THESE days, the F-word is banned.

No, not that one. The three-letter one that refers to someone who can’t stop eating doner kebabs.

We try the super-sized Toyota Highlander - efficient, easy, spacious and surprisingly easy to place on the road

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We try the super-sized Toyota Highlander – efficient, easy, spacious and surprisingly easy to place on the road

Thankfully, you can’t fat-shame a car — because there’s no other word for it.

This is the Toyota Highlander, a super-sized, seven-seat SUV with a turning circle to rival the Ever Given.

It makes the Aygo look like Playmobil.

The Yanks and Japanese love a Highlander. But now, for the first time, you can get one on these shores.

The Highlander is a whopping 4.97 metres compared to the 3.45 metres Aygo

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The Highlander is a whopping 4.97 metres compared to the 3.45 metres Aygo

So, we know it is B-I-G. But is it any good?

The short answer is yes.

It’s quiet, efficient, easy, super-comfy, spacious, swimming in kit and surprisingly easy to place on the road.

It soaks up our underfunded roads nicely and the rear-view camera makes it a doddle to reverse and park.

The Highlander's rear-view camera makes it a doddle to reverse and park

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The Highlander’s rear-view camera makes it a doddle to reverse and park

But it is a little pricy at £50k.

Good value compared to a Land Rover Discovery or Volvo XC90 but not such a bargain compared to a Kia Sorento.

Unlike the others, however, you won’t spend long on the configurator because there’s only one engine and two high-spec trim levels to choose from: Excel or Excel Premium.

The engine, as you’d expect from Toyota, is a petrol-electric hybrid.

The engine, as you’d expect from Toyota, is a petrol-electric hybrid

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The engine, as you’d expect from Toyota, is a petrol-electric hybrid

Of course it is. And it’s a good one because it doesn’t need topping up with a plug.

The battery pack recharges on the go and works seamlessly with the 2.5-litre engine to automatically switch between electric and dino fuel when setting off and cruising.

There’s also an EV button which enables you to do short distances purely on electrons.

My testing averaged 37mpg, which is decent for such a big girl.

There are two adult-sized seats in row three and they’re perfectly usable

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There are two adult-sized seats in row three and they’re perfectly usable

I will say the cabin lacks the sparkle of some rivals — not helped by the naff touchscreen and Casio calculator buttons — but otherwise it is sturdy and functional and you’ll want for nothing.

Heated this, heated that, leather, veneer trim, big glass panoramic roof, Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, wireless phone charging.

Plus, there’s more storage than in Mary Poppins’ handbag.

The Excel Premium adds head-up display and not much else.

The Highlander can reach a top speed of 112mph

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The Highlander can reach a top speed of 112mph
The EV button enables you to do short distances purely on electrons

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The EV button enables you to do short distances purely on electrons

Also, this car is truly, genuinely a seven-seater, not a five-plus-two.

There are two adult-sized seats in row three and they’re perfectly usable as long as the sliding middle seats are pushed forward . . . and you are not wearing a huge wedding dress.

With all seven seats in use, however, the boot is no bigger than a supermini, at 332 litres.

But that almost doubles to 658 litres with five seats up — big enough for a washing machine.

The Highlander has the same rock-solid reliability as a Land Cruiser but is more family-friendly

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The Highlander has the same rock-solid reliability as a Land Cruiser but is more family-friendly

And with all the rear seats folded down, you could holiday in it (1,909 litres).

It’s fair to say that no one does little and large, XS to excess, quite like Toyota.

Tiny cars. Sensible hybrids. Sports cars. Pick-up trucks. Vans.

You name it, you can do Asda or Antarctica in a Toyota and it won’t let you down.

The boot is no bigger than a supermini, at 332 litres

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The boot is no bigger than a supermini, at 332 litres

That’s ultimately why you’d have a Highlander.

Same rock-solid reliability as a Land Cruiser but more family-friendly.

It is a LOT of car.

Key facts

FORD RANGER WILDTRAK

Price: £33,891 excl. VAT

Engine: 2-litre turbo diesel

Power: 213hp, 500Nm

0-62mph: 9 secs

Top speed: 112mph

Economy: 30mpg

CO2: 242g/km

Out: Now

Ford’s Ranger Raptor costs £49,000 – an awful lot of money for a pick-up





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