Toyota Highlander Dream

Although I can’t change a fan belt or, heck, even tell you the difference between a fan belt and an alternator belt (Ahem. Dad, this is not an invitation to explain the difference to me), I do read the car reviews in the Globe (my personal fave was always Royal Ford, first because of his name, then, of course, because of his writing). And while I like looking at antique cars, with my skill set it would be prohibitively expensive, don’t you think? So, new cars for me, please.


It’s true. I got a free ride for a week from Toyota. A brand new fully loaded Highlander at that. My family loved it for the full sized moon roof (which extends over the back seats), the captain’s chairs in the second row, and of course, the new car smell. They also loved it because it gave them their own car (my usual ride) to head off in instead of asking for rides or, heaven forbid, waiting for me someplace. I loved it because it handles like a total dream, and has super smart design features. Like what? Like the fantastic cargo bag for groceries, a center console big enough for my entire purse, a cool lighted shelf under the dash for phones and whatnot.

This car taught me something, too. I drift out of my lane (quite a bit, actually). I could blame the winding streets and weird markings for some of the sensor beeps but probably not all of them.The new Highlander has a sensor system (there’s a front sensor that tells you when you’re about to hit something (but I never got close to doing that), and side sensors that detect when you have crossed the line (I crossed lines left and right to the amusement and annoyance of my children). I think it’s a great feature and appreciated the correction (sometimes it was the winding roads and weird markings).

It also doesn’t need a running board and it’s easy to get into even in a pencil skirt, and the key-less system is perfect for someone like me with a giant purse and no notable organizational skills, and it is with sadness that I return to Toyota my very clean, quiet ride. While my week was, sadly, Muppet free – boring it was not.


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