The Highlander makes the grade on all counts, though it does not master any kind of one location. Given it could keep its impressive resale worth as well as integrity, it ought to prove a wise-- otherwise particularly exciting-- choice for several years ahead.
Base, Sporting activity and Limited trim levels come with front- or four-wheel drive, and all could seat five or seven, relying on the arrangement. Costs vary from roughly $27,000 to $40,000 with alternatives.
I evaluated all 3 trim degrees of the routine Highlander at a Toyota occasion in Michigan.
Toyota Highlander 2008 Price
Toyota's The golden state design studios shaped the exterior, which is larger in all significant measurements than the old Highlander. To my eyes, Toyota's smaller sized RAV4 SUV looks better-proportioned, with simply sufficient contours to counter the angles. With its creased headlights, fancy grille as well as amorphous bumper, the Highlander seems a little bit too slick-- like a convenience store customer who won't take off his sunglasses.
The back bumper has lumpy reflectors on each side, and most trim degrees have a glass hatch that opens independent of the liftgate. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are basic; the Sport as well as Limited have 19-inchers that fill out the wheel wells nicely. The Sporting activity has a dark silver grille and smoked-out fronts lights. The Limited has plainer headlights as well as chrome outside moldings.
At 188.4 inches long and also 75.2 inches broad, the Highlander casts about the exact same shadow as a Honda Pilot, Subaru Tribeca or Hyundai Veracruz. The Mazda CX-9 as well as Saturn Outlook are both concerning a foot much longer.
Toyota has actually spent years developing a reputation for top quality, and also absent any type of serious competitors, the new Highlander might have kept that standard. The competition is absolutely nothing if not significant, however, and also SUVs like the CX-9 as well as Veracruz boast some impressively upscale interiors. In contrast, Toyota falls a little bit short.
The Highlander shares underpinnings with the existing Camry, and the control panel births much of the sedan's taste. The facility controls are the natural prime focus, with oversized knobs for significant functions within simple reach. Sporting activity and also Limited designs have a 3.5-inch screen atop the stereo. It presents gas mileage, outside temperature level and more. It additionally reveals settings for the optional automatic environment control system, which could split the cabin right into as several as 3 temperature areas-- 2 front and also one rear. The climate regulates rest listed below the stereo, and they're very chaotic. I counted 13 buttons in between the two temperature knobs; that's a lot of ground to cover when you're referencing a readout some 10 inches away. In contrast, the basic manual cooling is basic.
Cabin top quality is merely typical. The home window switches, turn signals and facility controls can go straight right into a Lexus, and also the chrome accents and also electroluminescent determines appearance fantastic. Many locations are cut in difficult plastics, nonetheless, and also the textures lack the charm of right stuff in numerous competitors. Most awful of all is the ceiling's headliner, which is several of the cheapest computer mouse fur this side of an economic climate car.
Moms and dads will certainly value the storage alternatives. The facility console between the pole positions has 4 cupholders and also a large storage container. Neglect laptops; the glove box might fit a little desktop. (Possibly not the monitor, though-- let's not get carried away.).
Three basic rows of seats accommodate up to 7, though you can drop the third row in order to save a little money, reducing seatsing ability to 5. The front seats provide a lot of room, with a method extender in the Highlander Limited that extends the padding under the motorist's thighs. Nice touch.
The 2nd row is similarly wide, with reclining backrests and also seat pillows that change backward and forward. The center seat has Toyota's brand-new Facility Stow attribute. It's primarily a jump seat, which passengers could swap for a plastic center console, turning the 2nd row into 2 captain's chairs. The unused part-- either the middle seat or console-- shops in a flooring area between the pole positions. After a couple of practice runs, I was able to make the modification in around 25 seconds.
The dive seat is light sufficient for easy installation. Its comfort is trial and error, even for a center seat; the bottom cushion is substantial, yet I might easily really feel the hinges below the backrest padding. The plastic console is lighter still, and both pieces have strong setup hooks that must survive a lot of knocking from overenthusiastic children.
Depending on where the 2nd row is placed, the 3rd row can be surprisingly adult-friendly. I'm 6 feet tall as well as located headroom a bit limited, but with the 2nd row moved on a few inches-- preserving lots of legroom for the majority of adults-- the third row's legroom was such that I might tolerate a brief trip.
Bigger Engine, Better Gas Mileage
All Highlanders get the 3.5-liter V-6 from the Camry, Sienna and several other Toyotas. In the Highlander it makes 270 horse power and also 248 pounds-feet of torque. Both are substantial gains over last year's V-6, that made 215 hp and 222 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed transmission is basic. In 2014's base four-cylinder engine has been dropped.
Velocity is adequate off the line and also stronger as the engine revs. The transmission aids points along, holding gears as well as seldom shifting too soon. Difficult velocity could motivate some abrupt transitions amongst lower equipments-- better for velocity, even worse for comfort-- however most of the moment the shifts are smooth enough to pass undiscovered. The drivetrain really feels finest on the freeway, where it downshifts with very little gear hunting. 3rd equipment is particularly potent for 50-to-70 miles per hour passing away.
The optional 4x4 is transparent to the chauffeur. It includes a facility differential to divide power 50/50 between the front and also back wheels all of the time. Four-wheel-drive versions have a downhill help function. Press a dashboard switch, and it will reduce the SUV to a crawl down steep qualities. The feature appears a little bit insincere: There is no reduced equipment for offroad rock crawling, which indicates you must probably stay clear of anywhere treacherous sufficient to call for the downhill help.
