The Highlander qualifies on all matters, though it does not excel in any kind of one area. Offered it could preserve its impressive resale value and also reliability, it ought to verify a smart-- if not particularly exciting-- selection for several years to come.
Base, Sport and Limited trim levels include front- or 4x4, and all can seat five or 7, depending on the setup. Prices range from approximately $27,000 to $40,000 with choices.
I evaluated all 3 trim levels of the normal Highlander at a Toyota occasion in Michigan.
2008 Toyota Highlander Limited
Toyota's The golden state layout studios formed the exterior, which is larger in all major 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 headlights, fancy grille and also characterless bumper, the Highlander appears a bit also slick-- like a convenience store customer that won't remove his sunglasses.
The rear bumper has lumpy reflectors on each side, and many trim degrees have a glass hatch that opens up independent of the liftgate. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard; the Sporting activity and also Limited have 19-inchers that submit the wheel wells well. The Sporting activity has a dark silver grille and also smoked-out fronts lights. The Limited has plainer fronts lights and also chrome exterior moldings.
At 188.4 inches long and 75.2 inches wide, the Highlander casts about the very same shadow as a Honda Pilot, Subaru Tribeca or Hyundai Veracruz. The Mazda CX-9 and also Saturn Overview are both concerning a foot much longer.
Toyota has spent years building an online reputation for top quality, as well as missing any major competition, the brand-new Highlander might have preserved that requirement. The competition is nothing otherwise major, however, and also SUVs like the CX-9 and also Veracruz flaunt some impressively high end insides. In comparison, Toyota drops a little bit brief.
The Highlander shares bases with the present Camry, and the dashboard bears a lot of the car's flavor. The facility controls are the all-natural centerpiece, with extra-large knobs for significant features within easy reach. Sport and Limited designs have a 3.5-inch display atop the stereo. It displays gas mileage, outside temperature and also more. It likewise shows setups for the optional automatic environment control system, which can divide the cabin right into as many as three temperature level areas-- 2 front as well as one back. The climate manages rest below the stereo, as well as they're extremely cluttered. I counted 13 buttons between both temperature handles; that's a lot of ground to cover when you're referencing a readout some 10 inches away. On the other hand, the typical hands-on a/c is easy.
Cabin quality is simply average. The home window changes, turn signals and center controls might go straight into a Lexus, and the chrome accents and also electroluminescent assesses look terrific. A lot of areas are cut in difficult plastics, however, and also the textures do not have the allure of right stuff in a number of rivals. Most severe of all is the ceiling's headliner, which is several of the most inexpensive computer mouse fur this side of an economic situation automobile.
Moms and dads will certainly appreciate the storage space alternatives. The facility console between the front seats has 4 cupholders as well as a large storage bin. Neglect laptop computers; the handwear cover box can fit a small desktop. (Probably not the monitor, however-- allow's not obtain carried away.).
3 common rows of seats accommodate up to 7, though you could go down the 3rd row in order to conserve a little money, decreasing sitting capacity to five. The pole positions use lots of space, with a method extender in the Highlander Limited that prolongs the padding under the driver's thighs. Great touch.
The 2nd row is equally wide, with reclining back-rests as well as seat paddings that readjust backward and forward. The facility seat has Toyota's brand-new Facility Stow attribute. It's basically a jump seat, which travelers can switch for a plastic center console, transforming the second row right into 2 captain's chairs. The unused section-- 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 change in around 25 secs.
The dive seat is light sufficient for easy setup. Its convenience is trial and error, even for a center seat; the bottom padding is significant, yet I could quickly feel the joints below the backrest padding. The plastic console is lighter still, and both pieces have strong installation hooks that ought to survive a lot of thrashing from overenthusiastic children.
Depending on where the 2nd row is placed, the 3rd row can be remarkably adult-friendly. I'm 6 feet tall as well as located headroom a little bit limited, however with the 2nd row moved forward a couple of inches-- protecting lots of legroom for most grownups-- the third row's legroom was such that I might endure a brief journey.
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 horse power and also 248 pounds-feet of torque. Both are substantial gains over last year's V-6, that made 215 hp and also 222 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed transmission is basic. In 2014's base four-cylinder engine has been gone down.
Acceleration suffices off the line and stronger as the engine revs. The transmission aids points along, holding gears and also seldom changing prematurely. Hard acceleration can prompt some sudden changes amongst reduced equipments-- much better for acceleration, even worse for convenience-- however the majority of the time the shifts are smooth sufficient to pass undiscovered. The drivetrain really feels finest on the freeway, where it downshifts with minimal gear hunting. 3rd equipment is particularly powerful for 50-to-70 miles per hour passing.
The optional four-wheel drive is clear to the vehicle driver. It integrates a facility differential to divide power 50/50 between the front and also back wheels all the time. Four-wheel-drive models have a downhill help function. Press a dashboard switch, and also it will slow down the SUV to a crawl down steep qualities. The attribute seems a bit insincere: There is no low equipment for offroad rock crawling, which means you ought to most likely avoid anywhere treacherous sufficient to call for the downhill help.
