By on February 10, 2014

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One day, about a month ago, a vehicle that I had never really given much thought to entered my consciousness quite forcefully. My phone rang, and on the other end was a family member informing me that my sister-in-law had been involved in a serious auto accident. She had been traveling through an intersection when another motorist had run the red light going the opposite direction. It was a hard hit. In fact, the impact was severe enough to flip my sister-in-law’s car was onto its roof. What’s more, her three-year-old son, my nephew, had been in the back seat. They both left the accident totally unharmed.

Her car? A 1st gen Toyota Highlander. So, at least in part, I owe the safety and security of my extended family to the car-based Toyota mid-sized CUV.

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Therefore, when I was invited to preview the new-for-2014 Highlander, I was interested to see what the hype was about—after all, companies don’t typically buy Super Bowl ad space and hire The Muppets for cars that aren’t critical to their corporate strategy. Toyota has been employing a two-pronged strategy for this segment for quite some time—the Body-On-Frame, rugged 4Runner, and the car-based, innocuous Highlander. The 4Runner has always appealed more to the male demographic, while the Highlander has been geared toward the ladies of the club. At first glance, it’s plain to see that Toyota has made a concerted effort to “butch up” the Highlander. The grill looks like the 4Runner’s, with a wide, gaping mouth. The doors now bulge out from the side, giving the whole vehicle a much more truck-like appearance. It’s also a little bigger, too—about half an inch wider and about 4 inches longer. Visually, it’s definitely a “love it or loathe it” look. While I’m probably likely to fall in the latter category, I do give Toyota credit for taking a creative risk with the appearance of the car. Where the previous generations of Highlander definitely faded into the background on any highway, this one will stand out.
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The interior is where the Highlander really shines. On the XLE and Platinum level trims that I drove, the quality of the interior materials was second to none. It’s clear that a great deal of thought went into the layout of the dash. The XLE and Limited trims offer an eight inch, high-resolution touchscreen in the center, while the LE gets a six inch touchscreen. There is a neat little tray (I’m not really sure what else to call it) that extends all the way from the center of the dash to the passenger door that is ideal for all of your electronic gadgets. In fact, there’s even a portal cut neatly above the USB jacks that you can tidily tuck your cables through. When one drives as many different CUVs and sedans as I do, it’s the little details, the unique touches that stick in your mind. Toyota’s gift here to the OCD among us is what stuck with me.

Another dear friend of mine bought a new 2013 Highlander last year, and her main complaint is the lack of room in the second row. “It’s pretty embarrassing exposing my ass to the entire parking lot as I’m leaning over the cramped seats trying to buckle kids into carseats,” she frequently complains to me. “Don’t you know somebody at Toyota that could fix that?” Well, Beth, I can’t do anything about your 2013, but the engineers at Toyota must have heard enough complaints about the outgoing model that they made significant changes to both the legroom and the hip room of the second and third rows for the 2014 model. In fact, the second and third rows have both been moved back about three inches, and the cargo room behind the third row has also been increased by 34 percent for you Active LifeStyle Triathlete types—more than enough room for a stroller or a golf bag. There’s also heated seating available for the second row on the Platinum package Premium trim level, which is a cool touch.
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However, I was most interested in how the thing drives. I daily drive one of the Highlander’s competitors (a Ford Flex), so I was interested to see how they compared. While driving the Limited around the beachside streets of Santa Barbara, the Highlander felt very wide, wide enough to be slightly concerning on some of the side streets. Otherwise, it was charming. Noise reduction was a big concern with the new model, and with 30% more sound deadening and a new windshield, Toyota hit it out of the park. It’s almost too quiet—I felt completely isolated from the environment. However, I can imagine that there would be times where that would be exactly what the doctor ordered. Even with the big Panoramic roof open, noise remained at a minimum. The driver’s seat provides good, comfortable cushioning, but it still uses the lumbar controls that I disliked so much in the Avalon. Braking was surprisingly mushy, so much so that I really had to apply serious pressure on the left pedal when decelerating from speeds above thirty-five or so.

