2018 Toyota Highlander SE FWD V6

1220 Toyota Highlander SE Front Side1

2018 Toyota Highlander SE FWD V6

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia


This is the 2018 Toyota Highlander SE FWD V6. In these recent week’s I’ve been covering some Toyota product after a long dry spell with Toyota. There simply are so many cars that have come on the scene we needed to consider contenders of Toyota.

My first impression is that it is what I expected. A good solid car that has enjoyed top billing in today’s world of cars. And rightfully so. I’ve owned a few Toyota’s over the years and personally toured Japanese manufacturing companies. I’ve been impressed with the work ethic there and always been happy with the work they do.

That being said, there are some hungry competitors out there still in the hunt for top spot. When you’re at the top you are very visible and everyone is taking pot shots at you. Toyota has remained vigilant and is a tough competitor. I have been spending a lot of time with South Korean Cars, Hyundai and Kia, and find them to also be tough and determined. I’ve also toured Hyundai production lines and they too are impressive in facilities and people. Don’t you just love Capitalistic competition, where the free market dictates winners and losers. Toyota is no loser, but neither is Hyundai/Kia (sister companies as you likely know). But then, Fiat is at the top today and have taken the lead as largest car company in the world.

General Information:

Assembly: USA; Classification is Small SUV; Vehicles from Toyota: 4Runner, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, C-HR, Corolla, Corolla iM, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, Prius V, RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma Access Cab, Tacoma Double Cab, Tundra CrewMax, Tundra Double Cab, Tundra Regular Cab, Yaris and Yaris iA.

Handling & Performance:

Bullet proof. Not much more need be said, but I’ll say it anyway. With 3.6 liters, you get great performance and handling over the mountain Angeles Crest curvy road it was comfortable and in control. Naturally high center of gravity SUV’s are not race cars and surely you can’t push too hard, but I tend to do just that to find limits. But all in all, it holds its own and keeps up with the flow of traffic just fine.


We all have found Toyota to be recognisable on the highway – mostly because there are so many of them. But the lines are beginning to blur with the growing number of competitors like Hyundai/Kia who are quickly filling in the gaps.

Fit and Finish:

Toyota has been among the best in design and assembly. This Highlander is no exception.


In line with the competition.

Conveniences and comfort:

Good. But wann-bes are pushing the high-tech stuff to gain an edge. You’ll want to watch closely and push contenders for the best features for the money.

Consumer Recommendations:

This field of brands are all worthy adversaries. At the end of the day you’re going to have to do a lot of test drives in class to find the best fit for your needs.

If you read my column regularly you know I am a fan of Hyundai/Kia, at this time – but we all know it is YOU who will vote with YOUR dollars and that is what counts. Just take the time and see all of them, because you’ll likely be driving your next car for a good long time. That wasn’t always true when many will tell us cars, in years past not always made for long lasting service.

Recognised Competition:

Toyota Highlander SE $41,000, CadillacXT5 $41,000, Buick Enclave $41,000, Ford Flex $41,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $40,000, Mazda CX-9 $41,000, Dodge Durango $39,000, Hyundai Santa Fe $40,000.

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country/Origin Assembled
Toyota Highlander 41,000 23 7 4 Japan USA
Cadillac XT5 41,000 22 5 4 USA USA
Buick Enclave 41,000 21 7 4 USA USA
Ford Flex 41,000 18 7 4 USA CANADA
Jeep Grand Cherokee 40,000 21 5 4 USA USA
Mazda CX 9 41,000 24 7 4 Japan Japan
Dodge Durango 39,000 21 7 4 USA USA
Hyundai Santa Fe 40,000 20 7 4 Korea Korea

Good News:

Great array of features included as priced, good power, comfortable seating for up to 7 people.

Bad News:


Standard Equipment:

3.5 literV6 engine, direct shift 8-speed auto trans, power assist 4-wheel disc brakes, 19” alloy wheels, stop / start engine system, hill-start assist control, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert and steering assist, auto high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, 8- front, side and side curtain airbags, blind spot monitor with cross traffic alert, smart key, alarm and engine immobilizer, LATCH anchor system for children, power liftgate with flip-up window, power tilt / slide moonroof with sunshade, 7-seating leather heated front seats, 12-way driver power seat and 4-way passenger seat, 2nd row captain seats and sunshades, 3rd row 60/40 split fold flat seats, backup camera with 8” display, touch screen Nav, and audio and CD/MP3/ USB/Auxiliary, HD and SXM, Bluetooth phone/Music and App suite, 4.2” color nav linked multi-info display, 5 USB ports.

Gas Stats:

21 City and 27 Highway MPG

$2.99 / Gal avg. December 31, 2017

for more information.


MSRP $40,090.

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