SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING 6 YEARS OF NOMADNESS W/ THE 2017 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER HYBRID [NMDN CONFERENCE]
With summer officially wrapped up and fall now underway it’s that time to kick off another season of Samurai Rides. This go-around was extra special because this almost felt like reuniting with a family friend. The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum Edition is an amazing hybrid SUV that reintroduced me to a family staple. Both my parents and my brother drive Toyotas, Camrys and Avalon’s respectively. So getting a chance to try this latest ride was almost like getting back on the old bike you had. You never really forget how to do it.
As big as the Highlander is it runs incredibly smooth and truthfully speaking, it was a pleasure to be able to spend some time in this vehicle for such a special occasion. The Nomadness Travel Tribe was kicking off its anniversary weekend with its 3rd annual NMDN Alternative Travel Conference and its 6th Anniversary party in New York City. It’s the biggest weekend of the year for Nomadness so I was glad to have Toyota holding me down.
I remember a time when folks had negative connotations with Hybrids. They all thought they were tiny unattractive toys geared for kids. Jump forward in time and you get a beauty like the Highlander that sits at the top of most experts ratings for overall midsize SUV performance. Consider a quiet ride that can seat 7-8 passengers, delivers 300+ horsepower, excellent mileage and a solid list of standard safety features and you have the makings of a top quality vehicle. The Highlander is a nice looking SUV without too many over the top bells and whistles. I’m a fan of the grill display that fans out from center to the base of the front.The understated exterior is a real set up for the gorgeous level of interior design you get inside the Highlander. The dark peanut butter leather trimmed with black looked super clean throughout the ride. On top of the great looks, the Highlander is one of the efficiently designed cars I’ve ever seen and it really via the power of simplicity. There is a shelf built into the front dash that runs from center to the end of the dashboard. Once you set your phone to its Bluetooth hands-free setting this is the perfect space to place it. This shelf frees up the center console and drink spaces for more fitting items.
On the technological side, you have no shortage of charging ports as Toyota has spread out 5 USB ports so everyone can keep their batteries in good condition. Your main ride operations display on a 6.1-inch touchscreen. You can also use voice recognition and Siri integration. You’ll be protected by Toyota’s Safety Sense, which features a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. You can also add a Blu-ray entertainment system, a 360-degree camera, and Driver Easy Speak
You can also add a Blu-ray entertainment system, a 360-degree camera, and Driver Easy Speak to send your speech through the cars speaker system when the folks in the back seats want to act like they don’t hear you.
You really couldn’t ask for more. As I secured my son in his car seat we took our familiar ride from PA to NY, the level of comfort made a 3-hour trek through rush hour traffic quiet enjoyable.
My eventful weekend started with an intimate gathering at the NYC main office of AirBNB, who have supported as sponsors of NMDN the past 2 years. Seeing the familiar faces and catching up with my fellow Tribe members made a for a great evening.
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The next morning I made my way down the Westside Highway to the Centre for Social Innovation, the site of this years NMDN Alt Travel Conference. This years conference tackled a number of important travel issues tied into the current national social and political climate. Panels on Traveling with Disabilities, Self Care and Traveling under Trump were standing room only. All of this climaxed with a 1 on 1 Fireside chat with Nomadness Founder Evita Robinson.
As a massive surprise to the audience, she premiered for debut TED Talk which is already one of the most viewed talks in the history of the TED Residency program.
After the business of #NMDN2017 was concluded, the Tribe would dance and party the night away celebrating 6 years of groundbreaking travel advancement at Madame X. Top that off with Brunch in Harlem Sunday afternoon and you have an action-packed weekend. My Highlander transportation made the movement back and forth through the boroughs and suburbs of New York City a piece of cake.
It’s known that I love rides with room. The midsize SUVs have been good to me. Many people market these as family vehicles and technically they fit that need perfectly but don’t be locked into seeing the Highlander as just a pretty soccer mom car. I would scoop this up in a heartbeat for everything from my daily city errands business trip or family travel. I’d highly recommend this ride from Toyota to anyone in the market for something new. Swing by Toyota’s site and check out more on the Highlander Hybrid!