Toyota Slaps A New Face On 2017 Highlander, Gives It More Grunt Too

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Toyota's family-friendly Highlander SUV has been updated for the 2017MY with a more modern look, more power and an array of available safety features .

The mid-sized three-row SUV now gains a new eight-speed automatic gearbox that will be offered with the updated 3.5-litre V6 engine as standard in FWD and AWD models.

The company promises significant gains in horsepower and fuel efficiency from the updated 3.5-litre V6 petrol with direct fuel injection, but hasn't provided any specific figures yet. All we know so far is that all V6 models (bar the SE trim level) will now come with a stop and start engine system as standard.

Entry level models will continue using the four-pot 2.7-litre engine, paired to a six-speed automatic, with the Hybrid version to still be the only one with a CVT transmission.

A new upper and lower front grille design is the most obvious change from the previous model, with each trim level to be distinguished by different grille finishes. The rear lights have also been redesigned, with top-spec models getting a chrome trim garnish as well. Customers will be able to get a new brown leather interior on the Limited Platinum trim level.

The sportiest model of the range is the new SE model, which features 19-inch alloy wheels, a sportier suspension setup and a dark paint treatment for the front grille. The new SE grade will also get unique black leather-trimmed seats with silver stitching with matching dash and door inserts.

Toyota has also added the Safety Sense array of systems to the 2017 Highlander, including Pre-Collision System (with Forward Collision Warning and automatic emergency brake), Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams, Pedestrian Pre- Collision System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

Sales of the new 2017 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid are expected to begin in the fall of 2016.