Toyota Highlander (2010 and older) SUV | Crossover

Highlander (2010 and older)

The Highlander is Toyota’s car-based midsize SUV, built on a unibody platform with 4-wheel independent suspension. The Highlander offers a tight, quiet ride like a midsize sedan with the higher ride height, available 4-wheel drive, and cargo capacity of a midsize SUV.

The Highlander scores high for its refinement, quiet interior, ride comfort, and flexible and roomy second-row seat. Its 3.5-liter V6 delivers solid performance and 18 mpg overall. The third-row seat is tight and does not fold in a 50/50 split. A new 2.7-liter four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic is available on FWD models.

User Reviews (197)

Showing 1-10 of 197  
D.   [Mar 26, 2010]
Model Reviewed: V6 3.3 engine
Strength:

Reliability,power,ride,
mileage....

Best vehicle I've ever owned.
I own 6 vehicles at present, mostly
trucks, one van.

Similar Products Used: Ford Escape is good, but Toyota
has better quality.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bsauer   [Sep 04, 2009]
Model Reviewed: Toyota Highlander 4wd Limited
Strength:

Lots of room for my dogs, groceries, kids, etc. Love the heated seats, moon roof, and power driver seat.

Weakness:

Poor gas mileage compared to a sedan or minivan.

This is my first Toyota and I couldn't be happier. We've had zero problems with our Highlander and have only put in the regular maintenance required. I just did the 90K and 100K service on it and just took it on a 1000 mile road trip. The only complaint I have is that the new (supposedly better) tires I chose are giving me poor gas mileage and the ride is a bit bumpier than it used to be, but that was my fault. Mechanically I have no complaints. I do think Toyota's paint job is poor and that the stereo system has too much bass, but otherwise it's a great family vehicle and we love it!

Similar Products Used: 1998 Oldsmobile Silhouette, 1996 Ford Explorer
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
bsadnn   [Jun 17, 2009]
Model Reviewed: Sport Highlander
Strength:

Very good engine and transmission...still bult in Japan !~

Weakness:

Fit and finsih provided by American assemblers in USA...hate to say that but its TRUE !

After owning 7 new Toyotas over the years , it saddens me to report I've bought a lemon Toyota this time...which is still far better than an domestic lemon...I have been plagued with fit and finish issues...rattles, squeakes and the windshield or dashboard creaks when you drive over EVERY little bump in the road...in PA thats a lot bumps, even the cracks on a cement highway make the dash or windshield creak ...drives me crazy.... flaws in the paint on the hood ...thet told me it was water spots as they had just washed it...when I got home I went to rub them off and found they were flaws in the clear coat , this is with 14 miles on the odometer...headliner flops when driving with the sun roof open and when you close rear passenger door theres a rattle between the panels somwhere...maybe a joke from some one at the factory ?

I paid $800.00 for a towing package and theres no trailer hitch to tow my trailer or use my bike rack...$400.00 additional hitch from toyota solved that problem....ouch $1200.00 to use my bike rack !!! I aslo paid $34,000.00 for a car with no floor mats ...easy fix, jjsut pay another $120.00 and they'll order them for you...needles to say this has been a very sorry experience form Toyota...I think its gonna be a Honda Oddessy Touring Edition next time for this buyer !!

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
grabows3   [Dec 08, 2008]
Model Reviewed: Highlander
Strength:

Roomy vehicle. Offered best mileage in class at time of purchase.

Weakness:

Power window failure, bad wheel bearing, failed brake caliper. All with less than 55,000 miles and none of it covered under warranty. Vaunted Toyota quality not evident in my vehicle!

21st century car reviews are pretty subjective when discussing driver handling, acceleration, cabin noise and the like. Everyone has different needs and perceptions -- to each his (or her) own. With this in mind, my review will deal strictly with issues of reliability, and using these standards my 2003 Highlander is approaching lemon status in the past 6 months with a paltry 55,000 miles.

