The 2011 Toyota Highlander mid size crossover has an interior trim that is comfortable as the best selling Sedans, especially the Camry to which it bears more than a passing resemblance and could almost be described as a "big brother".
The Highlander comes in three varieties either basic, SE or Limited.
The basic Toyota Highlander version kicks in with cloth upholstery, a tilting, telescoping steering wheel, a six-speaker CD stereo , air-conditioning , rear privacy glass and 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels with P245/65R17 all season tires. The more luxurious version, the SE comes with all the standard equipment, as well as leather upholstery instead of cloth and an upgraded audio system taking in satellite radio, a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity as well as streaming audio. Add to that an eight-way power driver seat, front seat that heat, sunroof, fog lamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, roof rails, power tailgate and a reverse aiding camera.
The top of the range Limited edition comes with all of the above as well as , keyless ignition and entry ability , tri-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power adjustable driver seat, a four-way power adjustable passenger seat , foldable heat enabled outside mirrors and 19-inch cast-aluminum wheels fitted with P245/55R19 all weather tires.
If all of these goodies are still not enough, then the Highlander comes with a long list of optional extras ranging from a state of the art navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a rapid hitch tow bar.
Safety features on all Highlander version takes in a full complement of airbags: dual-stage front airbags, a driver's-knee airbag, upper body-protecting side-impact airbags for front passengers, and head-protecting side air curtains for the front and rear seats. All models come with anti-lock brakes (ABS), which are designed to enhance steering control during an emergency stop situation. The ABS features Brake Assist, which applies the brakes more forcefully and consistently in an emergency stop situation as well as electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), which balances brake application front and rear for optimal stopping distance. A tire-pressure monitor is standard, as well as a Vehicle Stability Control feature.
Fuel consumption for the Toyota Highlander SUV, according to the US EPA averages at 22 miles per gallon in two wheels drive, with 17 miles per gallon in the city and 23 miles per gallon on the open road being reported in most reviews.
Toyota are well aware that the 2012 Highlander has a fight on its hands to retain market share in a very tight market with opposition coming from such SUV heavyweights as the Ford Explorer , Chevrolet Traverse Buick Enclave, Ford Flex, Mazda CX-9 , Dodge Durango and GMC Acadia. While all of these Crossovers are bigger and can seat more people in comfort, they make some serious demands as far as fuel consumption is concerned and, according to reviews, are much more expensive to acquire and maintain.
The 2011 Toyota Highlander still sits strong and fast in its recognized niche as a middle of the road crossover SUV providing a wide range of options in terms of safety, operability, maneuverability as well as interior and exterior finish. The Highlander can hold its own both on and off road, returning reasonable petrol consumption statistics and, according to all reviews, excellent value for money as far as purchase outlay and upkeep costs is concerned. Toyota are doing all within their power to keep the Highlander in the race against some very strong opposition, both from US manufacturers as well as those from the Far East.