The Highlander qualifies on all matters, though it does not excel in any one area. Given it can keep its exceptional resale value and also reliability, it needs to prove a smart-- if not specifically captivating-- option for several years to come.
Base, Sport and Limited trim levels have front- or 4x4, and all could seat 5 or 7, depending upon the setup. Rates range from roughly $27,000 to $40,000 with options.
I checked all 3 trim degrees of the regular Highlander at a Toyota occasion in Michigan.
2008 Toyota Highlander
Toyota's The golden state layout workshops formed the exterior, which is bigger in all significant dimensions compared to the old Highlander. To my eyes, Toyota's smaller sized RAV4 SUV looks better-proportioned, with simply enough curves to counter the angles. With its creased fronts lights, showy grille as well as amorphous bumper, the Highlander seems a bit as well slick-- like a corner store buyer who won't take off his sunglasses.
The back bumper has dimpled reflectors on each side, and a lot of trim levels have a glass hatch that opens up independent of the liftgate. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are typical; the Sporting activity as well as Limited have 19-inchers that fill in the wheel wells well. The Sport has a dark silver grille and smoked-out fronts lights. The Limited has plainer headlights and also chrome outside moldings.
At 188.4 inches long as well as 75.2 inches broad, the Highlander casts roughly the same darkness as a Honda Pilot, Subaru Tribeca or Hyundai Veracruz. The Mazda CX-9 and also Saturn Expectation are both concerning a foot much longer.
Toyota has spent years constructing a credibility for quality, and also absent any type of severe competition, the new Highlander could have kept that criterion. The competition is nothing otherwise significant, however, and also SUVs like the CX-9 as well as Veracruz boast some impressively high end interiors. In contrast, Toyota falls a bit brief.
The Highlander shares bases with the current Camry, as well as the dashboard bears much of the sedan's taste. The facility controls are the natural centerpiece, with large knobs for major features within very easy reach. Sporting activity and Limited versions have a 3.5-inch screen atop the stereo. It displays gas mileage, outside temperature level and more. It additionally shows setups for the optional automatic environment control system, which could split the cabin right into as many as 3 temperature level zones-- two front and also one rear. The environment manages sit listed below the stereo, as well as they're very chaotic. I counted 13 buttons between the two temperature level knobs; that's a great deal of ground to cover when you're referencing a readout some 10 inches away. In contrast, the conventional manual cooling is straightforward.
Cabin quality is simply typical. The home window switches over, turn signals as well as center controls could go straight right into a Lexus, and the chrome accents and also electroluminescent evaluates look excellent. The majority of areas are cut in tough plastics, however, and also the appearances lack the charm of the stuff in several rivals. Most awful of all is the ceiling's headliner, which is some of the most inexpensive mouse fur this side of an economic climate auto.
Parents will value the storage alternatives. The center console in between the front seats has 4 cupholders and a broad storage bin. Fail to remember laptops; the handwear cover box could fit a tiny computer. (Probably not the screen, though-- allow's not obtain carried away.).
3 standard rows of seats suit approximately seven, though you can go down the third row in order to save a little money, reducing sitting capacity to 5. The front seats provide lots of room, with a trick extender in the Highlander Limited that extends the padding under the motorist's upper legs. Great touch.
The second row is just as commodious, with reclining back-rests and also seat pillows that change backward and forward. The center seat has Toyota's new Center Stow function. It's generally a jump seat, which passengers can exchange for a plastic center console, transforming the 2nd row into two captain's chairs. The extra portion-- either the center seat or console-- shops in a flooring compartment in between the front seats. After a couple of practice runs, I had the ability to make the change in around 25 seconds.
The jump seat is light enough for easy installation. Its convenience is trial and error, even for a middle seat; the bottom cushion is significant, however I can quickly feel the joints under the back-rest cushioning. The plastic console is lighter still, and both pieces have tough installation hooks that ought to survive a lot of thrashing from overenthusiastic kids.
Relying on where the second row is positioned, the 3rd row can be surprisingly adult-friendly. I'm 6 feet high and discovered clearance a little bit tight, however with the 2nd row moved forward a couple of inches-- preserving a lot of legroom for many grownups-- the third row's legroom was such that I can tolerate a brief journey.
Bigger Engine, Better Mileage
All Highlanders obtain the 3.5-liter V-6 from the Camry, Sienna as well as several various other Toyotas. In the Highlander it makes 270 horsepower as well as 248 pounds-feet of torque. Both are significant gains over last year's V-6, makinged 215 hp as well as 222 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. Last year's base four-cylinder engine has been dropped.
Velocity is adequate off the line and also more powerful as the engine revs. The transmission helps points along, holding gears and seldom moving prematurely. Tough acceleration can trigger some sudden transitions amongst reduced equipments-- much better for acceleration, even worse for comfort-- but most of the moment the shifts are smooth enough to pass undiscovered. The drivetrain really feels finest on the freeway, where it downshifts with marginal equipment searching. 3rd equipment is especially powerful for 50-to-70 miles per hour passing.
The optional four-wheel drive is transparent to the motorist. It incorporates a center differential to divide power 50/50 between the front and also back wheels all the moment. Four-wheel-drive models have a downhill aid feature. Press a control panel switch, and also it will certainly slow the SUV to a crawl down steep qualities. The attribute seems a bit disingenuous: There is no reduced gear for offroad rock crawling, which means you must most likely prevent anywhere treacherous sufficient to need the downhill aid.
