Since it was first introduced in 2001, the Toyota Highlander has achieved several notable first. It was one of the earliest mid-size crossover SUVs, meaning it has always been designed like a car instead of based on a truck. That gives it a more comfortable ride and better mileage, while still be available with all-wheel-drive.

The Highlander was also one of the first SUVs of any size to offer a hybrid powertrain that improved mileage even more. Although it is not yet available as a plug-in hybrid, its EPA rating of up to 35 miles per gallon is still impressive for any three-row vehicle.

Jim Redden is a reporter based in Portland, Ore.

“I am a community journalist because that is where the greatest need is. There are many sources of information and opinion about international and national issues. But most people are more affected by what happens in their local communities. That is where they live, work and shop. That is where their children go to school. That is where their elected officials, business owners and labor leaders are most accessible. And that is why people need the most current information what is happening — or, more importantly, what is going to happen — in their communities. Providing accurate and up-to-date information that people need to make well-informed decisions on the issues they care about is what community journalism is all about.”

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