Toyota restyled its Highlander model for the 2011 model year, changing the grille design. Underneath, the car is little changed, featuring the same V-6 as the previous generation. However, Toyota offers a new four-cylinder engine in lesser trim models.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
This new grille might herald a new design language for Toyota SUVs and trucks, but the company has never been big on using common styling across its lineup.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The 3.5-liter V-6 only produces 270 horsepower, but gets the Highlander moving satisfactorily. Its EPA-rated fuel economy is good, but in testing we found it didn't live up to those numbers.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
In Limited trim, the Highlander has three rows of seats to hold seven people.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The ride quality of the Highlander is good for its purpose, firm enough without being painful.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The cargo area of the Highlander is not as large as some other SUVs, but the seats fold down for extra space.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
Leather and faux wood trim cover the cabin in the Limited-trim Highlander.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The Highlander uses an electric power steering unit, which should help its fuel economy. Toyota tuned it mostly for a luxury feel, giving it plenty of power assist for turning the big wheels.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The gauges sit in deep tunnels, helping avoid glare.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The Highlander uses a five-speed automatic transmission with sport and manual modes. These modes are best used on hills to help maximize engine power.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The four-wheel-drive system has a snow mode and descent control, the latter used for crawling down slippery hills.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
Toyota includes temp and voice command controls on the right steering wheel spoke.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
Audio and telephone controls sit on the left spoke.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
Toyota uses attractive graphics on its destination entry screen.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The navigation system gets traffic data from satellite radio, and uses it to dynamically route around bad jams.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The phone system includes a contact database, making it easy to find phone numbers.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
Satellite radio is one of the audio sources in the Highlander. The interface focuses on the presets, forcing you to find new stations by turning the tuning dial.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The iPod integration worked much better than in other Toyota and Lexus models we've seen, quickly populating the screen with artist and album names.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
A premium nine-speaker JBL audio system in the Highlander offers better than average sound quality.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
The rearview camera is basic, merely showing the view from the bumper, not showing distance or trajectory lines.

Back to review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
Hot Galleries

CNET's Holiday Gift Guide

Tablets that put your TV to shame

Binge-watch your favorite episodes on these portable screens.

Hot Products