All Highlanders have a hill-start help that holds the brakes for as much as 3 seconds from a quit to avoid the SUV from rolling backwards prior to you have time to hit the gas.
Using the EPA's even more practical 2008 ranking system-- which typically results in lower numbers-- gas mileage is ranked at 18/24 mpg (city/highway) for two-wheel-drive versions as well as 17/23 mpg for those with four-wheel drive. These rankings lead most midsize SUVs by 1 or 2 mpg. They likewise beat the old V-6 Highlander by around 1 mpg (changed utilizing the EPA's brand-new calculation)-- an excellent accomplishment, offered the new Highlander has even more power as well as weighs some 300 extra pounds more. (Four-cylinder followers will not miss out on much: The old four-cylinder Highlander obtained simply 1 mpg more than the brand-new one finishes with the V-6.).
Ride & Handling
The unibody building and construction affords a comfortable ride, with none of the underbody shimmying that plagued the previous Highlander (which was likewise unibody) and several body-on-frame SUVs. The four-wheel-independent suspension is sport-tuned in the Highlander Sporting activity, yet I couldn't identify a distinction in flight firmness among the base, Sport and Limited. All 3 have a bit a lot more suspension noise over significant bumps than I have actually come to anticipate in a midsize SUV.
Wind sound is marginal. Provided a smooth stretch of asphalt, the tires are reasonably quiet. The Sport and also Limited's 19-inch wheels and also P245/55R19 tires send out a small hum at highway rates, which I could not detect with the base design's 17-inchers and thicker P245/65R19 rubber.
All designs now feature electrical power steering. These systems conserve a bit on fuel usage-- a little low-hanging fruit to satisfy the federal government's fuel economic situation standards, I suspect-- however they usually cause drab, fabricated steering feel. Expectedly, the Highlander guides with a light touch, never providing much in the way of feedback or turning accuracy. The CX-9 fares better in this regard, however few other rivals attract attention. The very same is true for body roll: Like a lot of SUVs, the Highlander leans away in curves, advising vehicle drivers it's not to be cornered swiftly.
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are common. The pedal supplies squishy reaction, but the brakes clamp down hard when needed.
Cargo & Towing
With all 3 rows set up and elevated, freight space in back is a weak 10.3 cubic feet. The third row folds up flat right into the flooring, and also the 2nd row folds nearly level. Highlanders without the 3rd row rather include a rather big storage area under the back flooring.
With all seats folded, optimal cargo quantity is 95.4 cubic feet, which contrasts extra positively with the crowd.
When effectively equipped, the Highlander can tow as much as 5,000 pounds.
In Insurance Coverage Institute for Freeway Security frontal crash tests, the 2008 Highlander racked up the greatest score, Excellent. IIHS has not checked the Highlander for side effects.
Toyota didn't skimp on safety and security attributes. All Highlanders come standard with four-wheel-disc anti-skid brakes, grip control as well as an electronic stability system. The security system currently works with the electrical power steering, which enhances the power help when the chauffeur is guiding to deal with a skid. It additionally assists combat guiding pull under hard braking to assist the Highlander drop in a straight line. (Toyota states the system could not steer the SUV by itself, as some advanced systems now do, so if you guide the upside-down in a skid, do not anticipate any kind of extra power assist.).
Seven air bags are conventional, including the called for dual front air bags, a chauffeur's knee air bag and side-impact air bags for the front seats. There are likewise roll-sensing side curtain air bags for all 3 rows, which release during a rollover to stop occupant ejection.
All seats have head restraints, and in Sport and Limited designs, the front ones are forward-adjustable for better whiplash protection. Energetic head restrictions are typical on the front seats of all trims. The second row includes Latch child-seat supports in the outboard seats, with easily obtainable top-tether supports midway down the seatback.
Features & Rates
Omitting the destination cost, the base Highlander with two-wheel drive begins at $27,300. A Highlander Limited with a full collection of alternatives runs around $42,000. Four-wheel drive on any kind of trim includes concerning $1,500. All trim levels have 3 rows of seats, though a third-row erase choice on specific versions can conserve $740.
-For $27,300, the base Highlander includes 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entrance, a CD stereo with a supporting MP3 jack, cooling, cruise control, and also power windows, mirrors as well as door locks.
-For $29,950, the Sport includes darkened exterior aspects, 19-inch wheels, fog lights, a power chauffeur's seat, a multifunction wheel, a back-up cam as well as six-CD audio.
-For $32,700, the Limited includes a keyless start-up system, automatic environment control, natural leather upholstery as well as a power traveler seat. A lot of these features are optional on the Sporting activity. Options on both trim degrees consist of a navigating system, JBL premium sound, a backseat DVD player, a moonroof, a power tailgate and heated front seats.
Highlander in the marketplace
Competitors from GM, Mazda and also Hyundai will provide the Highlander a run for its loan. Its largest competitor, the Honda Pilot, is due for a redesign in the following year or 2, and Toyota's secret weapon-- its reputation for top quality and also integrity-- has actually been sliding lately. The automaker has actually vowed to enhance its initiatives, and its most current SUV should prove that.
The brand-new Highlander has lots of textbook perceptiveness, like suitable gas mileage as well as lots of safety features, but there's absolutely nothing exceptional about it. If it verifies as bulletproof as its precursor, however, stability will certainly become its defining feature, which is a textbook draw a lot of customers can support.