The 2015 Highlander is a midsize crossover with seating for up to eight passengers. It is available with three engines and in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations.
Most 2015 Toyota Highlanders will come with a 3.5-liter V-6 producing 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economical is decent at 19/25 mpg for front-drive models and 18/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. A front-drive base-model variant with a 2.7-liter I-4 producing 185 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque is also available, but isn’t especially frugal with a 20/25 mpg rating.
The most efficient model in the lineup is the 2015 Highlander Hybrid with standard all-wheel drive, providing the best fuel economy at 27/28 mpg for the LE, XLE, and Limited grades, and 28/28 mpg in LE Plus variants.
Driving dynamics aren’t a 2015 Highlander strong suit due to its heavy curb weight, which makes it handle competently but doesn’t inspire confidence. The 3.5-liter V-6 moves the crossover along briskly with good acceleration and passing power. Hybrid models and the extra weight it carries from its batteries worsen its performance despite having a total system output of 280 hp from its hybrid V-6 powertrain.
Interior space is ample with seating for up to eight passengers and up to 83.2 cubic feet of cargo volume. The 2015 Highlander’s cabin emphasizes functionality and is geared towards families with its adjustable seating arrangements 60/40 split second row seats, and a large center console bin. Third row seating is cramped for adults due to inadequate head and legroom. Center stack controls are easy to use and “purposeful” with big knobs and a “straightforward layout.” Material quality inside the cabin, however, is disappointing with cheap plastics particularly in non-hybrid models.
In the range-topping Limited trim, buyers can opt for additional safety features by adding the Driver Technology package that adds radar cruise control, lane departure warning, and the Pre-Collision System, which alerts the driver of an impending collision and even apply the brakes to reduce the impact’s severity. The 2015 Toyota Highlander has a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars) and is considered a Safety Pick+ by the IIHS, receiving a Good score in four categories (Good is the highest possible score), Acceptable in the small overlap front crash test, and offering advanced frontal crash prevention (front crash prevention awards include Basic, Advanced, and Superior).