Toyota Highlander Review: Transporting Teens and Tweens in Style

Toyota Highlander Review

The 2017 Toyota Highlander SE in Blizzard Pearl. I nicknamed her Pearl, short for Minnie. When in Music City…

I’ve always been an SUV mom and now that my girls are in middle and high school it seems like the activity level has ramped up yet again. Fall is one of our busiest seasons for our family and one of our favorite times of year. There are always band practices to go to, Friday night football games to watch and weekend festivals and activities like picking up pumpkins and mums at a rustic roadside market.

Logging all these miles can make you feel like a weekend road warrior. I already spend a lot of time in my car so why not make it a pleasant experience? If you are in the market for a family SUV that is also a pure pleasure to joy while you do your “parental thing” I’ve got a recommendation. I test drove my first Toyota Highlander SE a few weeks ago and honestly hated to turn it back in. Toyota also hooked us up with tickets to the annual Tennessee State Fair. Fairs in Middle Tennessee are a marvelous thing. The girls love the midway rides and treats like funnel cakes and I love the sights and sounds and people (and animal) watching.

At first glance I will admit the Highlander is a little on the large side compared to my current vehicle but it doesn’t drive like a big vehicle. It handles very smoothly and I loved driving it down the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway to Leipers Fork, a picturesque country community in Williamson County. I was also pleasantly surprised at the great gas mileage – 27 MPG on highways and 21 MPG in the city. The weather was gorgeous during our test drive weekend and I was loving the huge sunroof.

As far as the interior features, one of our favorites is the captain’s chairs which are standard for second row seating. There is ample leg room and tween and teen sibling need their space and the Highlander is very roomy, comfortably seating seven passengers which makes it perfect for family road trips. The detailed stitching on the leather seats adds a luxe touch to a utilitarian vehicle with a stylish side.

I also was loving the back storage space which is extremely roomy when the third row seat is folded down. My younger daughter plays the bassoon, definitely not a small instrument, and her case looks small in this spacious storage area! Speaking of storage, the front row compartment inbetween the two seats is ridiculously spacious.


If you’re looking for a family friendly SUV that is rugged yet stylish with third-row seating (this is a HUGE plus to us because even though we are “just” a family of four that allows our girls to each bring a friend on any outings) that handles great, looks great and gets great gas mileage, I highly recommend the Toyota Highlander SE!

Disclosure: Toyota provided me with a review vehicle for a a weekend and four passes to the Tennessee State Fair.

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