Car Reviews

2017 Toyota Highlander Review

By Mike Richards Updated: 06/09/2023 Posted: 09/12/2018

The Highlander is Toyota’s mid-size crossover SUV sitting between the larger and more rugged 4Runner and the smaller Rav4. Unveiled in 2000 and hitting the North American market a year later, the Toyota Highlander is now in its third generation. It ranks high in the safety charts with Toyota’s Safety Sense package coming as standard. It is a bundle of active safety features including Lane Depart Alert and Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection.


The third generation Toyota Highlander has been in production since 2013 and the 2017 year model saw a fresh restyle. The Safety Sense package comes as standard, and the car scored great marks on the IIHS-HLDI test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety-Highway Loss Data Institute gave it good marks across the board, naming it the 2017 Top Safety Pick+.

Upgrades and Options

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Review

Toyota also added a new 6-cylinder engine as standard on most trims. The added power improves acceleration and fuel economy over the old 4-cylinder engine. Although the 4-cylinder engine remains an option, it is seen as unrefined and underpowered, so maybe an option to avoid. Power output ranges from 185 horsepower to 295 horsepower feed either to the front wheels or all four. And it is not only the power output and acceleration where the V6 looks a better option. It provides better fuel economy as well with 19 MPG in the city and 27 on the highway.

In addition to the engine upgrades, Toyota has added a new 8-speed automatic transmission. The Japanese car manufacturer also offers a new SE trim with a sporty suspension and fancy LED lights. There are other multimedia options available making any road trip for up to 7 passengers a fun journey. The Highlander offers a quiet and a reasonably comfortable ride.

Comparison with the 2018 Model

For the 2018 model year, Toyota has brought on even more improvements. While U.S. News listed the 2017 model as second on the 2017 Affordable Midsize SUV list, the 2018 model year climbed up many other charts. It is #1 on the Midsize SUV list, #2 on the 3 Row SUVs list and the Crossover SUVs list.

There were no changes in design or engine line-up, meaning the 4-cylinder engine is still available and still to avoid. However, the V6 offers more power and better fuel economy anyway.

Depending on the trim, MSRP for the 2018 Highlander starts at $31-200 to $46,900 and can go higher with options. This leaves the potential for savings if you don’t mind looking into the used market.

The Toyota Highlander was the 8th best-selling SUV/Crossover in the US in 2017. Source:

How Reliable are Used Highlanders?

A well looked after used Highlander could save you some cash and is the option to choose. But this is not only in comparison to the 2018 year model. The 2017 Highlander has refreshed styling and the V6 engine as standard in many trims. Not to mention the enhanced safety features, compared to the previous years. Although you could count on extra cash savings, you also have to factor in higher mileage on the older models. Older models also have older designs lack Toyota Safety Sense.

Looking at the Car Complaints data, the 2017 model also outperforms its predecessors. They also show that it is the best buy among used Highlanders.

Looking at the older models, CarComplaints notes the 2003 model has been the most troublesome. This is mostly due to the higher repair costs and more frequently reported engine issues.

Prices for the 2017 Highlander, according to U.S. News, average $35,200 while CarGurus listings start at $24,900 and top out at $41,500.

2017 Toyota Highlander Dealer-Only Auctions Available To The Public Through Auto Auction Mall

[auctions yearfrom=”2017″ query=”Toyota Highlander”]

The Verdict

The 2017 Toyota Highlander is a good mid-size crossover. This vehicle will provide plenty of space for any family with its seven seats. It also has enough space inside as well as in the cargo compartment. While the third row can be a bit cramped for adults, it is roomy enough for kids. If you select the optional rear-seat 9-inch display BluRay entertainments system, you will keep your kids happy on long trips. The option provides multiple auxiliary video inputs for game consoles and four standard USB ports will keep your smartphones running.

All in all, the 2017 Toyota Highlander is a great SUV for families. This SUV/Crossover offers a ride that is getting closer to that of a sedan. With its array of standard safety features, it is certainly an option for any driver who wants a comfortable ride and space for the family.

Looking for Toyota? Here is a list of other Toyota reviews we have done in the past.