As a family of five with a ton of luggage we love testing family vehicles. This past Thanksgiving we all packed into the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited, loaned to us to experience and review it.
In all honesty it was impossible to take pictures of the actual trip because somehow we always end up bickering about who sits where, what music will be playing and whether we’ll be stopping to eat or not.
Our most recent trip was from our hometown, Sarasota, to Miami where we spent Thanksgiving with family. The photos were taken after we got back. My husband and I had a really nice time driving the car on our own and my youngest loved getting picked up from school in it.
The adults (my husband and I) really enjoyed the experience. Being a hybrid, it was fuel efficient and the driving was super smooth. A few times we had to double check to see whether the engine was actually running when starting the car. It’s so smooth and quiet that it was hard to tell whether the ignition is on or not.
My husband loved the leather seats with air-conditioning and heat (which, living in Florida we only used the air-conditioning feature) and of course the JBL speakers and satellite radio. The dashboard is open and spacious and everyone in the family commented how cool it was that you could keep items there for easy access when traveling.
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I super love any car that beeps when there is a vehicle in my blind spot, and I also appreciate alerts that tell me if I didn’t use the blinker. All these little things help when you have potential distractions, like three teens in the back seats, bickering about every little thing.
There are three rows of seats. The front and second row are bucket seat. The third row can be folded down to allow for lots of trunk space. This would make a trip with three or four people super wonderful and comfortable. The sunroof covers the first and second row, which makes it a fun car in a sunny climate like Florida.
Our teens weren’t so excited that one of them had to sit in the third row, which felt a bit cramped, even when the second row seats were pulled forward to make room for her. Although we honestly carried less luggage than we usually do (especially me,—I took a carry-on sized bag instead of my usual full-sized luggage), it was a little hard to fit everything in. At the last minute we decided to leave behind a box of beverages we were supposed to take for the family’s Thanksgiving dinner because it would have been very crowded otherwise.
As a mom, I’d say that five people and a little luggage would be perfect to fit comfortably in the car. It does seat seven, but that would be for short trips and minimal to no luggage. So all in all, I’d say it’s a great car for a family of four with room for extra guests when needed.