Experienced by Adrian McQueen
During Super Bowl Toyota launched their #OneBoldChoice campaign emphasizing dads around the world with their families based on the Camry. Toyota then highlighted the phrase, “Being a dad is a choice. One that will make a wonderful human being who will make their own choices someday.” Well, for me being an “expecting dad” I needed something a bit superior than a sedan to assist with all the tasks set upon me to prepare for this bundle of joy. The Automotive Rhythms vehicle of choice for the week was the Toyota Highlander.
As we experienced bad weather by way of snowfalls again in Washington, DC the sleek AWD crossover handled quite well. The Highlander gets its brawn from a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission equipped with snow mode and hill-start assist. A standard and important feature is Eco mode, which flattens throttle response and forces earlier part-throttle upshifts so the vehicle uses less fuel. With that being said our $39,302 ($37,500 MSRP) Highlander received 18 city and 24 highway mpg on our AWD model. The 18” wheels are bigger than the previous year’s 17s and are now tucked under larger wheel flares. The new Highlander is simply an all-around improved vehicle, being that it is wider by .6 inches and longer by 2.7 inches. I felt safe inside the solid cabin as we maneuvered through treacherous snow packed roads to make our important doctor appointments to monitor the growth and health of our soon to be newborn.
The inside of the Japanese utility is spacious and comforting as well. Toyota increased the new Highlander’s occupant capacity to an amazing eight. Although, I didn’t use all that space for sitting, instead folding the seats flat to secure the baby crib and changing table that we just purchased. The automatic opening and closing rear liftgate was a great feature when approaching the CUV for loading up the cargo area. Toyota seemed to manifest more square footage by thinning out the front seatbacks and moving all seats forward a bit.
Now, as simple as it may seem, this was one of my favorite highlights of the Highlander. The new dashboard “shelf” that ran from under the radio to right under the glove box. This locale was ideal for stashing our phones, gloves, papers and anything else we needed to get out of our hands. It was just perfect. The radio and HVAC controls were pretty user-friendly and simple to engage with, although the touchscreen for the audio required a bit more pressure than other vehicles we are familiar with such as Uconnect.
In regards to the Toyota dad campaign, former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner stated, “This ‘One Bold Choice’ campaign is all about the bold choices we as parents—fathers—have to make every day for our families. These choices range from teaching our kids, to showing them what a loving relationship looks like, to displaying sacrifice, work ethic, excellence and love in all areas of our lives.” Patiently awaiting this new journey in my life I couldn’t agree more with Kurt and congratulate Toyota for highlighting what current and expecting Fit Fathers experience.