It started the summer of 2008 when the front left passenger window would no longer power up. With some research on the internet, apparently my Highlander is not the first to experience this problem. A trip to my area dealership in Merrillville, IN resulted in a $384.37 repair bill and a recommendation to use the windows more frequently (fellow Highlanders take note!). This repair was not covered under warranty. At the same time I had the 45,000 miles inspection and maintenance performed for an additional $352.09, but forgot to mention a strange sound coming from the left front tire area.

A short four months and 5608 miles later I returned to the same dealership with a much more noticeable noise coming from the front of the vehicle. The result this time was a failed left front wheel hub and bearing that was not covered under the powertrain warranty (which had expired 32 days earlier), and was $516.77 to repair. This dealership visit also revealed a right front brake caliper had seized up, and would cost $500 to repair. Since I had had the brake pads and rotors replaced at 48,347 miles by a neighborhood Midas shop, I declined repair of this item by the dealer. The Midas dealer confirmed the problem and replaced the caliper for $215.00 the next day.

All told I have spent $2466.48 on service and repairs to my 2003 Toyota Highlander in the last 8 months. Brake service would be expected after 50,000 miles, but a caliper seizing up, a wheel bearing failing and a power window needing replacement after 55,000 miles is totally unacceptable. My first experience with Toyota will be my last! New buyers beware.

Similar Products Used: Subaru Legacy wagon, Mazda Tribute
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Very disappointed   [Mar 15, 2008]
Model Reviewed: Highlander Limited
Strength:

Decent ride.

Weakness:

Engine burns oil. Driver window module. Have to reach in rear passenger side to close window. Vibration noise with the sunroof open car interior vibrates

This has been the biggest lemon ever. At around 70,000 miles the engine is burning oil. This burning is about a quart every 1000 miles. I was told by the dealership that the valve seals in the engine need to be replaced for $1300. Of course there is nothing Toyota is willing to do but I have read other reviews and have come across at least 10 others with the same problem. At 117,000 miles the check engine light came on. I also have had many problems with the power window mechanism on the driver door. There must be a short in the wiring because it has failed more than once. I will be trading this piece of garbage in by the end of this month. Toyota's had a great reputation prior to this purchase but their quality has gone down dramatically.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Charlie   [Sep 02, 2007]
Strength:

Fairly smooth ride for an SUV. Has always started up and got me where I was going (even if I did leave an oil puddle here and there).

Weakness:

Wind noise. Engine issues. Poor customer service.

Sort of decent vehicle, overall, but that's about it. The qualify Toyota used to be famous for just isn't there. I'm sure everyone is aware of the wind noise when the rear windows are down. Our highlander required a new rear main engine seal at 62K miles (just out of warranty, of course. The engine runs rough at idle and the dealer really couldn't pinpoint why. While all vehicles have problems occasionally, the reason I plan to steer clear of toyota in the future is their service after the sale. The dealers seem to avoid any and all liablilty for problems wherever possible, and Toyota Corporate Customer Relations are absolutely no help. A friend at work had the engine fail in his 2004 Tacoma (with 38K miles) due to Toyota's now famous engine sludge problem. They refused to replace the engine under the warranty because he changed his own oil and couldn't produce receipts for all oil changes. With those kinds of problems and Toyota's poor response, there will be no more Toyotas in my driveway in the future.

Similar Products Used: Toyota Previa
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
disloyal   [Aug 24, 2007]
Model Reviewed: Highlander limited
Strength:

Good safety protection

Weakness:

Unstable on the highway, passing a truck makes the vehicle to be displaced on the road. Hesitates on acceleration than downshifts and lurches forward. Wind noise at speed. Driver seat cramped. Steering whell tilts only. Poor radio. Dirt and water enter engine compartment. Toyota dealer said nothing wrong with vehicle.

Good reliability,

Similar Products Used: Traded with a 2007 Mazda CX9. Far superior vehicle for approx same money.
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
MommyX2   [Jun 06, 2006]
Model Reviewed: Toyota Highlander
Strength:

Handling, reliability and asthetics.

Weakness:

Accessible front-seat storage, limited back seat space if you have little kids.

