The Highlander makes the grade on all matters, though it doesn't master any type of one location. Given it can maintain its outstanding resale worth and also integrity, it ought to verify a smart-- if not especially exciting-- selection for several years to find.
Base, Sport as well as Limited trim levels come with front- or 4x4, and all can seat 5 or 7, relying on the arrangement. Rates vary from roughly $27,000 to $40,000 with alternatives.
I tested all 3 trim levels of the regular Highlander at a Toyota occasion in Michigan.
2008 Toyota Highlander Sport
Toyota's The golden state style studios sculpted 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 adequate curves to counter the angles. With its creased fronts lights, fancy grille and amorphous bumper, the Highlander appears a bit too slick-- like a corner store customer that won't take off his sunglasses.
The back bumper has lumpy reflectors on each side, as well as many trim degrees have a glass hatch that opens up independent of the liftgate. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are typical; the Sport and 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 chrome exterior moldings.
At 188.4 inches long and also 75.2 inches broad, the Highlander casts about the exact same darkness as a Honda Pilot, Subaru Tribeca or Hyundai Veracruz. The Mazda CX-9 and Saturn Overview are both concerning a foot longer.
Toyota has invested years building a reputation for quality, and lacking any kind of major competition, the brand-new Highlander could have preserved that standard. The competition is nothing otherwise major, however, and also SUVs like the CX-9 and Veracruz flaunt some impressively high end insides. In contrast, Toyota drops a little bit short.
The Highlander shares supports with the existing Camry, as well as the dashboard births much of the sedan's taste. The center controls are the all-natural centerpiece, with oversized handles for major features within easy reach. Sporting activity as well as Limited models have a 3.5-inch screen atop the stereo. It presents gas mileage, outside temperature level and even more. It likewise shows settings for the optional automatic environment control system, which can split the cabin into as many as 3 temperature zones-- 2 front and one rear. The climate manages sit below the stereo, and they're very chaotic. I counted 13 switches in between the two temperature level handles; that's a great deal of ground to cover when you're referencing a readout some 10 inches away. On the other hand, the common manual a/c is basic.
Cabin quality is simply typical. The home window changes, turn signals and also facility controls can go straight into a Lexus, as well as the chrome accents as well as electroluminescent assesses appearance fantastic. A lot of areas are cut in hard plastics, nonetheless, as well as the structures lack the appeal of the stuff in numerous rivals. Most severe of all is the ceiling's headliner, which is several of the least expensive computer mouse hair this side of an economy cars and truck.
Moms and dads will value the storage choices. The center console in between the pole positions has 4 cupholders and also a vast storage bin. Forget laptop computers; the glove box can fit a little desktop computer. (Probably not the screen, however-- allow's not obtain carried away.).
Three typical rows of seats fit approximately seven, though you could go down the 3rd row in order to conserve a little cash money, minimizing seating capacity to 5. The pole positions provide lots of room, with a trick extender in the Highlander Limited that expands the pillow under the motorist's thighs. Great touch.
The second row is similarly wide, with reclining back-rests and also seat paddings that readjust backward and forward. The center seat has Toyota's brand-new Facility Stow feature. It's essentially a dive seat, which passengers can swap for a plastic facility console, turning the 2nd row into 2 captain's chairs. The unused part-- either the center seat or console-- shops in a floor area in between the pole positions. After a couple of practice runs, I was able to make the adjustment in around 25 secs.
The dive seat is light enough for simple installment. Its convenience is hit and miss, even for a middle seat; the bottom padding is substantial, however I can quickly feel the hinges under the back-rest padding. The plastic console is lighter still, as well as both items have sturdy setup hooks that must endure plenty of knocking from overenthusiastic kids.
Depending upon where the 2nd row is positioned, the third row can be remarkably adult-friendly. I'm 6 feet tall and found clearance a bit tight, yet with the second row moved on a few inches-- maintaining a lot of legroom for the majority of grownups-- the 3rd row's legroom was such that I could tolerate a short trip.
Bigger Engine, Better Gas Mileage
All Highlanders obtain the 3.5-liter V-6 from the Camry, Sienna and also a number of other Toyotas. In the Highlander it makes 270 horsepower and also 248 pounds-feet of torque. Both are considerable gains over in 2015's V-6, makinged 215 hp and 222 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed transmission is standard. In 2014's base four-cylinder engine has actually been gone down.
Acceleration suffices off the line as well as stronger as the engine revs. The transmission aids things along, holding gears and rarely changing too soon. Tough velocity could trigger some abrupt transitions amongst lower equipments-- better for acceleration, worse for convenience-- yet a lot of the time the shifts are smooth enough to pass unseen. The drivetrain really feels ideal on the freeway, where it downshifts with minimal equipment hunting. 3rd gear is specifically powerful for 50-to-70 mph death.
The optional four-wheel drive is transparent to the chauffeur. It includes a facility differential to divide power 50/50 in between the front and back wheels every one of the moment. Four-wheel-drive designs have a downhill assist feature. Press a control panel switch, and also it will certainly reduce the SUV to a crawl down steep qualities. The feature appears a bit disingenuous: There is no reduced gear for offroad rock crawling, which suggests you need to most likely avoid anywhere treacherous enough to call for the downhill help.
