This post is in partnership with Toyota USA. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
We live in Pennsylvania, so I’m used to snowy winters. Still, I’m not a huge fan of driving in bad weather, and even less of a fan when I get caught in it unexpectedly. A few weeks ago my family took a trip a few hours north to the Pocono Mountains, and what was predicted to be rain suddenly turned into a major snowstorm. We lost power at the resort we were staying with, roads were closed. It was kinda crazy and no one was going anywhere.
On day two, we needed to hit the road. Thankfully we were in the midst of a test-drive week with the 2017 Toyota Highlander SE and I am still thankful we had this car on this trip. It’s AMAZING in the snow. Read on for all the reasons the Highlander is rising to the top of my list when it comes time to replace my current vehicle!
Toyota Highlander SE
Before we dive into our snow story, you can see the grass was green when the car was parked in my driveway before our trip. We did have the opportunity to drive it in good weather, too, and already loved the car.
It’s roomy and spacious without feeling like a giant, overwhelming SUV. As a person who is on the short side, this is exactly what I’m looking for. I like to feel in control of what I’m driving and definitely had that feeling with the Highlander.
Those of us with kids will appreciate that it has a third row of seats so it can seat up to 7 people. That row quickly folds down if you need the trunk space. My kids sat in the second row and I love that this is a captain’s chair set up versus a bench. Anything we can do to keep the kids from touching each other is appreciated. Moms, you feel me on this one.
There’s a rear climate control as well, so everyone was very comfortable on our long trip.
I didn’t grab a pic of all of our luggage in the trunk and should have, but I did get a pic of my load of groceries. This vehicle has ample trunk space for hauling your travel necessities, sports gear, Christmas shopping loot, or whatever other cargo you have.
Overall the vehicle is nicely appointed, really roomy without feeling like a beast on the road, and completely comfortable to ride in. And then we hit the snow…
Driving In The Snow
The video above gives you a quick, 20 second feel for the kind of snow we were dealing with. I think we got 16″ of snow in that storm, and we were in a pretty remote spot where the roads had been untreated.
We cleared the car off and ventured out with our fingers crossed.
This road is slushy, but not terrible. Check out the downed trees laying on top of the power lines and the heavy snow bending the branches. It was quite a storm and we were on some pretty narrow country roads trying to leave our resort.
This road is more snow covered and you can see there are cars pulled over everywhere – trucks even – that can’t make it in these conditions.
This was the scene everywhere we went. The roads didn’t appear to have been cleared much, if at all, and cars were abandoned all over both sides of the roads.
We would get just so far down a road and find a car stuck, blocking the road, and we’d have to find a way to turn around and find another route. The roads were an absolute mess. We had two kids in the car, it was cold, we were in an unfamiliar place. And not ONCE did this Highlander get stuck or skid or spin its wheels. We maintained control on every road we drove on, whether it was slush or 6″ inches of snow (and we really did have to get through snow that deep in some spots).
In the dashboard, there’s a SNOW button that providers for greater traction and control and it really works.
In addition to feeling safe on the roads, we were comfortable inside the car. I was enjoying my heated seat (thank you very much) and with plenty of USB chargers to go around, we had all phones charged in case we needed them.
We had no idea where we were since we couldn’t seem to stay on main roads that had been shut down, so we were especially thankful for the GPS which had to reroute us several times when we hit snowy, dead ends.
If you live in an area that experiences this kind of weather in the wintertime, I highly recommend the Toyota Highlander. My husband and I were both so impressed with this car and how easily it got us through the worst driving conditions we’ve ever experienced. The peace of mind that came from knowing we were not going to get stuck in an unfamiliar place with our kids in a snowbank was priceless.
Visit your local Toyota dealer or check out the Toyota Highlander on their website. This car starts at about $31K and has a ton of safety features and options available.