By on March 15, 2016

2017_Toyota_Highlander_01_5ADA2CBD731B8F976EF520022400AA3DCB1E1A70

Toyota unveiled a refreshed 2017 Highlander in advance of next week’s New York International Auto Show. The only external clues appear to be a wider, deeper grille, hiding a host of mechanical and interior upgrades. A new, direct-injected 3.5 liter V6 is paired to an equally-new eight-speed automatic.

The new V6 also features a fuel-saving start-stop system on all but the “only on the lot to advertise a low lease payment” LE model.

The Highlander will also be offered in a sporty SE model, with dark trim replacing much of the brightwork, black leather seating, a tuned suspension, and 19-inch wheels to differentiate the sport model from the Highlanders that spend the weekends at the off-road park.

Connected passengers will be thrilled that four more USB charging ports have been added to the luxurious interior, for a total of five.

[Image: Toyota]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

70 Comments on “2017 Toyota Highlander: Start-Stop For (Almost) All...”


  • avatar
    derekson

    Just when you thought Toyota couldn’t make it even uglier…

    • 0 avatar
      Von

      There’s a video on youtube that shows a lioness with its jaw kicked out by a zebra or something, and the lower jaw and teeth are just basically hanging on by the skin. This car instantly reminded me of that lion.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    F**k start/stop and burn it to crispy embers of the historical mistake it is NOW (refuse to buy vehicles with this wear&tear abomination that may net an additional 1/2 mpg under ideal conditions).

    And do the same with engines such as the piston-eating-grinding-and-purging, paint-shaker, turbocharged Government Motors 2.0 liter that is now laughably being put into the engine bay of “luxury” Cadillacs (including the “Mercedes fighting” Cadillac, The Arena Rambling Millennial Chick Voiceover Advertised Cadillac CT6 “uber luxury sedan).

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Add the following to the Burn, Smash & Bury list (I’m on an angry bender):

      1) DCT transmissions such as Ford’s horrific PowerSh!t one.

      2) CVT Rubber Band transmissions that give Alex “Every Vehicle Scores At Least A B+” Dykes a raging boner.

      3) Run flat and super low profile tires on anything other than truly track oriented non-commuting vehicles.

      4) Ridiculously large wheels (fashion statements) that ruin ride comfort and necessitate a fortune to replace tires.

      • 0 avatar
        pdl2dmtl

        DW is on a roll – I laughed so hard…

        You’re right though with the only comment that I need to look into the wear & tear of the start/stop technology to understand what you meant by that.

      • 0 avatar
        EAF

        I’m with you DW on all accounts & would like to add a couple:

        Cylinder deactivation such as GM’s AFM & Honda’s VCM.
        Direct Injection, in its entirety, I hate all of it.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Why would anyone hate direct injection? The only thing I can even remotely think of is maybe the carbon issues on some engines. And that’s not even an issue on many DI engines anymore, so why not embrace the superior technology over the old port injection systems. Maybe we should go back to carbs and points.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            there are grumblings that GDI engines are notably worse on particulate emissions than port injected engines, and may soon need particulate filters in the exhaust like diesel.

          • 0 avatar
            EAF

            Without targeting any specific manufacturer, HPFP’s and injectors have not been very durable. Last year alone I’ve replaced more DI injectors than I have replaced MPI injectors throughout the past 10 years. I guess the pressures and heat they’re exposed to shorten their life spans.

            Carbon build-up on intake valves is the norm, I’ve only serviced “earlier” DI engines so I can’t speak on the more recent models still being serviced by dealers.

            LSPI – you never heard of this phenomenon until DI was widely adopted.

            Noise! Gasoline engines that sound like diesels!

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            GDI engines do sound horrible, particularly at idle (I know of no exceptions).

            Every time I walk past an idling or slowly accelerating 4 banger GDI, especially, it sounds nearly as bad as a diesel.

            And for what benefit? A maybe extra 1/4 mpg gain and fouled, carbon-laden engine valves?

            Even Toyota implicitly acknowledged/signaled that GDI is not ready for prime time by wisely going with a hybrid system that incorporates port fuel injection, also.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            If DW had his way, all progress would be illegal. I personally would argue that we do not need the government to determine which technologies are allowed on new cars, and which are not, especially in matters of personal taste, rather than safety and protection.

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          I respectfully disagree. Most of the cylinder deact systems I have experienced were seamless in operation and did not cause any more wear and tear to engine components.

          Direct injection can be problematic in diesels where the fuel is dirtier by nature.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            diesels have been direct injected for a century now. I think they’ve figured it out.

