The world’s largest automaker has decided the New York Auto Show is the perfect venue to introduce the facelifted 2017 Highlander sport utility vehicle.
The styling is evolutionary and the 2017 model year mid-cycle update packs a modesty revised radiator grille and refreshed headlights. There’s also a new SE range-topping trim level that adds 19-inch wheels, sports suspension, and a dark appearance for the grille and lamps. More noteworthy are the mechanical upgrades, with the most important change being the addition of a newly-developed eight-speed automatic transmission that will be used in lieu of the older six-speed gearbox. The new eight-speeder will be mated to a 3.5-liter V6 petrol naturally aspirated engine the carmaker also calls new. There are no details yet about performance, power and fuel consumption specifications.
The 2017 Highlander will continue to be offered with an entry-level 2.7-liter inline-four engine that is linked to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Also on offer is the Highlander Hybrid that now adds two new trim levels to the existing two. The SUV also boasts a wide array of safety and assistance systems, including automatic braking, lane-departure warning, auto high-beam, or adaptive cruise control, all as standard features. The model will remain in production at the company’s Indiana manufacturing facility and first deliveries have been programmed for the fall of 2016.