2015 Toyota Highlander Review


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2015 Toyota Highlander Overview

Having entered its third generation with a hefty reworking in 2014, Toyota’s capable Highlander midsize crossover ute enters the 2015 model year with no noteworthy changes. It remains, therefore, a 7- or 8-passenger (in 3 rows) people hauler of uncommon handsomeness and sophistication. Not only that, but it returns toting a fairly hefty 83.2 cubic feet of cargo area with the rear seatbacks folded, a pair of engine choices and available full-time all-wheel drive (AWD) to supplement the standard front-wheel drivetrain (FWD).

The 2015 Highlander lineup once again comes in 5 trims, the entry-level LE, the up-featured LE Plus, the quasi-plush XLE, the officially posh Limited and the flagship Limited Platinum. Although some in the media think this swoopy Toyota ought to be considered a card-carrying sport ute, its unibody construction and, thereby, its comfy ride and heady handling characteristics all argue in favor of crossover status. And in case you're wondering, the 2015 Highlander Hybrid is covered in a separate overview.

Anyhow, returning in the base Highlander LE for the upcoming model year is the standard 2.7-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) powerplant that again mates with a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission to put out 185 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Fuel efficiency remains, of course, pretty decent at 20 mpg city/25 highway.

Need more grunt? The Highlander LE Plus and higher trims, in both FWD and AWD form, all once again pack a 3.5-liter V6 engine under the management of the ubiquitous 6-speed shiftable automatic to the tune of 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Look for this engine to power all AWD Highlanders, thus it remains optional for the entry-level LE when equipped with the available AWD system. Mileage in FWD V6-loaded versions is estimated at 19/25, with AWD iterations checking in at 18/24. Note that gas mileage isn’t all that different from that of the 4-banger, so it’s no surprise that the V6 is the popular choice among those purchasing a new Highlander.

Appearance goodies, meantime, include, depending on the trim selected, 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels, heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, a rear spoiler and, in the LE Plus and higher versions, a power liftgate.

Inside, again depending on the trim chosen, look for cloth or leather upholstery, a driver-information display, full power accessories, cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, air conditioning or tri-zone climate control, a rear-view camera, Bluetooth hands-free calling, basic Entune infotainment systems and a single-CD player with 6 speakers and 6.1-inch touchscreen display.

Higher trims, meanwhile, add standard stuff like a power sunroof, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, memory for driver’s settings and second-row captain’s chairs, along with an 8-inch touchscreen for infotainment functions and hard-drive-based navigation, not to mention Entune Smartphone apps. Furthermore, the Limited adds a 14-speaker premium JBL stereo, with the Limited Platinum tossing in standard rear-seat BluRay entertainment, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

Many of the standard items that adorn the upper-tier trims in the 2015 Highlander lineup can, of course, be added to select lower trims as optional bling.

Finally, standard safety features aboard the 2015 Highlander in all its manifestations include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS) as well as mandated traction and stability control. Front side-mounted airbags, 3-row head airbags, daytime running lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors and a post-collision safety system also remain delivered as standard safety equipment lineup-wide, while the LE Plus and higher trims sport standard front fog/driving lights as well. The Limited additionally boasts standard blind-spot monitoring, while the Limited Platinum adds standard adaptive cruise control with front-collision mitigation braking, as well as lane-departure warnings and Toyota’s Safety Connect emergency communications and alerts.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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2015 Toyota Highlander Top Comparisons

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    Toyota Highlander Questions


    Best Lease Deal

    What is the best lease deal available right now? There are so many.

    28 views with 3 answers (last answer 6 months ago)
    Quyen Sengkhamvilay

    Engine Light Is On

    Hi, my engine light came on and I took it to an auto parts store to have them do a diagnostics test and came back with a code P2610. Do you know what that means?

    58 views with 3 answers (last answer 7 months ago)

    I Hear A Humming Sound Under My 2015 Highlander When Its Not Running

    When my new Highlander is parked/off and in garage, it makes a sound like a fan is running.

    980 views with 3 answers (last answer 8 months ago)

    I Am Trying To Sell A Car And It Says My Vin Is Already Listed. I Have Doub...

    17 views with 1 answer (last answer 10 months ago)

    Need Snow Tires For My 2015 Toyota Highlander Limited

    I have 245/55R19 tires on the vehicle now but need snow tires. Toyota says that I can use 18 inch tires but they are very expensive. They also say that I must buy the 18 inch alloy rims as they do n...

    265 views with 3 answers (last answer 11 months ago)