The Highlander qualifies on all counts, though it does not master any kind of one area. Provided it can maintain its superior resale worth and reliability, it should confirm a clever-- if not particularly exciting-- selection for years to find.
Base, Sporting activity and also Limited trim levels feature front- or four-wheel drive, and all could seat five or 7, relying on the arrangement. Costs vary from approximately $27,000 to $40,000 with alternatives.
I checked all three trim levels of the regular Highlander at a Toyota occasion in Michigan.
2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Toyota's The golden state layout workshops sculpted the exterior, which is bigger in all major measurements than the old Highlander. To my eyes, Toyota's smaller RAV4 SUV looks better-proportioned, with just enough contours to balance out the angles. With its creased headlights, flashy grille as well as amorphous bumper, the Highlander seems a bit also slick-- like a corner store buyer that won't take off his sunglasses.
The rear bumper has lumpy reflectors on each side, as well as many trim levels have a glass hatch that opens independent of the liftgate. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are typical; the Sport and Limited have 19-inchers that fill in the wheel wells nicely. The Sporting activity has a dark silver grille and also smoked-out fronts lights. The Limited has plainer fronts lights as well as chrome outside moldings.
At 188.4 inches long and also 75.2 inches broad, the Highlander casts about the very same darkness as a Honda Pilot, Subaru Tribeca or Hyundai Veracruz. The Mazda CX-9 and also Saturn Expectation are both regarding a foot longer.
Toyota has actually spent years constructing an online reputation for top quality, and absent any severe competition, the brand-new Highlander may have preserved that criterion. The competitors is absolutely nothing if not severe, though, as well as SUVs like the CX-9 and also Veracruz boast some impressively upscale interiors. In comparison, Toyota falls a bit short.
The Highlander shares foundations with the current Camry, and the control panel births much of the car's taste. The center controls are the all-natural centerpiece, with oversized handles for major features within easy reach. Sport and also Limited models have a 3.5-inch screen atop the stereo. It displays gas mileage, outside temperature and more. It also shows settings for the optional automated environment control system, which could separate the cabin right into as several as three temperature zones-- 2 front and one back. The climate manages sit below the stereo, as well as they're extremely cluttered. I counted 13 switches between both temperature level handles; that's a lot of ground to cover when you're referencing a readout some 10 inches away. In contrast, the standard hand-operated a/c is basic.
Cabin top quality is merely typical. The home window switches over, turn signals as well as center controls could go straight into a Lexus, and also the chrome accents and electroluminescent assesses look fantastic. A lot of locations are cut in hard plastics, nevertheless, as well as the textures lack the charm of right stuff in a number of rivals. Most awful of all is the ceiling's headliner, which is a few of the cheapest mouse fur this side of an economic climate car.
Moms and dads will certainly appreciate the storage choices. The facility console in between the front seats has 4 cupholders and a broad storage container. Fail to remember laptop computers; the glove box might fit a small computer. (Probably not the screen, though-- let's not get carried away.).
3 typical rows of seats accommodate up to 7, though you can go down the third row in order to save a little cash, decreasing seatsing ability to 5. The front seats offer plenty of space, with a technique extender in the Highlander Limited that prolongs the padding under the vehicle driver's thighs. Good touch.
The 2nd row is just as wide, with reclining backrests and seat cushions that adjust backward and forward. The center seat has Toyota's brand-new Center Stow feature. It's generally a dive seat, which passengers can exchange for a plastic center console, transforming the 2nd row right into 2 captain's chairs. The unused part-- either the middle seat or console-- shops in a floor compartment between the pole positions. After a few practice runs, I had the ability to make the adjustment in around 25 secs.
The dive seat is light enough for very easy installment. Its comfort is trial and error, even for a middle seat; the bottom pillow is significant, yet I could quickly feel the hinges beneath the backrest cushioning. The plastic console is lighter still, and also both pieces have tough installment hooks that should survive a lot of knocking from overenthusiastic kids.
Relying on where the second row is placed, the 3rd row can be remarkably adult-friendly. I'm 6 feet high and also located clearance a little bit limited, however with the 2nd row moved forward a few inches-- maintaining plenty of legroom for most grownups-- the 3rd row's legroom was such that I might endure a brief trip.
Larger Engine, Better Gas Mileage
All Highlanders obtain the 3.5-liter V-6 from the Camry, Sienna as well as several other Toyotas. In the Highlander it makes 270 horse power and 248 pounds-feet of torque. Both are considerable gains over last year's V-6, that made 215 hp and also 222 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. In 2014's base four-cylinder engine has been gone down.
Velocity is adequate off the line and more powerful as the engine revs. The transmission assists things along, holding gears and also hardly ever changing prematurely. Hard velocity can prompt some sudden shifts amongst lower gears-- better for acceleration, worse for convenience-- however a lot of the time the shifts are smooth sufficient to pass unseen. The drivetrain really feels best on the highway, where it downshifts with very little equipment searching. Third equipment is particularly potent for 50-to-70 mph passing.
The optional 4x4 is clear to the driver. It incorporates a facility differential to split power 50/50 between the front and rear wheels every one of the time. Four-wheel-drive models 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 low gear for offroad rock crawling, which means you need to most likely avoid anywhere treacherous adequate to require the downhill aid.
