"Refined, quiet, smooth handling vehicle with excellent build quality and smooth paint finish (no orange peel). Built in the U.S. which was very important to us, this Highlander XLE AWD has great creature comforts and Nav. MPG runs between 18-23 and with a huge fuel tank, fill-ups approach $40. This vehicle which we purchased used with 23,000 miles in January 2018 has not had any problems and an excellent track record since the model was introduced in 2014.
Last note - the second seating area can be either equipped with a bench or two "captains chairs". If you don't require the middle seating position, opt for the chairs. Not only does it feel more roomy and open in that important second seat area, it also allows for better movement and communication with passengers in the third seat area.
We also considered a Honda Pilot which was more roomy inside and possessed better back-up camera technology, but has been plagued with transmission issues over the years. Lastly, we also considered the Mazda CX-9 and experienced the 4-cylinder power plant to have plenty of power but was noisy (tinny vibrations on acceleration). The interior space was also very tight which was the deciding factor in passing on it.