All Highlanders have a hill-start aid that holds the brakes for approximately 3 seconds from a stop to avoid the SUV from rolling in reverse prior to you have time to strike the gas.
Using the EPA's even more sensible 2008 ranking system-- which normally results in reduce numbers-- gas mileage is ranked at 18/24 mpg (city/highway) for two-wheel-drive models and also 17/23 mpg for those with four-wheel drive. These scores lead most midsize SUVs by 1 or 2 mpg. They also defeated the old V-6 Highlander by about 1 mpg (changed utilizing the EPA's brand-new computation)-- an impressive task, given the 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 brand-new one finishes with the V-6.).
Flight & Handling
The unibody building manages a comfortable flight, with none of the underbody shimmying that afflicted the previous Highlander (which was also unibody) as well as numerous body-on-frame SUVs. The four-wheel-independent suspension is sport-tuned in the Highlander Sporting activity, however I couldn't find a difference in trip firmness amongst the base, Sport as well as Limited. All 3 have a little bit much more suspension sound over major bumps compared to I have actually involved anticipate in a midsize SUV.
Wind noise is marginal. Offered a smooth stretch of asphalt, the tires are fairly peaceful. The Sport and Limited's 19-inch wheels as well as P245/55R19 tires release a mild hum at highway rates, which I could not identify with the base model's 17-inchers and thicker P245/65R19 rubber.
All models currently have electric power steering. These systems conserve a little bit on gas consumption-- a bit of low-hanging fruit to fulfill the government's fuel economy criteria, I suspect-- however they commonly result in lifeless, synthetic steering feel. Expectedly, the Highlander steers with a light touch, never supplying a lot in the means of comments or transforming precision. The CX-9 prices better hereof, but few other competitors stick out. The exact same holds true for body roll: Like the majority of SUVs, the Highlander leans away in curves, reminding chauffeurs it's not to be caught promptly.
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are common. The pedal offers mushy feedback, but the brakes clamp down hard when required.
Freight & Towing
With all 3 rows installed as well as increased, cargo area in back is a meager 10.3 cubic feet. The third row folds up level into the flooring, as well as the second row folds up nearly level. Highlanders without the third row instead include a relatively huge storage location under the back floor.
With all seats folded, maximum cargo volume is 95.4 cubic feet, which contrasts a lot more favorably with the crowd.
When appropriately furnished, the Highlander can tow approximately 5,000 pounds.
Safety and security.
In Insurance Policy Institute for Freeway Safety and security frontal accident examinations, the 2008 Highlander scored the greatest rating, Good. IIHS has actually not evaluated the Highlander for side effects.
Toyota didn't skimp on safety attributes. All Highlanders come common with four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, traction control as well as a digital stability system. The stability system now collaborates with the electric power guiding, which improves the power assist when the motorist is steering to deal with a skid. It additionally aids fight steering pull under difficult braking to assist the Highlander drop in a straight line. (Toyota says the system can not guide the SUV by itself, as some sophisticated systems currently do, so if you steer the upside-down in a skid, do not anticipate any kind of added power aid.).
Seven air bags are conventional, consisting of the required double front air bags, a driver's knee airbag and side-impact air bags for the pole positions. There are additionally roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all three rows, which release throughout a rollover to avoid passenger ejection.
All seats have head restraints, and in Sport as well as Limited versions, the front ones are forward-adjustable for far better whiplash security. Energetic head restrictions are typical on the pole positions of all trims. The 2nd row includes Latch child-seat supports in the outboard seats, with easily accessible top-tether supports midway down the seatback.
Attributes & Pricing
Excluding the destination cost, the base Highlander with two-wheel drive begins at $27,300. A Highlander Limited with a full collection of choices runs around $42,000. Four-wheel drive on any trim adds concerning $1,500. All trim degrees come with three rows of seats, though a third-row erase option on certain versions could save $740.
-For $27,300, the base Highlander features 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless access, a CD stereo with an auxiliary MP3 jack, a/c, cruise ship control, and also power windows, mirrors as well as door locks.
-For $29,950, the Sport includes darkened outside components, 19-inch wheels, fog lights, a power motorist's seat, a multifunction steering wheel, a backup video camera and also six-CD sound.
-For $32,700, the Limited includes a keyless startup system, automatic climate control, leather furniture and also a power traveler seat. Most of these attributes are optional on the Sport. Choices on both trim levels include a navigation system, JBL premium audio, a backseat DVD player, a moonroof, a power tailgate and also heated pole positions.
Highlander in the Market
Rivals from GM, Mazda and also Hyundai will offer the Highlander a run for its cash. Its biggest opponent, the Honda Pilot, is due for a redesign in the next year or two, and Toyota's trump card-- its online reputation for high quality and also integrity-- has been sliding lately. The automaker has actually vowed to enhance its initiatives, and its most current SUV has to prove that.
The brand-new Highlander has lots of book perceptiveness, like decent gas mileage and tons of security attributes, but there's absolutely nothing phenomenal about it. If it proves as bulletproof as its predecessor, though, stability will certainly become its specifying attribute, which is a textbook attract a great deal of buyers could support.