Toyota’s midsize crossover performs exactly as expected

highlander-6This hallmark of Toyota’s success as a large-volume, mass-market manufacturer of four-wheel transportation is built on a foundation of balance — a diverse array of products that do a lot of things well without being truly exceptional in any one particular area, but — and this key — showing little to no sign of weakness either. Indeed, I’ve never felt a rush of anticipation, an itch to get behind the wheel of any Toyota and motor off into the distance, at least since the MR2 sports car. Yet I have come to depend on their reliability, comfort and practicality to get me to wherever I’m heading without a moment’s concern.

Do not think of this as damning the car company with faint praise. Still, it does bring me to the Highlander, Toyota’s wholly estimable and versatile midsize crossover — and a poster child for the company’s business philosophy.

While the Highlander hasn’t changed any for 2016 (although there will be significant changes for 2017), my appreciation for it has. Maybe it’s latent maturity on my part — or the fact it’s been a few years since I last drove one — but I can’t help but admire the way it goes about its business with Lexus-like serenity.

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