2017 Toyota Highlander review

Research, photos, specs, and expertise
7 photos

Toyota Highlander highlights

Customer rating


  • Standard driver assistance aids across the range
  • New V6 engine offers better performance and EPA estimates


  • Some rivals offer more spacious third-row seating
  • Touchscreen and stereo controls are a bit of a stretch from the driver's seat

Mileage (EPA estimate)

19 city, 24 highway, 22 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)

7 photos

The 2017 Toyota Highlander adds a new, more powerful V6 choice

If you can choose only one three-row crossover vehicle, it's easy to make a case that it should be the 2017 Toyota Highlander. It might not be quite as large as its biggest rivals, but it's a good size. The third-row seats, however, might be fine for children but aren't suited to regularly transport adults. That's about the only complaint we can level at the 2017 Highlander, because the rest of the offering from Toyota is so appealing. Key to its allure is the optional V6 engine, and for 2017 Toyota improved it with an increased 295-hp output and paired it with an eight-speed automatic transmission that helps with EPA-estimated fuel economy. The base four-cylinder 2.7-liter engine is capable, providing 184 hp, but that V6 is worth the extra cost. Both come with front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive offered as an optional.

There's also a Hybrid model in the mix; it mates a V6 to electric motors and comes with a CVT automatic and all-wheel drive as standard. The Hybrid offers significant EPA-estimated gains, but typically costs more than standard models with equivalent mileage. Hybrid buyers also have to make do with seven seats and four trim choices—LE, XLE, Limited, and Limited Platinum—and a lower towing capacity. The lineup for the regular Highlander is LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited, and Limited Platinum. For 2017, the cabin adds four more USB ports. Among the trims, the XLE hits a smart balance of pricing to equipment. It comes with leather upholstery, an upgraded instrument panel, heated and power-adjustable front seats, keyless ignition and entry, and blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert added to the standard driver aids. The XLE also uses that appealing V6. The 2017 Toyota Highlander is a family hauler that's difficult to find fault with, and if you need its space and capability, it's a real contender for top honors among rivals.

All Toyota Highlander years

What is new for the 2017 Toyota Highlander?

  • The Highlander is available in a new trim called the SE.
  • The Limited Platinum trim now comes with Cruise Control as standard equipment.
  • The LE trim now comes with Lane Departure Warning, Automated Cruise Control, Bluetooth Technology, and Satellite Radio Ready as standard equipment.
  • The Limited trim now comes with Automated Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning as standard equipment.
  • The LE Plus trim now comes with Automated Cruise Control, Cloth Seats, and Lane Departure Warning as standard equipment.
  • The XLE trim now comes with Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitor, and Automated Cruise Control as standard equipment.

2017 Toyota Highlander trims

Curious how Toyota Highlander trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities


LE Plus




Toyota Highlander photos

5 reasons to buy the 2017 Toyota Highlander

1. Clever storage spaces

2017 Toyota Highlander Review: Interior | CarMax

You'll love the smartly designed storage areas in the 2017 Toyota Highlander. A built-in shelf on the dashboard serves as a flat plane on which to place a phone or other small item. Under the sliding armrest cover, you'll find even more space—enough to accommodate a tablet, laptop, or tote-sized purse. And, of course, you'll also have room behind the third row (13.8 cu-ft) where you can easily stow a golf bag or three.

2. Quiet, serene cabin

2017 Toyota Highlander Review: Front Seats | CarMax

Driving the 2017 Toyota Highlander is peaceful, even with the power of the optional V6 engine under the hood. Toyota cleverly uses insulation in key points of the Highlander to distribute vibration and noise, which makes a difference when you're trying to talk to your passengers. In the upper trims (XLE, SE, and Limited), you'll even get the Driver Easy Speak® feature, which amplifies your voice toward the back so you can keep your eyes ahead, speak normally, and be heard.

3. Three powertrain options

2017 Toyota Highlander Review: Engine | CarMax

In the base model of the 2017 Highlander, you'll get a capable 185-hp 2.7L four-cylinder engine and FWD as standard. Every other trim, from the LE Plus to the Limited, includes the upgraded 295-hp V6 engine. Hybrid models build on that by adding three electric motors to the six-cylinder powerplant. No matter which one you choose, you'll love that the Highlander gets up to speed quickly on the highway and is a pleasure to drive.

4. Stylish good looks

2017 Toyota Highlander Review: Rear Angle | CarMax

A new fascia adorns the front of the 2017 Toyota Highlander, sportier and spiffier than the year before. Sleek LED taillights are standard, and the back end is well planted. Inside, the Highlander includes soft-touch materials and a classic design you'll enjoy for years to come.

5. Lots of tech updates

2017 Toyota Highlander Review: Tech | CarMax

For model year 2017, the Highlander has five USB ports—three in front and two in the second row. There's a standard backup camera, a 4.2-inch color LCD multi-information display, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Toyota's driver-assistance suite, and more. On the LE Plus and higher trims, an eight-inch touchscreen is included. Also standard on all trims are automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure intervention, and forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking.

Similar vehicles

If you're interested in the 2017 Toyota Highlander, you should also check out these similar vehicles from Previous generation years.

