So we’ve decided that when we visit Mont-Tremblant, we’re road tripping. No more flying for us — it just doesn’t make sense when we live so far east of both “local” airports.
To date, it’s the longest road trip we’ve taken with our kids. I know, I know… five to six hours isn’t a long road trip. But it’s baby steps for us. We’ll venture farther next year.
This year, though, we were invited to do our summer sojourn to Tremblant in a 2016 Toyota Highlander. Being a faithful GM driver and owner my whole life, I admit that it made me a little twitchy at first. I felt like I was having an affair. Being disloyal. But after I thought about it, it makes more sense for a site like Mommy Gearest to offer broad reviews featuring many competing brands. Because, after all, isn’t that kind of the point?
So we accepted this kind offer and set off on our journey to the mountains in a sleek, black Toyota Highlander Limited AWD.
The first thing I noticed when we started packing the trunk, putting in car seats and doing all the stuff you normally do for a road trip in a new vehicle is how similar it was in size to my GMC Acadia. Lots of space to pack our stuff that leaves more than enough room for all four of us to be very comfortable.
I like that you can configure the Highlander to be a seven- or eight-seater. This is going to be key for some families. For us, the seven-seater is ideal because it gives both of our kids awesome captain’s chairs and, when both are outfitted in boosters/car seats, it still allows enough room for passengers No. 6 and 7 to get to the rear seat.
Same goes for the ability to fold down only part of the rear seat, giving you seating for six but much more trunk space if you need it.
The Toyota Highlander model we drove had a stunning panoramic moonroof, providing lots of natural light.
This vehicle also drove the way you’d expect a CUV verging on an SUV to drive…smooth and easy but with enough power to give you some oomph when you need it. Consistent and no surprises here.
It’s a little thing, but there’s a curved rearview mirror above the main mirror so you can see everything that’s happening in the back seats.
Big B LOVE LOVE LOVED the amount of head and leg room for his 6’6″ frame. He doesn’t get that kind of clearance in the Acadia.
Probably my favourite feature of all is the Highlander’s dash and console area. Some smart designer really did a phenomenal job thinking this through. Everything you need and want is ideally placed, and there are things I didn’t even realize I wanted that are incorporated here — like a nook for my smartphone charging cord to keep it neat and tucked out of the way, and a light-up shelf-like area all along the passenger-side dash where other mobile phones, earplugs and “chatchkas” can sit within arm’s reach. I loved this so much and now really miss this feature in my Acadia.
Overall, the exterior and interior design is lovely. I have no complaints at all and if you’re anti-minivan but need a vehicle that functions like one, the Highlander is an excellent option.
The Toyota Highlander didn’t do as well on gas consumption as I was expecting. I thought it would be as efficient as my Acadia, but I found that we filled up more often than we would have in our own vehicle.
Speaking of gassing up, releasing the gas cap is not intuitive. We needed a stranger to help us. LOL!
We had a few bumps with the navigation system, but eventually sorted through it. Again, it was about intuitiveness.