2015 Toyota Higlander Hybrid LIMITED, aka "Perfectly Boring"Mike Wood Posted on 2017-02-10
We have all had a similar experience: occasionally perfect can be boring. Whether a relationship, a movie, or in this case a car, sometimes good, is well, just too good. The totally redesigned 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid LIMITED may just be exactly that; it executes perfectly. Case in point:
Full of technical goodies, including rear cameras, park assist, lane change warning system, forward sensing radar for the cruise control that automatically adapts speed according to traffic flow, to name only a few, this Toyota has all the luxury items you’d find in a Mercedes S-Class. Creature comforts abound: power adjustable, heated leather front seats that also offer a cooling feature that circulates cold air conditioned air through the perforated seat material to ensure you don’t stick to the leather in summer, plus touch screen navigation with Smartphone integration, a rocking JBL Surround Sound System, seating for 7, and limitless visibility for the driver. Further interior refinements on this particular Highlander include the optional Platinum package, which provides a panoramic sunroof, rear heated captains chairs, and a heated steering wheel. Add this to all the other features in this top-of-the-line model: 19-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, flip-up rear hatch window in the adjustable-height power liftgate, a rear spoiler, keyless ignition and entry, ambient interior lighting, tri-zone automatic climate control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver memory functions, a four-way power passenger seat, driver voice amplification for communicating with rear passengers ("Driver Easy Speak"), a second-row table between the captain's chairs and retractable second-row sunshades, and you quickly understand that this vehicle lacks nothing.
This particular Limited Highlander includes the Driver Technology package, which adds Toyota's Safety Connect telematics (stolen vehicle locater, roadside assistance, automatic collision notification), the aforementioned adaptive cruise control, a collision mitigation system with automatic braking, a lane departure warning system and automatic high-beam control headlights. Pretty slick. Oddly, however, the only luxury item missing appears be be power retractable side mirrors, those remain of the “manual do it yourself” variety.
Powered by an efficient 3.5L 6 cylinder gas/electric engine mated to a CVT transmission the Hybrid power-plant produces 280HP, and uses a miserly 8.4L per 100kms in either City or Highway driving. Yes, you read that correctly: City and Highway fuel economy values are the same. That’s due to the fact that in City driving, electric engines, in conjunction with the gas motor spur the forward to 100 kms/hr in just under 8 seconds, not bad for a 7 passenger family mover. Add to this, the Highlander is capable of towing a 3500 pound trailer, slightly less than it’s gas-only powered version, but still respectable, in light of its additional 350 pound weight.
Yet with all these creature comforts, technical wizardry, and hybrid running gear, the Toyota lacks something: driver involvement. Yet perhaps that is part of its magic: do busy drivers fraught with arguing brothers and sisters, spilled milk, “are we there yet?” queries, and soccer drop offs really want one more thing to deal with? Probably not. And, if that’s the case, well then this case of excellence is now closed.
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