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2015 Toyota Highlander TRD -The One We Want and Might Get

Toyota's 2015 Highlander TRD seems to make good sense.

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The annual SEMA show in Las Vegas is a celebration of all the aftermarket goodies available. Automakers tend to pull together outlandish concept vehicles that are primarily meant to draw attention to the brand. Every so often, though, a vehicle is shown that has modifications that might actually be workable as a model trim. This year, our pick for that possible real-life vehicle is the 2015 Toyota Highlander TRD.

Toyota Racing Development (TRD) parts find their way onto 40% of all Toyota Tacomas buyers drive home. Many more receive the go-fast and off-road components as later add-ons. So far, the Highlander has not been a focus of the TRD group. One look at the Highlander TRD makes us think it should be.

Lowered by one inch in front and 1.5 inches in back, the Highlander's stance is much more assertive. Our test of the current Highlander revealed that it is quite a good handler. Like all great sporty vehicles, the more it is pushed, the better it responds. A lowered center of gravity and less spring compression in turns would only enhance the Highlander's already good on-road habits.

The 285/35/20 performance tires and 20×10-inch bronze TRD alloy wheels add both great looks and the possibility of sharper steering and turning responsiveness. The added side moldings give the Highlander a tougher look that seems to work.

Ford offers and Edge Sport, Hyundai has a Santa Fe Sport and other premium brands also have handling packages. Don’t be surprised if the 2016 Highlander TRD Sport makes an appearance in a few months.

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Mark Day (not verified)    November 12, 2015 - 5:30PM

That's a great TRD package (Not) - we're going back to the "throw some sport tape on it" days but ridiculous tire/wheel packages, as a substitute, with guaranteed no increase in power. The new vehicle sport market has so degenerated that I gave up looking and just acquired a 2012 Infiniti G37 coupe – 330hp sans 4-cylinder engine or turbo.