The Autowerkz.TV crew just finished a mega road trip that encompassed Hot August Nights, Concorso Italiano, racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a multitude of interviews. Being on the road with a camera crew, producers and on-air talent isn’t an adventure to be taken lightly.
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Toyota was kind enough to loan us a 2017 Toyota Highlander for a support vehicle while we covered the action at Car Week in Monterey, CA. We worried that the Highlander was a mistake compared to the Sienna minivan we initially wanted; however, we needn’t have worried. In many ways, the 2017 Toyota Highlander was ideal for our needs.
We used its all-wheel drive system more than once, specifically when we shot near the beach. It never struggled on the sand. The four of us were driven in total comfort as our model had the rear captain’s chairs and a very quiet interior. The leather was plush and the interior assembly quality was top notch. We felt like we were in a Lexus.
Most importantly, with max cargo space of 83.7 ft,³ (all-three rows folded) and our utilized space of 42.3 ft,³ we had enough room for several cameras, lights, tripods, sound equipment and more. We usually kept the third row folded flat, but could add a fifth passenger with some creative packing. Very utilitarian.
Regarding the V6, according to Toyota: 3.5-Liter V6 Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) 24-Valve direct-injection Atkinson-cycle-capable engine with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) intake and VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) exhaust; 295 hp @ 6660 rpm, 263 lb.-ft. @ 4700 rpm. We averaged about 20 mpg as the traffic during Car Week was thick.
This power is connected an eight-speed automatic transmission which worked great but clunked a bit in traffic.
All in all, our days spent with the 2017 Toyota Highlander were excellent. It never looked out of place, no matter how highfalutin the location. We thank Toyota and look forward to driving a new Highlander in the near future.
Here are a few bits of social media that featured our ride!