We road tested the Toyota Highlander - and it's rather good, writes Chris Johnson.

The model as tested was the Highlander Excel 2.5 Petrol Hybrid with intelligent AWD system giving you an added boost from a standstill, under acceleration and in slippery conditions.

With a maximum power output of 245bhp the Highlander can stretch its long legs to 62mph in a shade just over eight seconds, which considering this is a true seven seater and packed with gadgets is very impressive.

The ride is effortless and at your destination you feel invigorated and ready for what the day has in store.

This can be attributed to all the increased sound deadening that’s been used, including acoustic glass for the windscreen and front windows, silencers in the roof, dashboard and floor and liners to the wheel arches and load space, although with all this added quietness listening to your passengers without raised voices might be a novelty at first.

South West Farmer:

The Highlander has a towing capacity of two tons, which is fairly respectable and definitely a worthy addition to its vast array of capabilities. With a choice of Eco, Normal, Sport or Trail there really is very little that can get in your way.

Triple zone air conditioning, sky view panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats, plus a heated steering wheel, eight inch screen with nav, USB and HDMI sockets and ports front and rear, a smartphone charger and connections to your preferred music to make use of the 11 speaker JBL system the Highlander comes literally bursting with tech.

Despite looking like the size of a small shed the Highlander accommodates a full load with ease and yet remains so very easy to drive and manoeuvre in both rural and urban areas and the clever folk at Toyota have increased airflow and thus reduced drag.

Self-closing air-cooling vents, flat underside and aero-ventilating alloy wheels provide brake cooling and added aerodynamic performance are just some of the ways efficiencies have been made.

South West Farmer:

Toyota 'Safety Sense' active safety and driver assistance technologies are utilised in abundance to help mitigate collisions no matter what your driving style and location.

Pedestrian detection is a must these days and the emergency steering assist really gets your attention and gives you a gentle tug of the wheel should you stray without indicating.

The safety continues with blind spot and cross traffic alerts, hill start assist and active traction control which are very much a necessity on both local and long distance runs and yet despite all this added automation the Highlander is still very much a driver's car.

It's a family car with everything you could possibly need and it’s a head turning talking point whether its on your drive, down the farm track or on the school run, your kid's mates want to be seen in it and your neighbours like to quiz you on the Hybrid range and is it easy to park?

For day to day running it’s a real pleasure, for a trip to the market or the garden centre it’s a safe place, an indoor picnic zone and a load lugger for all the show cheese, craft ales and walking sticks you simply have to buy at a county show.

If you are after a Hybrid without compromise, if you want a car that you can see out of all the windows and that isn’t shaped like an axes head then the Highlander is the perfect choice.

Coming in with an on the road price of just over £50,000 its definitely not a budget buy, but it's most certainly worth its money and it will hold its residual value like a Doe Triple D. (Well perhaps not, but it will certainly earn its keep!)


  • Appearance
  • Quietness/comfort
  • Level of safety and driver tech
  • Nifty locking wheel nut holder and rear window blinds


  • Looks large at first
  • Price (although considering what it can do, it's value for money)
  • Kids like to play with the rear window blinds!