This is the first Toyota I've driven in a while that felt like the old days - when Toyotas were pretty basic modes of solid transportation without a lot of frippery and electronic doodads and so on - that just got you and your stuff where you needed to be with no fuss, no muss, and at a reasonable price. Our fairly no-frills, dark gray on light-gray Highlander (with fabric seats) is probably closest to the base $27,600, though this was a pre-production prototype so it didn't come with a Monroney sticker. Anything under $30,000 would make this a good deal, just based on reliability and resale.
But I couldn't help but wonder what this Highlander would feel like with four or five people in it, instead of just me and a fairly decent-sized empty cabin. With only me at the wheel, there was just enough power to get me to the bank on time, to handle snowy roads with aplomb, and to haul seven-month old Robert Garcia dePadua (aka "Bob") the Chesapeake to his first dog show. He won Best in Class.
Back to the Highlander. The competition in this category is fierce these days, but a reasonable price, decent fuel economy, and the golden Toyota nameplate should bode well for a four-cylinder Highlander.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief