The 2011 Toyota Highlander has been restyled slightly in order to make it stand out more from is hybrid sibling. This year, there are new designs for the hood, lights and fenders, and chrome accents on the rocker panels, while the base and SE trims come with 17-inch alloy wheels.
On the SE trim fog lights and a glass hatch that opens independently of the liftgate as well as back roof rails are also added, while the Limited edition paints those roof rails silvers and offers 19-inch wheels.
The 188.4-inch long 2011 Toyota Highlander is one of the smaller crossovers on the market, but inside there's still room for three rows of seats, the rearmost of which can fold into the floor in a 50/50 split. The second row bench can be converted into a pair of captain's chairs by removing the center seat (and stowing it below the center console of the front seats), which is then replaced by either a center aisle or a center console which is also removable. Both of those seats can recline, and are forward and backward adjustable, and there's a walk-in feature for easier third-row entrance from the passenger side. It should be noted, however, that with all three rows of seats in use only 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space is available, and that's decidedly skimpy for this type of vehicle.
Interior features in the 2011 Highlander include separate air condition controls for the rear passengers, as well as cruise control and a CD stereo with an auxiliary jack for your MP3 player. Moving up to the SE trim level gets you heated front seats, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with built-in audio controls, a moonroof and a backup camera, as well as USB/ipod integration for the stereo system. In the Limited edition, there's also keyless access, faux wood trim, a power passenger seat, and and tri-zone climate control. Don't fret, though, if you can't afford the higher cost of a fully loaded vehicle because many of the frou-frou inclusions are available as options on lower trims, and the standalone options include an upgrade JBL stereo system and a navigation system.
All that style and seating still has to move, and the 2011 Highlander comes standard with a 2.7-liter, 187 horsepower four-cylinder engine that provides 186 pounds-feet of torque and is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. Base and SE Highlanders can upgrade to a 3.5-liter, 270 horsepower V-6 - the standard engine for the Limited edition - teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission. The four-cylinder Highlanders are only available with front-wheel drive, but the V-6 engine gives you a choice of either front- or all-wheel drive.
The 2011 Toyota Highlander comes with seven standard airbags, including rollover-sensing curtain airbags for all three rows of seats. Also standard are active head restraints, an electronic stability system and all-disc antilock brakes, which sounds pretty good, though some reviewers feel that the braking system is a bit mushy.
Depending on the model and powertrain you chose, fuel efficiency for the 2011 Toyota Highlander is 17-20mpg in town and 22-25mpg on the highway. The starting MSRP for the base model is $28,090.