It’s no secret that what you drive is an extension of your personality.  If we drove vehicles because they were practical, we would all be driving one of only a handful.  The car parked in your driveway says a lot about who you are, and doesn’t hold much back.  You can often tell someone’s occupation, income, cleanliness, and style.  So when fatherhood came knocking, I wondered what kind of man I would become — the practical, hardy mini van man (umm, no thank you!) or the traditional and oversized SUV (practical but boring).

Thanks @toyotausa for letting me drive this bad boy for a week #2016highlander

A photo posted by Victor Macias (@vmacias12) on

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsThankfully, when carting around babies and their many toys and mechanisms, there is another option.   The Toyota Highlander has all the perks of traditional car choices (space, space and more space) without sacrificing the other qualities we want in a ride, such as good looks, handling, style, and dare we say it, sex appeal.  As the growing trend of midsize SUV’s continues, we wanted to see what a Toyota Highlander had to offer a new family, and borrowed one for a spin!      

Toyota Highlander

As a new father, I swore off driving anything that resembled a mini van.  Yes, practicality is at the top of my list, but that doesn’t mean we should automatically discount style.  Unlike my dad, there is choices out there for men who want it all; a family, a career, and a great looking car.  The Toyota Highlander immediately hit all the right notes; it was sleek, sexy, and curvacious.  Not words we think of when we think of an SUV, a coupe maybe.      

6am golf? Don’t mind if we do. The clubs fit perfectly @toyotausa #2016highlander A photo posted by malestandard.com (@malestandard) on

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I was also surprised by how much size there was in this midsize.   The seats have a mind of their own and can recline, fold, and move to adjust for anything you can throw at it.  Weekend trips to IKEA?  Check!  Taking the family out to MILK for ice cream sandwiches?  Oh yes!  To see how far we could push the Toyota Highlander, I took my wife and daughter on a mini road trip to LA, which has perhaps the worst traffic in the world.  At least, the most notorious.

This is where the Toyota Highlander excels.  Inside is filled with tech magic.  From the entertainment center, which is responsive and easy to use, to the large interior sunroof, every inch of space has been put to work.  It feels far from the inside of a church and more like a well-executed penthouse suit.  The interior is also worth writing home about and looks fantastic.  You can choose from dozens of new fabrics and cuts.  For the outside, we choose the color Ooh La La Rouge Mica to compliment our ‘PB Jelly’ combo.

The 2015 Toyota Highlander - For Every Moment, and Every Man?
The 2015 Toyota Highlander – For Every Moment, and Every Man?

The entertainment centre features: Entune™ Audio with Intelligent Touch controls comes standard on Highlander. With Bluetooth® 29 connectivity, SiriusXM All Access Radio, 12 HD Radio™, 16 and a 6.1-in. or 8-in. touch-screen display, Highlander puts tech at your fingertips. And with the available Entune® App Suite, 28 you can listen to music, buy movie tickets and make restaurant reservations using the touch-screen display. You can also get gas prices and access information on stocks, sports, traffic and weather.

The Male Standard Verdict

The Toyota Highlander genuinely got me excited about driving.  It didn’t matter if I was going to the golf club (there was tons of space to cart my clubs around) or taking the family long distances.  It held up under scrutiny and was able to look and feel good while doing all of this and more.  I especially enjoyed the adjustable power gate lift, which answered the prayers of every dad out there who has wished for an extra set of hands when loading and unloading the cargo space.

Pit stop at @themilkshop_la for glorious ice cream sandwiches! @toyotausa #highlander @malestandard

A photo posted by Victor Macias (@vmacias12) on

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It didn’t feel bulky or oversized, and instead drove more like a coup than an SUV.  My family assured me the ride was comfortable from the passenger perspective too, with lots of adjustable room and neat interior features, such as a conversation mirror (why don’t more cars have these) and panoramic sunroof (to relax and watch the world go by).  We would easily recommend this for any man who is in the business of needing extra space or has a family to cater too.  You cannot go wrong!

Thank you to Toyota for letting us borrow the Highlander, we loved every minute!  For more info on the Toyota Highlander and what to expect in 2016, please visit Toyota or your local dealership.  Let us know what you think in the comment section below! 

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