All Highlanders have a hill-start aid that holds the brakes for up to three secs from a stop to avoid the SUV from rolling in reverse before you have time to hit the gas.
Utilizing the EPA's more realistic 2008 score system-- which normally causes reduce numbers-- gas mileage is ranked at 18/24 mpg (city/highway) for two-wheel-drive designs and also 17/23 mpg for those with 4x4. These scores lead most midsize SUVs by 1 or 2 mpg. They additionally beat the old V-6 Highlander by around 1 mpg (adjusted utilizing the EPA's new estimation)-- a remarkable accomplishment, given the brand-new Highlander has even more power as well as evaluates some 300 extra pounds extra. (Four-cylinder followers won't miss much: The old four-cylinder Highlander got simply 1 mpg greater than the brand-new one does with the V-6.).
Flight & Handling
The unibody construction manages a comfy flight, with none of the underbody vibrating that afflicted the previous Highlander (which was likewise unibody) and lots of body-on-frame SUVs. The four-wheel-independent suspension is sport-tuned in the Highlander Sporting activity, yet I couldn't discover a distinction in ride suppleness amongst the base, Sport as well as Limited. All 3 have a little bit much more suspension noise over major bumps than I have actually pertained to expect in a midsize SUV.
Wind noise is minimal. Provided a smooth stretch of asphalt, the tires are fairly peaceful. The Sport and also Limited's 19-inch wheels and also P245/55R19 tires emit a small hum at highway rates, which I couldn't detect with the base model's 17-inchers and thicker P245/65R19 rubber.
All versions currently feature electric power steering. These systems conserve a bit on fuel consumption-- a little bit of low-hanging fruit to fulfill the federal government's fuel economy criteria, I presume-- but they commonly cause drab, fabricated steering feeling. Expectedly, the Highlander steers with a light touch, never delivering much in the way of comments or turning accuracy. The CX-9 fares better here, yet few other rivals attract attention. The exact same is true for body roll: Like many SUVs, the Highlander leans away in contours, advising vehicle drivers it's not to be collared quickly.
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are typical. The pedal uses mushy response, but the brakes clamp down hard when needed.
Freight & Towing
With all three rows mounted as well as increased, cargo area in back is a weak 10.3 cubic feet. The third row folds up level into the floor, and the 2nd row folds up virtually level. Highlanders without the third row instead include a relatively big storage location under the rear flooring.
With all seats folded, optimal freight quantity is 95.4 cubic feet, which compares extra favorably with the crowd.
When properly equipped, the Highlander can tow as much as 5,000 pounds.
Safety and security.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and security frontal crash examinations, the 2008 Highlander scored the highest score, Good. IIHS has actually not evaluated the Highlander for side effects.
Toyota really did not skimp on safety functions. All Highlanders come basic with four-wheel-disc anti-skid brakes, grip control and a digital stability system. The security system now deals with the electrical power steering, which improves the power help when the motorist is steering to correct a skid. It likewise aids battle guiding pull under tough stopping in order to help the Highlander drop in a straight line. (Toyota states the system can not steer the SUV on its own, as some sophisticated systems currently do, so if you guide the upside-down in a skid, don't expect any added power assist.).
Seven airbags are typical, consisting of the needed double front air bags, a motorist's knee airbag and also side-impact air bags for the pole positions. There are also roll-sensing side curtain air bags for all three rows, which deploy throughout a rollover to avoid occupant ejection.
All seats have head restrictions, as well as in Sport and Limited versions, the front ones are forward-adjustable for better whiplash protection. Energetic head restraints are basic on the pole positions of all trims. The 2nd row includes Latch child-seat anchors in the outboard seats, with conveniently obtainable top-tether supports midway down the seatback.
Features & Pricing
Leaving out the location charge, the base Highlander with two-wheel drive begins at $27,300. A Highlander Limited with a full bunch of alternatives playings around $42,000. 4x4 on any trim adds about $1,500. All trim levels come with 3 rows of seats, though a third-row remove choice on specific models can save $740.
-For $27,300, the base Highlander includes 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless access, a CD stereo with a supporting MP3 jack, air conditioning, cruise control, and power home windows, mirrors and door locks.
-For $29,950, the Sporting activity adds dark exterior components, 19-inch wheels, fog lights, a power driver's seat, a multifunction steering wheel, a back-up camera and six-CD sound.
-For $32,700, the Limited includes a keyless start-up system, automated climate control, leather upholstery and a power traveler seat. Most of these functions are optional on the Sport. Alternatives on both trim degrees consist of a navigating system, JBL premium sound, a rear seat DVD gamer, a moonroof, a power tailgate as well as warmed front seats.
Highlander in the Market
Competitors from GM, Mazda and Hyundai will certainly provide the Highlander a run for its money. Its largest rival, the Honda Pilot, schedules for a redesign in the next year or more, as well as Toyota's trump card-- its reputation for high quality as well as integrity-- has actually been slipping recently. The car manufacturer has actually promised to redouble its initiatives, as well as its latest SUV has to prove that.
The brand-new Highlander has lots of book perceptiveness, like respectable gas mileage and also lots of safety attributes, but there's nothing outstanding about it. If it verifies as bulletproof as its precursor, however, stability will become its defining quality, which is a textbook draw a great deal of customers can get behind.