Image of Jeep Grand Cherokee

The robust Jeep Grand Cherokee is a top pick if you like to get right into the action. The 2017-2019 Grand Cherokee features up to seven different trims to help you find just what you're looking for. Multiple drive modes and adjustable ground clearance are available from the mid-level Trailhawk trim and above. Crossing streams or climbing rocky hills is a fun challenge for this SUV.

Standard features of the 2017-2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee base trim Laredo include:

  • Rearview camera with rear parking sensors

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control

  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity (from 2018)

Shop with your budget in mind

Getting pre-qualified lets you shop with personalized monthly payments, and it doesn't impact your credit score.Get Pre-qualified

Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

The 2017 Toyota Highlander is a spacious SUV that has all the bells and whistles and offers comfort and space. Customers love this car because it is good looking, comfortable on long drives, and has lots of cargo room. The Highlander also has great driver assistance features.

RepairPal gave the Toyota Highlander an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks Toyota Highlander 6th out of 32 among Midsize SUVs.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander features and specs

SE 2WD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • CD Audio
  • Entune
  • Fold-Away Third Row
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Leather Seats
  • Leatherette Seats
  • Navigation System
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Power Hatch/Deck Lid
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Seat(s)
  • Power Windows
  • Quad Seats
  • Rear Air Conditioning
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear Sunshade
  • Rear View Camera
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Smart Key
  • Sunroof(s)
  • Third Row Seat
  • Traction Control
  • Full Roof Rack
  • Rear Entertainment System
  • Remote Start
  • Running Boards
  • Tow Hitch

Drive Wheels

Front Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type


Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 44.2"/M 38.4"/R 27.7"

Head room

F 39.5"/M 39.6"/R 35.9"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity


Max towing capacity

500/5000 lbs.



2017 Toyota Highlander FAQ

More about the 2017 Toyota Highlander

2017 Toyota Highlander Review: Top Colors | CarMax


  • Alumina Jade Metallic

  • Blizzard Pearl

  • Celestial Silver Metallic

  • Midnight Black Metallic

  • Ooh La La Rouge Mica

  • Predawn Gray Mica

  • Salsa Red Pearl

  • Shoreline Blue Pearl

  • Toasted Walnut Pearl


  • Almond

  • Ash

  • Black

  • Saddle Tan

Interior details

The 2017 Toyota Highlander has room for seven or eight people, depending on whether you shop for a model with captain's chairs or a bench seat for the middle row. With several flexible seating options and 60/40 splits, the Highlander has enough room to keep everyone happy. When you're out grocery shopping, the 2017 Highlander liftgate opens to reveal 13.8 cubic feet even if all the seats are upright, or you can fold down the third row and give your pets a roomy place to ride.

Child seat details

For 2017, the Toyota Highlander seats up to eight and can fit two car seats in the second row with captain's chairs or a bench; in the third row, two sets of anchors are available for car seats. This includes a combination of LATCH car seats, infant car seats, rear-facing convertible car seats, forward-facing convertible car seats, and booster car seats. With smart placement of anchor points and seating options, the 2017 Toyota Highlander can make it easier to buckle in infants and small children.


The 2017 Toyota Highlander base model is powered by a 2.7L four-cylinder engine that produces 185 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. An upgraded 295-hp 3.5L V6 engine making 263 lb-ft of torque is standard on all other trims and is an option for the base LE. With the base engine, power comes from a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. You can choose between AWD or FWD with the V6, and power is driven through an eight-speed transmission.

Models with FWD and the 2.7L four-cylinder engine get an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined; those with the V6 and FWD get an EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined; and those with the V6 and AWD get an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined.

The hybrid powertrain pairs the V6 with three electric motors for a combined 306 hp; AWD is standard, and the vehicle gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg combined.

With the 3.5L V6 engine, the 2017 Toyota Highlander can tow an estimated 5,000 lbs when properly equipped.

Year comparisons

2013 Toyota Highlander (Second Generation)

Offered in base, Plus, SE, and Limited trim levels, the 2013 Toyota Highlander seats seven. The base model comes with a 187-hp 2.7L inline-four engine, and power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. You can opt for a 3.5L V6 engine for 270 hp; AWD is also an option.

2014-2019 Toyota Highlander (Third Generation)

In 2016, Toyota added a new standard towing package that gives any model with the V6 engine the option to tow an estimated 5,000 lbs, when properly equipped.2 For model year 2019, Toyota gave the Highlander a few exterior aesthetic adjustments, too.

2020-present Toyota Highlander (Fourth Generation)

Fully redesigned for 2020, the Highlander adds more cargo space in the back (from 13.8 cu-ft in the 2019 model to 16 cu-ft in the 2020 model) for your gear. Want to toss a bike in there? You certainly could. Band instruments? No problem. Also, Toyota dropped the inline-four engine and now equips all Highlanders with a V6.

Research other vehicles

* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

We hope you found this information helpful. This content is intended to inform and is not meant to indicate that a particular vehicle is currently available or recommended for you.​

Unless otherwise noted, information related to featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.​

We make every effort to provide accurate information, but please verify before purchasing.