2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited V6 AWD

Susan Frissell

The 2015 Toyota Highlander, a midsize crossover-SUV market favorite, is for this year more refined, and better looking. The current Highlander has stiff competition such as the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer. Yet, the Highlander seems to hold its own as a segment leader.

The 2015 Highlander offers seating for eight passengers, a choice of 4-cylinder, V6 or hybrid drivetrains, and either front- or all-wheel drive (FWD, AWD). The 2015 Highlanders’ interior is much improved, laid out more attractively, and includes a pass-through cable organizer for media devices, as well as Easy Speak, which amplifies the driver’s voice so rear passengers can hear better. Crash test ratings are top in safety picks, as rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.2015-Toyota-Highlander-Hybrid-ATD-GH

The Toyota Highlander replaces the minivan as the first choice for consumers with families. Two styles are available and include the Limited Platinum V6 and AWD. Redesigned, more to resemble a SUV this time around, the Highlander resembles the BMW X5, Durango. Other competition also includes the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Chevy Traverse and Ford Flex Turbo.
A rearview camera and eight airbags are standard on the 2015 Highlander. Options on our test Highlander V6 Limited included Rear seat BlueRay DVD entertainment system with 9-inch display RCA jacks, remote and two wireless headphones ($1,810); Driver Technology Package (safety connect, pre-collision system w/dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert w/automatic high beam headlights, $1,400); Carpet floor mats and cargo mat, $225.

The pros are several and include new styling, more room in the second row, storage for media stuff in the center console, increased space behind the third row and interior styling-upgrades.
Of course with the pros also come the cons, such as tight third-row, headroom, a sporty ride, unrefined hybrid and 4 cylinder, limited cargo. Pricing for the 2015 Highlander ranges from about $47,500-$49,990. More sculpted than in year’s past, the Highlander is a bit more distinguished.

All-new in 2014, the third-generation Highlander didn’t add too much to the 2015 model. If consumers yearn for ‘me-too,’ this is the SUV for them. If you’re wanting to tow a boat and need at least 5,000 lb capacity, you may want to opt for the Toyota 4-Runner. That way, you’re still in the family and loyal to Toyota. Toyota predicts more than 90 percent of those Highlander’s equipped with the 3.5-liter V6 will leave the lot. As with other Hybrid vehicles, sales are fewer.

MSRP: $47,500; total vehicle price $51,820; destination $885
Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive System, 3.5-l DOHC V6, 24-valve, 231 hp., 215 lb.ft torque, w/VVT-c ECO and EV Modes
Transmission: Continuous Variable , 2-speed w/overdrive and auto-manual
Towing capacity: 3,500 lbs.
Wheelbase: 109.8 in.
Length: 191.1 in.
Width: 64.4 in.
EPA fuel Economy: 28 mpg.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.2 gallons
Wheels: alloy
Tires: 245/55R19 BSW
Warranty: 36-mths, 36,000-miles basic, 60 mth/60,000-mile powertrain, 24 mths/25,000-mile maintenance, 24 mths/25,000-mile roadside assistance, 60 mths/unlimited distance corrosion perforation

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