All Highlanders have a hill-start aid that holds the brakes for as much as 3 secs from a quit to avoid the SUV from rolling backward before you have time to strike the gas.
Utilizing the EPA's more reasonable 2008 score system-- which typically leads to decrease numbers-- gas mileage is rated at 18/24 mpg (city/highway) for two-wheel-drive designs and also 17/23 mpg for those with 4x4. These ratings lead most midsize SUVs by 1 or 2 mpg. They also defeated the old V-6 Highlander by about 1 mpg (adjusted using the EPA's brand-new estimation)-- an outstanding feat, provided the brand-new Highlander has even more power and considers some 300 extra pounds a lot more. (Four-cylinder followers won't miss out on much: The old four-cylinder Highlander obtained simply 1 mpg greater than the brand-new one finishes with the V-6.).
Flight & Handling
The unibody construction manages a comfortable trip, with none of the underbody vibrating that tormented the previous Highlander (which was likewise unibody) as well as many body-on-frame SUVs. The four-wheel-independent suspension is sport-tuned in the Highlander Sporting activity, but I couldn't detect a difference in trip suppleness amongst the base, Sport and also Limited. All three have a little bit more suspension sound over significant bumps compared to I have actually come to anticipate in a midsize SUV.
Wind sound is minimal. Given a smooth stretch of asphalt, the tires are relatively quiet. The Sporting activity and Limited's 19-inch wheels as well as P245/55R19 tires produce a minor hum at freeway speeds, which I couldn't find with the base version's 17-inchers and also thicker P245/65R19 rubber.
All versions currently include electric power guiding. These systems save a bit on fuel consumption-- a little low-hanging fruit to satisfy the federal government's fuel economic situation standards, I suspect-- but they commonly result in lifeless, artificial guiding feel. Expectedly, the Highlander steers with a light touch, never ever supplying a lot in the means of comments or transforming precision. The CX-9 fares much better hereof, but couple of other rivals stand out. The exact same is true for body roll: Like most SUVs, the Highlander leans away in contours, advising chauffeurs it's not to be cornered quickly.
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are typical. The pedal uses spongy action, but the brakes clamp down hard when needed.
Freight & Towing
With all 3 rows installed and raised, cargo area in back is a weak 10.3 cubic feet. The 3rd row folds up level into the floor, and the second row folds up nearly flat. Highlanders without the 3rd row instead consist of a rather large storage space location under the back floor.
With all seats folded, optimal cargo quantity is 95.4 cubic feet, which compares much more favorably with the group.
When correctly equipped, the Highlander can tow as much as 5,000 extra pounds.
In Insurance Coverage Institute for Freeway Security frontal collision examinations, the 2008 Highlander racked up the highest rating, Great. IIHS has not checked the Highlander for side influences.
Toyota really did not skimp on safety and security features. All Highlanders come typical with four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, traction control and a digital security system. The security system currently collaborates with the electric power guiding, which increases the power help when the chauffeur is steering to deal with a skid. It likewise helps fight guiding pull under hard stopping in order to help the Highlander drop in a straight line. (Toyota states the system can not guide the SUV by itself, as some sophisticated systems now do, so if you guide the wrong way in a skid, don't anticipate any type of extra power aid.).
7 air bags are conventional, including the required dual front airbags, a motorist's knee airbag and also side-impact air bags for the pole positions. There are likewise roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all 3 rows, which release throughout a rollover to prevent owner ejection.
All seats have head restrictions, as well as in Sport and also Limited designs, the front ones are forward-adjustable for far better whiplash security. Energetic head restrictions are basic on the pole positions of all trims. The second row includes Latch child-seat anchors in the outboard seats, with conveniently accessible top-tether supports midway down the seatback.
Features & Rates
Leaving out 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. 4x4 on any type of trim includes about $1,500. All trim degrees come with three rows of seats, though a third-row remove alternative on certain designs can conserve $740.
-For $27,300, the base Highlander comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entrance, a CD stereo with a supporting MP3 jack, a/c, cruise control, as well as power windows, mirrors as well as door locks.
-For $29,950, the Sport includes darkened outside elements, 19-inch wheels, fog lights, a power vehicle driver's seat, a multifunction steering wheel, a backup video camera as well as six-CD audio.
-For $32,700, the Limited includes a keyless startup system, automated climate control, leather furniture and a power guest seat. Many of these attributes are optional on the Sporting activity. Alternatives on both trim levels consist of a navigation system, JBL costs audio, a backseat DVD gamer, a moonroof, a power tailgate as well as warmed pole positions.
Highlander on the market
Rivals from GM, Mazda as well as Hyundai will provide the Highlander a run for its money. Its biggest competitor, the Honda Pilot, schedules for a redesign in the next year or more, and also Toyota's key resource-- its track record for high quality and integrity-- has actually been sliding lately. The car manufacturer has vowed to redouble its initiatives, and its most recent SUV must confirm that.
The brand-new Highlander has lots of book sensibilities, like respectable gas mileage as well as tons of safety and security features, yet there's absolutely nothing outstanding regarding it. If it shows as bulletproof as its precursor, though, stability will become its specifying characteristic, which is a book draw a lot of buyers could support.