I have had my Highlander since fall of 2002 (41, 656 miles on it). I have loved it and never had any problems with it. It sits great, and I can reach the pedals and see over the steering wheel comfortably (I'm 5'4). I have noticed that when the car is really cold that it stays in second gear no matter how fast you go until the engine heats up and then it shifts into third. It has to be pretty cold outside to do that though. The dealer says thats just the way the transmission is made and it's not a defect. It can be annoying though. My only other complaint is lack of storage in the front. My CD compartment is always overflowing and there's only two cupholders in front. I wish I would have waited until the third-row seat came out. That would have been great because if you have two kids in car seats, it takes a pretty skinny person to sit comfortably in the back. Mine has side mirror defrosters, Homelink (so I don't have to carry a garage door opener, it's right in my sun visor), a sliding cover that closes in the back to conceal anything being stored (nice when you're Christmas shopping and don't want to haul stuff around but don't want to leave it visible in the car). Handles great, rides very similar to a car since it sits a little lower than most SUV's, that reduced height may be minimal but it gets rid of the side-to-side sway that you get in a lot of SUV's. Gas mileage is supposed to be 18 to 22 mpg. I would say that's about accurate. I've never had a single issue go wrong with it. I use the Snow/ACT button in the snow and it does ride better then (I have full-time AWD), but I too have never found any information about it in the manual (other than its location).

Similar Products Used: Toyota Tundra
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
mkeough   [Nov 27, 2005]
Model Reviewed: Toyota Highlander
Strength:

Value. All Wheel Drive. Very comfortable. Gas mileage is not bad for an SUV. Reliability

Weakness:

Driver ergonomics- steering wheel too far away, transmission takes too long to shift sometimes, abrupt 1st gear engagement. Yes, I have the pain in my ears when leaving the window down, so I don't do it. Yes, the radio stinks too. Also, compared to my Murano, it's rather boring. Stock "comfy" tires are not great in the snow, but the AWD makes it acceptable.

Very good quality and value (for the stripped down version anyway). High reliability, but has some driver ergonomics design flaws that are hard to ignore. The Highlander is very comfortable and quiet. The suspension (and stock Bridgestone tires) are very well controlled, but are tuned to the "great ride" side, not sporty side. I've had absolutely zero machanical problems with the vehicle in 1.5 years of owning it. However, the 5 speed auto transmission can get annoying when rolling through a stop and then you hit the gas. It seems that it doesn't know what gear to be in 1st or 2nd-- then when it finally decides to go into first (after a 1 second pause), it really slams into 1st, and is hard to control. I've found that if you push the "Snow/ACT" button, it smooths out this rough action. I haven't been able to figure out what this "Snow/ACT" button does exactly in the manual or on the web, but it may favor starting off in 2nd gear??? After living with the car for a year, the driver ergonomics has really been bothering me. There is no telescoping steering wheel or movable pedals on this car, as on others (like my Nissan Murano). I'm a standard size guy, 5'10" with normal proportions (for an American, not a Japanese person- maybe that's the problem?). When I adjust the seat to get a comfortable reach to the gas/brake, the steering wheel is WAY far away, especially at the top. The tilt steering does nothing to help. I have to move the tilt back too straight or move the entire seat forward to reach the steering wheel comfortably, which hurts my legs. At first I thought I could live with it, but I'm hating it more and more, especially on long rides. My wife just bought a Nissan Murano LE with a 6 cylinder and CVT (continuously variable transmission) about 3 months ago. It's absolutely wonderful. Much sportier than the Highlander, great gas mileage, and the driver ergonomics are very comfortable.-- it has moveable foot pedals to get the position right. I even like the CVT. The CVT keeps revs low which helps MPG, but the engine is very torquey. If you need more acceleration, just hit the gas, and the CVT lets the revs rise immediately, and you get plenty of acceleration. I highly recommend the Murano over the Highlander, even though it costs more with all the extras. The Murano is funny looking, but it just works better for me than the Highlander.

Similar Products Used: 2005 Nissan Murano, 1999 Ford Explorer
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
fitnesschic   [Jul 26, 2005]
Model Reviewed: Limited

Everyone is complaining about the windows....every four door auto does the same thing... to fix this all you do is CRACK one of the front windows while the back ones are open!! I love this vehicle...the navigation is awesome. Couldn't ask for a more professional, classy looking vehicle for the price

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 197  

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