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2017 Toyota Highlander

Eric Peters on

Either way, this is an exceptionally quiet vehicle -- so quiet you notice the absence of sound. Toyota excels at this. There is also a general plushness to the seats and the ride. It's easy to imagine yourself in a Toyota Camry or Avalon.

At the Curb

It's a big jump from a two-row/five-passenger crossover SUV to one with three rows and room for as many as eight.

To make all the space inside, the usual practice is to make it bigger on the outside. The just-redesigned 2018 Chevy Traverse is a good example of this. It is 204.3 inches end to end now, which makes it longer than a Chevy Tahoe, which is a full-size SUV.

You get three rows, but you also have less room in your garage and to maneuver out there in the world.

The Highlander manages to be big in interior space but not too big on the outside. Overall length is 192.5 inches, making it a foot less long than the new Chevy Traverse. A Mazda CX-9 is 199.4 inches long, and a Ford Explorer is 198.3 inches long.

The Rest

Inside the Highlander, you'll find some brilliant design flourishes, such as the sliding sunroof-style cover for the center console, which lets you access the contents without having to tilt anything up (and in your way). The front section of the same center console folds open to present you with a proper Big Gulp-sized cupholder.

There is also a storage shelf spanning almost the entire length of the dash.

The Bottom Line

If you need the room but not the size or the turbo, the Highlander is one you'll want to check out.

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Eric's new book, "Don't Get Taken for a Ride!" will be available soon. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

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