          • 0 avatar
            EAF

            Have you experienced VCM or AFM specifically? I’m not referring to how seamless their operation is or even if their fuel savings justify their implementation, I always look at this “new” tech on how it affects reliability.

            Plenty of evidence on the forums suggest that bypassing these two systems add life to your engine and you keep some wealth in the process.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Nothing is wrong with the CVT in vehicles where instant powertrain response isn’t needed (i.e. everything but sports cars and sporty cars). When driving, say, a Maxima or Murano in laid-back fashion, with plenty of low-end torque, I rather like it. And in four-cylinder cars it can help provide truly excellent fuel economy.

        I don’t know why people have this fetish for engine speed moving up and down when constant load is requested. Constant engine speed under constant load is a feature, not a bug.

      • 0 avatar
        Bimmer

        5) Greenhouse that requires a periscope to have any visibility.

        I disagree on Stop/Start systems. I’m satisfied how said system operates in my MkZephyr Hybrid.

        Not a fan of CVT, but okay with e-CVT.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Agreed. Start/stop systems stink across the board. At least give the owner the ability to disable the system.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      If anyone can perfect start stop. Toyota can accomplish that task. Besides some personal subjective issues. The Highlander is extremely high rated. Used models with 90k miles still go $25k or more. Nissan could only pray to have this reliable of a vehicle. The Pathfinder is a joke, resale value is probably worse than a Cadillac. Just about everyone I talk to that owns the latest model of a Pathfinder will tell you to not buy a Pathfinder. You will not hear those words from a Highlander owner.

  • avatar
    McKeith

    Calling this thing ugly is way too kind.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    I couldn’t have said it better. Start/stop is the most hated feature on some F150’s. Sadly, it’s growing, coming to some 2017 Fusions landing on dealer lots as I type this.

    Remember when the press had to have paddle shifters? Now we get start/stop, only no one wants it.

    This was a reply to DeadWeight, but TTAC made it a standalone comment.

  • avatar
    make_light

    Ugh it’s somehow even uglier. Since it debuted, this gen Highlander has been a comically self-conscious attempt to look “butch.” Remember the original Highlander? It was clean looking, sturdy, handsome, and just the right size. Now it’s morphed into this bloated thing.

    I honestly can’t see how someone would purchase this over a Sorento. Or Durango. Or Explorer. Or Pathfinder.

  • avatar
    aycaramba

    First thought when I saw the photo was, “Hmmm…that’s a pretty big Hyundai.”

  • avatar
    Charliej

    To all of you bitching about how this vehicle looks. Toyota does not care what you think. The vehicle appeals to the people who are actually interested in a CUV. Toyota will sell all that they make and they strictly don’t care what the “enthusiasts” think about it. Deadweight is going on another rant about modern vehicles. If you don’t like the vehicles made today, there are many used cars that would suit you perfectly. The Model T comes to mind. No up to date features there, no siree Bob. For all of you. The manufacturers do not care what the enthusiasts think. Most enthusiasts buy used. That is no way to influence the manufacturers. Until you start buying new and there become a lot more of you, they just don’t care what you like or don’t like.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “Deadweight is going on another rant about modern vehicles. If you don’t like the vehicles made today, there are many used cars that would suit you perfectly.”

      I’m not ranting against “modern vehicles,” but rather, very specific, horrific new technologies that I went to great pains to identify (by listicle), that are genuine steps back in terms of driving experience and/or reliability.

      To further my point, I LOVE:

      1) Electronic fuel injection
      2) Electronic stability control
      3) Disc brakes
      4) Crumple zones & computer aided crash protection enhancements
      5) Modern audio systems (even factory ones in some vehicles give premium aftermarket ones a run for their money)
      6) Remote entry & remote start
      7) and many other “modern” technologies

    • 0 avatar
      aycaramba

      A little touchy there, Charlie. As the owner of a 2013 Highlander, Toyota should care what I think. And I think that it’s not pretty. Not offensive, just not something I like.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      DW is definitely correct about the tires and wheels thing. It has gone too far. Yes some growth in wheel size was necessitated by larger rotors needed to improve braking. However nowadays unless you order the fleet grade many average everyday cars have way lower profile tires and larger wheels than is required for a given car’s braking system. The average driver will never reap the benefits of those low profile tires and only have to pay more than needed when tire replacement comes around or they damage a wheel.

      I think that the Camcordion, Corivicous and similar cars and CUVs have no need for anything lower than a 60 series tire.

      A good CVT is a good thing having put many miles on a vehicle with an eCVT so it has quicker response than most and they have been proven very reliable and durable.

      A Bad CVT on the other hand is bad and there is no excuse for them.

