About a decade ago, Toyota introduced its Highlander model, a mid-size crossover suv that helped usher in the era of car-like handling in sport utes. Around the same time, a business author published The Art of the Long View, which was created to help businesses plan for an uncertain future using scenarios and strategizing that essentially boiled down to one thing: don’t panic.
Despite facing the kind of scenarios that would make any car company panic – from massive safety recalls to unprecedented disasters in its home country, Japan – Toyota appears to be emerging into the new decade, with some solid plans for the future. There’s a much-needed overhaul and a new plug-in version for its category-changing Prius, and a return to 100 percent production levels in North America, despite economic doldrums.
And now, there’s a mild refresh of the 2012 Highlander SUV line-up, in advance of what industry insiders say will be a complete model line revamp for 2014. It’s been touted for car-like handling in a package somewhat similar to many 5-passenger SUVs, but seats up to 7, with reconfigurable space for passengers and stowage.