2019 Highlander: The Flexible Family SUV Akin to a Swiss Army Knife

Picking a vehicle for your family doesn't have to be a difficult experience -- not when you consider the attributes of the 2019 Toyota Highlander. Toyota has done a fabulous job designing a vehicle that's prepared for practically any occasion, whether it's family trip across the country or a brief jaunt across town. When you're looking for versatility, you'll find it with this new SUV.

Engineered to Perform

It's clear from the start that Toyota wants its midsize SUV to deliver sturdy, well-rounded performance. Versatility is the centerpiece of the Highlander. With specific engineering choices, Toyota has ensured that the Highlander is able to tackle everything from all-weather confidence to long-distance trips and cross-town commuting.

As usual, performance in the Highlander starts with its engine options. The standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder unit unit won't knock your socks off with power, but it's a reliable and willing power plant that's ready to take you where you need to go. With 185 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, the 2.7-liter engine is a balanced and purposeful piece of engineering.

The real treat, however, is the optional 3.5-liter V6. You may find this engine familiar, as it's the workhorse of choice for several new Toyota models. In the Highlander, the V6 makes a punchy 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. Whether you're towing a trailer or merging on the highway, this engine has plenty of power on tap. Even with that power, the 3.5-liter V6 can achieve up to 27 mpg highway.

If capability and confident handling are top priorities for your next SUV, we recommend opting for the available Dynamic Torque-Control All-Wheel drive system. The standard front-wheel drive architecture can certainly hold its own, but all-wheel drive adds that extra confidence for tight roads, muddy trails, and more.

Available Hybrid Technology

Typically, drivers expect to find hybrid performance in compact hatchback models or sedans. Of course, Toyota is well known for such models. But as it happens, you can also get an available hybrid powertrain in the new Highlander.

Interestingly, the Highlander Hybrid has a general performance advantage over either of the gas-only powertrains. That's because it starts with the already impressive 3.5-liter V6 and adds supplemental power from an electric motor. According to Toyota the system produces a net 305 horsepower. At the same time, you'll get a bump up to 28 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

Flexible Features Inside the Cabin

Life goes by quickly, and the new Highlander's cabin aims to keep up. It's a flexible, comfortable space with ample room for all types of activities, rivaling even minivans in its versatility.

A strong point for the 2019 Highlander is its seating capacity. The three-row design means up to eight passengers can climb in for the ride. The standard layout offers three seats in each of the rear rows. You can, however, upgrade to second-row captain's chairs. This brings capacity down to seven but enhances second-row comfort and makes easy work of loading and unloading passengers.

The Highlander is great for other kinds loading and unloading, too. As expected, the rear seats can fold flat and transform into a sizeable cargo area. There's a cavernous 83.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity to fill back there with all rear seats folded down. Even folding down just the third row gets you 42.3 cubic feet to work with.

There's much more than just space to enjoy in the new Highlander as well. Toyota has generously appointed its midsize SUV with all sorts of convenience and comfort features. Great attention has been paid to insulating the cabin from excess road noise, and a range of premium materials are available throughout. An available panoramic moonroof offers a glass canopy for improved views. Plus, the Highlander comes with five USB ports, so passengers can keep their devices charged.

Technology in Abundance

There's not much that supersedes technology in terms of importance for modern drivers. Luckily, the Highlander is no slouch on this front. Its standard center display screen comes with a rearview camera view along with a top-down birds-eye camera view for enhanced visibility. If you plan to haul rear passengers regularly, you can opt in for the available Driver Easy Speak feature that can project your voice all the way back to the third row. Of course, drivers like you will likely choose the available Entune Multimedia Bundle, which equips the Highlander with an eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, and wide variety of apps.

Safety Offerings

Toyota has been well known for excellent vehicle safety for ages, and the Highlander sticks to that path by offering the Toyota Safety Sense P package standard. That means you'll get driver assistance features like Lane Departure Alert, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, and more. These features give you an extra layer of protection and confidence behind the wheel.

The 2019 Toyota Highlander Gives You the Versatility That You Need

It's clear from its design and features that versatility is second nature for the Toyota Highlander. In a crowded field of family SUVs, this one stands out with its sensible design and well-rounded performance. We recommend getting in the driver's seat of a new 2019 Highlander as soon as possible.