The 2016 Highlander is powered by a choice of three different drivetrains. Base models make due with a 2.7L 4-cylinder engine making 180 horsepower. In this guise, the Highlander is rated at 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The mid-level V6 displaces 3.5L and makes 270 horsepower, while the top of the line hybrid uses an electric motor in conjunction with a V6 to make 280 horsepower. The hybrid Highlander returns 27 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, extremely impressive numbers for a vehicle equipped with third-row seating. The Highlander comes standard in front-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive is an option for those who need it.
There are four trim levels offered on the 2016 Toyota Highlander: LE, LE Plus, XLE and Limited, which offers buyers plenty of options.
LE is the most basic trim, and is the only trim to feature the smaller 4-cylinder engine. However, it still comes loaded with 18-inch wheels, an Entune stereo with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a backup camera, Bluetooth streaming, heated mirrors, a couple of USB ports and third-row seating.
Stepping up to LE Plus adds a number of desirable items. Highlights include a height-adjustable power rear liftgate, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, satellite HD radio, 3-zone automatic climate control, fog lamps and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The XLE trim includes a smart key and push-button start, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, roof rails to help secure extra luggage, rear window shades, an 8-inch touch screen, HomeLink, a navigation system and a moonroof.
The top-spec Limited trim offers 19-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, various parking aids and a blind-spot monitor, perforated leather seating, heated and cooled front seats, and a powered passenger seat. The Limited Highlanders are also the only trim that can be equipped with the optional hybrid powertrain.
Options include a Technology package with radar-controlled cruise control, a Lane Departure system and automatically dimming high beams; as well as a Platinum package, which includes everything in the technology package along with a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats and a panoramic moonroof. A Rear Seat Entertainment system is also optional.
Safety is aided by anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control, as well as optional items like a blind-spot monitor. Of course, should an accident occur, the Highlander is equipped with eight airbags in order to minimize any possible damage to its occupants.