All Highlanders have a hill-start help that holds the brakes for as much as 3 seconds from a stop to stop the SUV from rolling in reverse prior to you have time to hit the gas.
Using the EPA's more practical 2008 score system-- which typically brings about lower numbers-- gas mileage is ranked at 18/24 mpg (city/highway) for two-wheel-drive designs and also 17/23 mpg for those with four-wheel drive. These ratings lead most midsize SUVs by 1 or 2 mpg. They also defeated the old V-6 Highlander by about 1 mpg (readjusted utilizing the EPA's new estimation)-- an outstanding feat, provided the brand-new Highlander has even more power and evaluates some 300 pounds extra. (Four-cylinder fans will not miss much: The old four-cylinder Highlander obtained simply 1 mpg greater than the new one finishes with the V-6.).
Trip & Handling
The unibody construction manages a comfortable ride, with none of the underbody shimmying that plagued the previous Highlander (which was also unibody) and numerous body-on-frame SUVs. The four-wheel-independent suspension is sport-tuned in the Highlander Sporting activity, yet I could not find a difference in trip firmness amongst the base, Sporting activity and also Limited. All 3 have a little bit more suspension sound over significant bumps than I have actually concerned expect in a midsize SUV.
Wind noise is marginal. Offered a smooth stretch of asphalt, the tires are fairly quiet. The Sporting activity and Limited's 19-inch wheels and P245/55R19 tires discharge a mild hum at highway rates, which I couldn't identify with the base design's 17-inchers and also thicker P245/65R19 rubber.
All models now come with electric power steering. These systems save a bit on fuel intake-- a little bit of low-hanging fruit to meet the government's gas economic situation standards, I suspect-- however they commonly lead to lifeless, man-made guiding feel. Expectedly, the Highlander guides with a light touch, never supplying much in the means of feedback or transforming precision. The CX-9 prices much better here, yet couple of other competitors stand apart. The exact 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 caught swiftly.
Four-wheel-disc anti-skid brakes are conventional. The pedal offers squishy response, but the brakes clamp down hard when required.
Freight & Towing
With all three rows set up and also increased, cargo space in back is a weak 10.3 cubic feet. The third row folds level right into the flooring, as well as the 2nd row folds nearly level. Highlanders without the 3rd row rather consist of a relatively huge storage area under the back floor.
With all seats folded up, optimal cargo volume is 95.4 cubic feet, which contrasts a lot more positively with the crowd.
When correctly outfitted, the Highlander could tow approximately 5,000 pounds.
Safety and security.
In Insurance Policy Institute for Freeway Security frontal accident tests, the 2008 Highlander scored the highest possible rating, Great. IIHS has actually not examined the Highlander for side impacts.
Toyota really did not skimp on safety and security features. All Highlanders come typical with four-wheel-disc anti-skid brakes, traction control and a digital security system. The security system now collaborates with the electrical power steering, which boosts the power aid when the vehicle driver is steering to remedy a skid. It likewise helps battle steering pull under difficult braking 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 now do, so if you steer the wrong way in a skid, don't expect any type of additional power assist.).
Seven airbags are typical, including the required dual front airbags, a motorist's knee air bag and also side-impact air bags for the front seats. There are additionally roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all three rows, which release during a rollover to avoid resident ejection.
All seats have head restrictions, and in Sporting activity and Limited versions, the front ones are forward-adjustable for much better whiplash security. Active head restrictions are common on the front seats of all trims. The 2nd row includes Latch child-seat anchors in the outboard seats, with conveniently available top-tether anchors midway down the seatback.
Features & Rates
Leaving out the destination fee, the base Highlander with two-wheel drive begins at $27,300. A Highlander Limited with a full bunch of options playings around $42,000. 4x4 on any trim adds concerning $1,500. All trim levels come with 3 rows of seats, though a third-row erase alternative on particular versions could conserve $740.
-For $27,300, the base Highlander includes 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, a CD stereo with a complementary MP3 jack, air conditioning, cruise ship control, and also power windows, mirrors as well as door locks.
-For $29,950, the Sport adds dark exterior aspects, 19-inch wheels, haze lights, a power vehicle driver's seat, a multifunction steering wheel, a backup camera and also six-CD sound.
-For $32,700, the Minimal includes a keyless startup system, automated environment control, natural leather upholstery and a power passenger seat. Much of these functions are optional on the Sporting activity. Choices on both trim levels consist of a navigation system, JBL costs sound, a backseat DVD player, a moonroof, a power tailgate as well as warmed front seats.
Highlander out there
Rivals from GM, Mazda and Hyundai will certainly give the Highlander a run for its cash. Its biggest rival, the Honda Pilot, is due for a redesign in the following year or more, and also Toyota's trump card-- its track record for quality and reliability-- has been slipping recently. The automaker has actually vowed to enhance its initiatives, and its most current SUV must confirm that.
The brand-new Highlander has great deals of textbook perceptiveness, like suitable gas mileage as well as loads of security functions, however there's nothing extraordinary regarding it. If it shows as bulletproof as its precursor, though, stability will become its defining quality, which is a book attract a lot of purchasers can support.