  • avatar

    Does anyone know how long the starters last in these cars with start/stop? Man, sure seems like you’d be replacing them every 20K. I sure hope it’s some heavy duty stuff.

    My biggest beef with start/stop is the increasingly noticeable delay between pressing the throttle and the car actually moving forward. That’s annoying.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “Does anyone know how long the starters last in these cars with start/stop?”

      My estimate (back of the envelope) is once every 10,000 to 15,000 miles once the initial warranty expires.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Per Wikipedia: “In a start stop system the short stop times keep the engine and oil warm, retaining lubrication.[29] Some implementations do not use a starter motor, eliminating concerns of starter motor wear. Mazda i-stop used in their Mazda3/Axela line (in Europe and JDM) uses combustion to restart their engine by sensing the position of the piston in the cylinder. They claim quieter and quicker engine restart within 0.35 seconds”

      (It also says that e.g. BMW has a different starter that is built for more cycles.)

      In other words, “use heftier starters or other technologies”.

      The Mazda idea of “keep one cylinder ready to fire and start with combustion” seems sound.

    • 0 avatar
      PennSt8

      I hope that Toyota is smart enough to employ an on/off button, specifically one that remembers your settings every time you start your car.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Starters on vehicles equipped with that technology are indeed heavy duty units that are intended to provide MANY more start cycles than a regular starter.

      • 0 avatar
        Richard Chen

        The Highlander Hybrid has been around for over a decade, figure they’ve had enough time to straighten things out with the secondary starter motor by now.

  • avatar
    gasser

    This start/stop technology is idiocy. Here in L.A. one frequently makes a left turn across 3 lanes of oncoming traffic. Even with a restart time of 0.35 seconds (if this is correct and if the temperature is warm and if there is no wear in the start/stop system) adds a significant amount of time to the duration of one’s left turn. I predict a marked uptick in the number of crashes of curb lane vehicles into the passenger side quarter panels of these new start/stop fleets.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      When you see your opportunity coming, creep just a bit and the engine will restart.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      I haven’t driven an “A-S-S” vehicle yet that doesn’t start up when you turn the wheel or ease off the brake pedal a bit. This way, you can have a running engine before you make your sprint across 3 lanes of traffic. As a side note, most start/stop equipped vehicles I’ve driven here in Phx can’t cool the cabin down enough to cut the engine at a stop light, because…115 degree heat.

    • 0 avatar
      cbrworm

      My experience has been limited to a few BMW’s with stop start, but it seems they only turn the engine off for about 10 seconds at a time. I don’t know if it is the florida heat requiring the A/C to run. It seems strange to stop at a stop light and have the engine stop, only to restart a few seconds later while your foot is still on the brake.

      I would rather not have this technology in any of my cars.

      that being said, I drove a hybrid vehicle a few years ago (maybe a full size GM hybrid truck at a utility company?) that did not use a standard starter. The engine literally went from zero to accelerating with no noticeable hesitation. That would be ok.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    whose 8-speed gearbox is it?

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      Their 8-speed trans for longitudinal applications is Toyota-designed, Aisin-built. I don’t know if this one is homegrown, but pretty sure it is Aisin-built. I suspect it’s a variant of the same model in BMW’s X1 and Mini’s Clubman.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Toyota owns 30% of Aisin so literally all their transmissions come from what is essentially their transmission subsidiary. That’s why you never see Toyota just going and buying the same ZF parts that everyone else will use even when Lexus really could have used an 8-speed that could handle high power AWD applications.

  • avatar
    AK

    I test drove a 2016 F150 2.7 eco boost 2 weeks ago. All of the 2.7 F150 have start stop.

    We fired up the truck, let it idle for 7 or 8 minutes while we poked around the interior and then went for an extensive drive. About 10 highway miles, running it up to 90mph and then all around a busy shopping mall lot to get a feel for how it drove in tighter confines. All in all, the truck was on for over half an hour, uninterrupted.

    Never once got start-stop to engage. The info screen said it was because engine temps were not high enough to allow start stop and the salesman said the truck will also refuse to use start stop if the battery doesn’t have a high enough charge at the moment. We kept driving, literally trying to get the damn thing to stop on its own once at a stop, but it never did.

    Frustrating really. I wanted to see how awful the system was. I guess in colder temperatures and in shorter trips, it may be a non factor.

