruiser then, sorry to crush your dreams. The little ground clearance it has makes it hard for it to pass over big bumps and very easy for it to get stuck in the mud or sand.

 

OVERALL

So if you're looking for a brand new daily driver with a bit of aggressive flair buyers, along with premium taste and an open budget, the 2021 Toyota Highlander is a hands down great option. A Toyota Highlander 2021 is also a great option if you want to go big, but not as big as a Land Cruiser. In today's market it will put you behind around 1.1 to 1.3 crore depending on the features you add.

 

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