By: Melanie Droz Shawcroft
Highlander Fun in the Rain
Phoenicians look forward to monsoon weather for a break from the dry heat. When the first storm hit this summer, I was looking forward to driving the 2018 Toyota Highlander SE. It was the perfect SUV to fight against the strong winds and downpour. With a 5-star overall score from the Government 5-Star Safety Ratings, it is safe to say I felt comfortable on the road with my family even with the number of Phoenicians who cannot drive in the rain. In addition, the Highlander has 8 airbags, the Star Safety System and the Toyota Safety Sense which includes Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Auto High Beams which allowed us to easily navigate through the rain at night.
One day during a monsoon, we had no choice but to pull over in the Highlander and let the storm pass us by. My boys did not mind at all. They settled in their captain chairs where they had the rear seat BluRay DVD entertainment system with 9-inch display and two wireless headphones. We could have parked all day and they would not have even noticed it was storming. With heated front seats and 12-way power driver seat with lumbar and the Entune premium with touch-screen, Bluetooth and App suite, I was quite comfortable in my seat as well. The 2018 Toyota Highlander can fit 7 and has a third row. In total, there are 5 USB ports, so I was very tempted to invite people in for the party. However, no sane person was out on the streets that day.
When we were finally able to hit the road, we hit it hard. I was running late for so many things, so we put the Highlander 3.5L DOHC V6 engine with dual VVT-i to the test. The direct shift – 8AT (8 speed automatic) definitely helped the Highlander pass the test. We managed to finish our errands on time with an average of 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. We had to get out a few times and the roads and sidewalks were very wet, so I was glad the Highlander came with carpet floor mats and a cargo mat. We also had a backup camera with 8” display in order to avoid splashing anyone. The power liftgate came in handy and once the sun came out but the temps stayed low, we enjoyed the power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade.
Monsoon season is my favorite, and I even enjoyed it more this year since I had the 2018 Toyota Highlander SE V6 FWD. There is no price for safety, but the Highlander we test drove sells for $43,188. Based on the way other people drive in Phoenix while it’s raining, this price tag is well worth the protection.
As Tested : $43,188.00
Average cost to remove a tree after a storm $500-$1,000