In the past several years, many automakers have introduced midsize, three-row SUVs with space and power to the segment. They seek to have themselves crowned as champion, the most elite of the family-friendly SUV. However, since the turn of the century, the Toyota Highlander has been Ontario's most powerful SUV.
Introduced in 2000, the Toyota Highlander basically launched the market for vehicles that combine the capability and versatility of a midsize SUV with the practical advantages of a seven-seat passenger car. The latest edition, the 2022 Toyota Highlander, is no different. It offers incredible capability and power that makes it a fun vehicle to drive, even on errands or a daily commute.
An Engine with Oomph
The 2022 Toyota Highlander is an efficient and powerful SUV thanks to its 3.5-litre V6 Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) gasoline engine. It is backed by next-generation technology, like Dual Variable Valve Timing-with intelligence (Dual VVT-i) and paired with an eight-speed direct shift automatic transmission. This allows power to flow through the engine to the steering wheel and through your fingertips. The best Toyota SUV in Canada, the Highlander delivers 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque.
It turns out, you can take pretty much anything along for the drive thanks to the available towing package that delivers 2,267 kg of capability. With a heavy-duty radiator, engine oil cooler, and Trailer Sway Control (TSC), the towing package lets you tow your favorite toys with ease.
Stopping and Starting to Save Your Wallet and the Planet
The gasoline engine of the 2022 Toyota Highlander features start-stop technology. Whenever you come to a full stop, like at a stop light or in a drive-thru line, the Highlander's engine automatically shuts off. This saves you on fuel costs and reduces emissions from an idling vehicle. Once you lift your foot from the brake pedal, the engine instantly restarts, and you are on your way again.
And stopping and going are easier than ever before thanks to the design of the 2022 Toyota Highlander. Stopping power is provided by power-assisted, ventilated 13.3-inch front disc brakes and solid 13.3-inch rear disc brakes. Steering is firm and responsive, thanks to the Highlander's Electric Power Steering (EPS) system and power-assisted rack-and-pinion.
Selecting Your Drive Type
There are many reasons why the Highlander is the best (and most powerful) Toyota SUV in Canada, and that includes the inclusion of Drive Mode Select (DMS). DMS is used to suit driving and usage conditions and includes three modes: Normal, Sport, and Eco.
- Normal Mode - This mode provides an optimal balance of fuel economy, quietness, and dynamic performance. It is optimal for daily travel and provides a level balance between Sport and Eco.
- Sport Mode - This mode provides an increasing acceleration response and also changes the steering feel, making it better for more agile driving conditions, such as on roads with many curves.
- Eco Mode - This mode helps the driver improve fuel economy, especially on trips that include frequent stops and acceleration, such as city driving. It does this through moderate throttle characteristics and by controlling the operation of the air conditioning system.
The 2022 Toyota Highlander is also offered in a Hybrid model, which features a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and two electric motors for a combined 143 horsepower output. This pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), as well as offering an EV Mode as part of DMS. EV mode keeps the gasoline engine from engaging, as long as the vehicle is within specific parameters, such as having a sufficient battery charge and more.
No matter where the road takes you, the 2022 Toyota Highlander is equipped to traverse it. Toyota offers the available Multi-Terrain Select, which lets you choose between four modes to maximize traction when the weather or the roads take a turn for the worse. It does so by regulating wheelspin through the automatic adjustment of the engine throttle and traction control. The four modes are:
- Mud & Sand - For use on muddy or sandy roads, usually in dirty conditions
- Rock & Dirt - For use in very bumpy scenarios, such as unpaved forest roads
- Snow - For use on slippery roads when acceleration is necessary
- Normal - For use in all other driving conditions
A Sport-Tuned XSE
The XSE trim level of the 2022 Toyota Highlander is the sportiest of all the SUV's trims. While the Highlander is Ontario's most powerful SUV, the XSE makes the best use of that power.
One way it does so is through a sport-tuned independent MacPherson strut front suspension with stabilizer bar and trailing-wishbone suspension. Its rear suspension is a multi-link suspension with stabilizer bar. Toyota designed the XSE in this way to provide drivers and Highlander occupants with a more "one with the road" feel.
A Powerful SUV in 2022
The 2022 Toyota Highlander, and its Highlander Hybrid sibling, bring performance to Ontario and the entirety of Canada. Don't let the comfort and luxury fool you--underneath it all, the Highlander is built for power.