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New Highlander not for Muppets words by Mike Torch    

Looking past its silly ad campaign featuring Muppets, the third generation Toyota Highlander gets serious with class-leading design, dynamics and safety.

Toyota's 3rd generation Highlander is on sale now. Overall, prices for the newly re-designed models are up around $4k from the previus truck. All of these mid-size SUV's are now put together in Indiana, and Toyota expects to peddle around 140k of them in 12 different countries during 2016 alone.

Buyers will have 5 different models from which to choose, with the entry -level, 2-wheel drive Highlander, the LE, coming in at just shy of $30k. The top model hybrid, which in person commands really big visual presence, will set customers back a hefty $47,300.

In general, Toyota projects their new truck to appeal to potential buyers split on a 2-tier level: off roaders and families. Regardless of the group from which the customer hails, the world's biggest automaker claims them to be impressively loyal, with an estimated 40 percent of these punters categorized as Highlander 'be-backs'.

The Highlander will find its customers within an ultra-competitive market segment. These folks, the vast majority of them being families looking for a mid-size sport utility vehicle they will be proud to be seen in, are no doubt foremost interested in their new car's safety, practicality, style, and technology features. Toyota says they have their backs covered on all of these and more, and believes their impressive customer loyalty is largely based on ability to lead the pack in perpetually advancing the Highlander in each and every one of these departments.

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