BY H. THROTTLE
Toyota’s mantra is “Let’s Go Places” and the 2022 Highlander platinum all-wheel drive made a test drive into Nebraska this week fighting fierce winds along U.S. 80.
The V6/ 295 hp. engine and eight-speed versatile transmission made for plenty of power, speed and comfort in the seven-passenger Highlander with the windy weather.
There are three driving modes, sport, eco, and normal, and for the drive the eco produced an amazing 30 mpg highway mileage. The radar cruise control worked perfect following the many trucks that travel on U.S. 80 and the radar feature automatically flowed the Highlander with the cars and trucks.
The leather trimmed captain seats were soft and comfortable with great leg room in the spacious cabin. The JBL ll/ sound system with subwoofer and amplifier provided clear and continuous Sirius XM music and news channels. The UBS outlets and charging ports kept the cell phone on full power for the duration of the trip.
The larger size Highlander gives the driver and passenger the feeling of height and safety along the busy highway, and the vehicle boasts a perfect overall 5-star safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Road sign alerts were continually posted on the windshield to obey changing speed limits.
The dark “Blueprint” metallic finish paint shimmers in the sunlight on the attractive body style of one of Toyota major all-wheel drive popular SUVs. The platinum model is loaded with navigation and safety features that add to the drive with lane departure warnings and the Toyota 2.5 Safety Sense pre-collision system. Cameras keep a keen warning eye out for pedestrians, passing vehicles, and rear crossing traffic.
Missing were paddle shifters for the eight-speed transmission, but the gear changes could be made with the normal transmission shifter. There was never a need to change from the very versatile eco drive mode, but on occasion the sport mode did provide additional power for higher speeds and passing. But, overall the V6-engine provided more than adequate speed and acceleration along with fuel economy.
The Highlander is built to work and has a 5000 lb. towing capacity along with multi-control low-speed controls for off road drives. The sunroof adds to the package for summer drives in Colorado for outstanding mountain views and sunlight.
Rear seats fold down for additional luggage or sport equipment storage with a power tailgate for easy access. Heated outside mirrors and rain sensitive windshield wipers are ready for any bad weather conditions.
The platinum model is loaded with every option and has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $49,510 complete with a tank of gas. Final assembly is in Princeton, Indiana, U.S.A.
A very solid, powerful, larger vehicle built for family fun with all the bells and whistles in safety, technology, and comfort. Fuel economy is excellent considering the size and horsepower of the Highlander, important with rising gasoline prices.
The vehicle is well named for Colorado.