Hey Friends! I was invited to test drive the 2018 Toyota Highlander for one week at no cost to me. All opinions are my own.
With Spring arriving (ok, somewhat arriving in Houston), I always have the travel bug. With my (almost) weekly travels for work, I often try to stay closer to home (aka. not fly) when traveling for fun. A few weeks ago, Toyota loaned me one of their new 2018 Highlander SUV to scoot around in for the week and let me tell you this would be a perfect road trip car for a girl’s trip or romantic giveaway. And although I don’t have kids, I believe there are many amenities that make this the perfect family road trip car.
Not only is there enough room in the trunk to fit all of your weekend road trip essentials (and an electric trunk opening and closing – ya, know the little luxuries in life), but the whole car feels roomy without sacrificing luxury. For example, in the Highlander I was driving, it had the option to seat seven (7) people in three rows. Two (2) in the front, two (2) in Captain’s Chairs in the middle (with fold up tables for all those road trip snacks) and a bench in the back that could seat three (3) easily.
Being on the road for long periods of time can make me a little less alert to safety issues on the road (just being honest here – as much as I would love to admit I’m always as intensely focused on the road and the safety of myself and others, longer trips treks can make me a bit desensitized to it.) Luckily, Toyota has thought about these safety concerns and help me to stay focused on the safety of everyone on the road.
The first feature and one I personally do not wish to live without anymore is the Blindspot Monitoring. In the side mirrors, a little light will appear when a car (or large object) is in your blindspot. Not only does it remind me to do a second little glance behind me when changing lanes, but it helps me to detect the smaller cars that I cannot see in my mirrors and prevent me from changing lanes and causing an accident.
The second feature I loved using (but admittedly took a little bit of time to get used to) was the Birdseye View Camera which engaged when I put the car in reverse. On the screen in the center of the dashboard, a “Birdseye” picture looking down on the top of the car shows me where I have items which could be in my way when I am backing out. Since technology is usually more accurate than the human eye, it was able to detect cars approaching me on either side when I could not see the cars due to a parked car next to me. Such an amazing feature that I loved to use (and am still missing a few weeks later).
And no great road trip would be complete without great tunes and entertainment. The new Toyota Highlander makes hooking up any media device to their amazing sound system with the quick plug in by USB in the center console. And if you need a bit more entertainment for that long trip, the Highlander can be customized to have a Blu-ray 9 inch entertainment center to watch movies with your gal pals or have kids watch their favorite TV show to pass the time.
Texas is such a large state and sometimes it can be hard to find these shorter road trips or day trips to take which don’t seem daunting. I honestly did not know there were so many options until I started doing some Google searching and Instagram “
exploring” (ok, stalking) once I moved back to town. If you live in the Houston area, here are my top five (5) Spring Road Trip or Day Trip Ideas that I love to take:
- Drive up to the Fredericksberg and enjoy the Texas Wine Country
- Head out to Brenham to check out the Blue Bell Ice Creamery (and the blue bonnets on the drive – psst..they are absolutely gorgeous this year)
- Drive down to Galveston and enjoy some of the non-beach activities
- Pick your own strawberries and buy other fresh produce at Froberg’s Farm in Alvin
- One of my all time favorites, head over to Austin and enjoy the amazing restaurants, stores and city culture in just a short 2.5 hour drive
Another one of my favorite ways to celebrate the start of the new season without a full day’s commitment, is just to drive around town with the sunroof and windows open and take in the fresh air.
What are your favorite road trips or day trips to take in the car? And what do you look for in a great car? Let me know in the comments below!
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