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2017 Toyota Highlander Takes Best In Class Safety To A New Level

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Earns a Top Safety Pick Plus Rating, but that isn't what is interesting about its safety.

For 2017 the Toyota Highlander earns the IIHS Top Safety Pick plus designation. This is not new ground for the Highlander, one of the world's safest vehicles in real-world situations. However, for the new model year, there are two significant safety updates regarding this segment-leading seller.

First, Highlander now offers standard active safety systems on every trim. Unlike competitors like the Chevy Traverse (yes, even the just-launched 2018), the Highlander comes with all the safety features required to earn its top safety scores. Other models, from other brands, only offer the important safety systems on some trims, at an added price. They then ignore that in their advertising and imply that every one of their vehicles of that type has earned the Top Safety Pick designation - they have not.

Even more interestingly, the Highlander's new standard safety systems have improved from Advanced to Superior ratings in the IIHS testing. In other words, Toyota didn't cut corners and come up with some kind of down-market safety system to help protect you and your family to save a few bucks. In fact, the opposite is true. Toyota made its safety systems better, and IIHS noticed saying, "The midsize SUV's new standard front crash prevention system is an improvement over the optional system on the 2016 model, which earned an advanced rating."

The base model Highlander's headlights also make the cut. The standard headlights earn an "Acceptable" rating, more than enough to put this crossover at the top of the safety charts. Literally. New for this model year, IIHS will be not list Top Safety Pick Plus vehicles alphabetically, but rather, will list them by which have their safety systems standard across all trims.