    I still don’t like it though,

  • avatar
    Prado

    The update to the front looks great. The current Highlander has one of the ugliest bumper/grill designs of any current car or SUV. I cant stand the look of that stupid chrome strip that runs from headlight to headlight.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Starter info I have heard about but not checked out. A few years back Chevy trucks used the altenator which was built into the flywheel to start the engine. Some buicks used a bigger than normal belt driven altenator to start the engine.I would think the life would be short if a normal flywheel ring gear used. If the payback is there then a quick long life system will be developed.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    Ranks behind the Prado in Toyota midsize sales here

  • avatar
    motormouth

    You guys think that stop-start is for your benefit? Think again, that 0.25mpg benefit is not for you, it’s added up across the OEM fleet to win compliance with mandated mileage targets.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Actually, the opposite is true.

      Mileage gains from stop/start are EXcluded from EPA testing. That’s the reason adoption of the technology has been mush faster in Europe than the US.

      • 0 avatar
        motormouth

        I live in the UK and stop-start systems are factored into fuel economy testing, where the car can be stationary for about 10% of the testing procedure. I expected the same to be in effect in the US, but of course, it’s not.

        The broader question is why not? Surely it would benefit US carmakers to factor in any benefit of a stop-start system.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      In cities with heavy traffic congestion it can actually save a very large amount of fuel, so for people who live in relatively high traffic places and still drive, it’s very useful. Sitting in LA or NYC traffic this would save you a crapload of gas.

  • avatar
    turf3

    The thing I don’t understand is how stop-start will work on an old car with degraded ignition and fuel systems. A brand new car typically starts in just a couple turns of the motor. But how about 100,000 miles of spark plug fouling, degraded/wet plug wires, trace condensation built up in the distributor cap, crud in the fuel injectors, and the remnants of that tank of bad gas last month still hanging around? If you just start the car at in your driveway, or in the parking lot at the store, a certain amount of RRrrrRRRrrrRRRrrRRrrr-putt-putt-cough-cough-vrOOOOOOM is really not a problem. But waiting to turn left across oncoming traffic? Not a good thing.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      turf3, new cars don’t have distributor caps. Many don’t even have traditional plug wires (coil-on-plug systems). I don’t think anybody is seriously suggesting that these start-stop systems could be retrofitted to a 95 Lumina.

      • 0 avatar
        turf3

        Obviously I am not implying that start-stop is going to be retrofitted to existing vehicles. Duh.

        Today’s new vehicle that starts in one engine rotation will someday be ten years old with 150,000 miles on it and poor maintenance. Are you seriously going to tell me that: 1) all vehicles with stop-start systems are going to use coils on plugs; 2) That somehow no vehicles with stop-start systems will ever get a tank of bad gas; 3) that all vehicles with stop-start systems will be immaculately maintained; 4) that there are no other factors in a vehicle with stop-start that could cause it to be hard starting; and that 5) every vehicle with stop-start will, at 150,000 miles of inadequate maintenance, still start in the first couple of engine rotations?

        That is a fantasy.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          I don’t think all vehicles will be maintained properly, but I would imagine that any problem that throws a Check Engine light would disable start-stop, just like it disables a lot of other stuff.

          As others have pointed-out Start-Stop is also disabled if battery charge is low, or if the engine hasn’t reached operating temperature.

          Not sure about bad gas, but I can see a bad tank increasing the misfire count and disabling Start-Stop.

          I am purposefully ignoring the fact that some cars are junk at 150K no matter what you do. That’s a side issue, because Start-Stop wouldn’t be the cause of your problem, just a symptom.

          • 0 avatar
            turf3

            So basically you don’t have an answer on how it will work when someone’s clapped out Highlander that’s hard to start shuts the engine off and then when he tries to make the left turn across oncoming traffic it sits there and goes RRRrrrRRRrrrRRRrrr – SMASH!!

            Shades of the ’70s and throttle tip-in stalls due to badly implemented emission controls and carbs with way too much throat area specified to try to get the rated HP over 75. It’s going to be a lot of fun when all this overhyped crap starts to fail and the economy has tanked again and people need to try to keep old beaters going instead of just scrapping ’em.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    This new Highlander will break its sales record. Not to many vehicles beat its reliability ratings and resale value. Compare this to a Nissan Pathfinder which somehow is a competitor. You lose about $10k driving off the lot in a Pathfinder and the Highlander has one of the highest resale values out of any vehicle.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Ugly? Yes. Maybe a different color? But I’ll probably buy an SE if it can get around a corner without flopping over on its side like a fish out of water.

    I need a CUV, and live in the sticks. I can buy a more interesting one in Portland, but have really tired of driving into/through Gotham for service. I can buy a Highlander 15 miles away from home.

    Getting old and boring, I guess.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Alex L. Dykes, United States
  • Kamil Kaluski, United States
  • Seth Parks, United States
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States

Get No-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners Automotive News in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked