For some people, birthdays can be really stressful. As the birth certificate gains a little more dust, birthdays are also a great opportunity to reflect.  For me, it gave me an opportunity to look back and see how far I’ve come and the many goals I still have left to achieve. Also, it gave me the opportunity to spend much-needed time with friends, family and volunteer with one of my favorite local organizations.

The good folks at Toyota were gracious enough to toss us the keys to a 2018 Highlander. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve had my eye on this “SUV” for a very long time. I use the term “SUV” very loosely because this drives much more like a car than a traditional utility vehicle.

The drive felt like a first-class flying experience (minus clearing TSA). The interior cabin was quiet and appointments very nicely done. Every technology feature that you could want from an automobile was within arms reach and the plush leather seats hug your body like your favorite pair of pajamas.


Despite its “car-like” feel, you sit just high enough to be able to see everything around you. The back-up camera as well as side mirror sensors help you with your blind spots and contribute to the overall safety that you get out of the Highlander.

The Highlander was in my possession for a little over a week and it literally felt as if I glided through the treacherous Orlando traffic with the greatest of ease. The premium sound system and built-in XM satellite radio probably had a lot to do with that. But nonetheless, driving was effortless. From a performance standpoint, it was equipped with a fully capable 3.5-liter V6 engine which is offers up the right balance of power and efficiency.

Overall, this was one of the best birthdays I’ve had in quite sometime and I’m glad I had a chance to get around town in the 2018 Highlander.

Learn more about the 2018 Toyota Highlander here.

We put together a list of places around Orlando that we enjoyed during my birthday weekend that we recommend you check out.

Pie in the Sky: Lazy Moon

For the Perfect Cup of Joe: Foxtail Coffee Co.

Great Latin Music and Nightlife: Cuba Libre

Brunch Vibes: Santiago’s Bodega