Taking the Highlander into the mountains was a less pleasant experience. There are two engine options available (three if you count the Hybrid, which I did not get any seat time with), a 2.5 liter four cylinder that produces 185 horsepower and 184 ft lbs of torque (LE trim only), and a 3.5 liter six cylinder that makes 270 horsepower and 248 ft lbs of torque (available on all trim levels). With a curb weight of somewhere between 4,100 and 4,500 lbs, depending on trim, even the sixer felt quite underpowered (Toyota, perhaps wisely, did not provide a four cylinder to drive). The six-speed automatic transmission downshifted with even the mildest grade, which would be fine if it downshifted and stayed there. It didn’t. I experienced nearly constant searching and shifting as I went up and down the mountains toward Santa Ynez. The best way to get a consistently pleasant driving experience from the engine/transmission combination was to hammer it in a way that I doubt many CUV drivers are looking to do. This also caused the electric power steering to behave in rather bizarre fashion. I found that I was able to move the wheel several degrees in either direction before the front wheels would react. Again, not a huge concern for most CUV drivers, but when you’re trying to take mountain corners at higher speeds, it’s disconcerting.
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The new for 2014 double-wishbone rear suspension was immediately noticeable—the rear end of the car bounced around much less than one would expect from such a large vehicle. In fact, I found myself wishing that Toyota had put a wishbone suspension up front, too. The considerable weight over the nose of the car (weight distribution numbers were not available at the time of this review) made the MacPherson struts work extra hard in corners, and body roll was significant.

Toyota is expecting this refreshed model to be a big hit in the mid-sized CUV segment, a segment that is critical to the success of any automaker. They are looking for the 2014 to sell about ten percent more than the outgoing 2013 did, or over 140,000 units, all of which will be built in Franklin, Indiana. As the only big time competitor in this segment to be totally refreshed, it’s reasonable to expect that they will hit their target. They managed to keep the price tag under $30K for the LE, sneaking in at $29,215 for a FWD four cylinder. However, they’ve also managed to squeak over the $40k barrier for the first time with the Limited, topping out at $41,100 for the AWD model, which is an increase of $1,700 over the outgoing model. There’s also the new Platinum Limited, which comes in at $43,590 (with optional An available Driver Technology Package that includes a Pre- Collision system with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Automatic High Beam Headlights, and Safety Connect), and the Hybrid Limited Platinum, which just flies under the $50K barrier at $49,790. Whew. I would expect that the bulk of Highlander sales will come from the LE Plus and XLE trims, at $34,200 and $37,500, respectively.

My impressions of the Highlander? If you’re not planning to take it up and down any mountains anytime soon, or do any towing with it, it’s right up there with the best in class, including the Explorer and the Grand Cherokee. Despite the new styling, it’s hard to see it taking any business from its stablemate, the 4Runner—they’re still very different vehicles. This new Highlander will do nothing to keep satisfied Highlander drivers from buying another one, and will do a lot to convince happy owners of competitors to take a look. That is, assuming, they can get past that ugly grille.

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69 Comments on “Review: 2014 Toyota Highlander...”


  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Do you still perfer your Flex over the Highlander?

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I checked one of these out in the showroom when we were trading my beloved 4Runner for a Rav4 a few weeks ago. Definitely agreed on the materials. Far better than before all around… to the point that I think that they might siphon sales off the 4Runner (out of the (4) 5th gen 4Runners in my neighborhood, only mine had all terrain tires) because the CUV Highlander has loads more space now and is available for less money similarly equipped (while riding nicer, getting better gas mileage, and having better materials). People that don’t go offroad will have a tougher time justifying the 4Runner over the Highlander. The rear seat legroom is simply incredible if you don’t have people in the 3rd row. It is “just” very good with people in the 3rd row. I prefer the styling of the pre-refresh 2nd gen Highlander, though. There were some definite Land Cruiser styling elements in the D pillar and it was simply a handsome trucklet. The styling of this one is alright. I don’t loathe or love it.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      How’s the Rav-4?

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        We’re pretty happy with it. First, and most importantly, my wife is happy. She didn’t like parking the 4Runner despite the backup camera and parking prox sensors (I thought it was a breeze). The Rav feels right sized to her, getting the 18mo old in and out is very easy thanks to big doors and the seat height. The 6AT is quick to downshift and the engine is willing. The handling is probably the most surprising part. My mother has a previous gen V6 Rav, so I’ve had a decent amount of seat time. Toyota has really tightened up the handling. It is much more composed and the steering weight is better than before. Interior materials are generally very good. The stitched dash feels nice and the armrests match the seat’s Softex material. I actually prefer the Softex in the Rav over the leather that was in my 4Runner. We like the ability to lock the power distribution to 50:50 under 25mph. The tech package with the auto high beams and blind spot/cross traffic detection is pretty slick as well. The latest head unit is attractive, simple, intuitive, and reliable. The power liftgate is a little slow to actuate and I don’t like that it doesn’t have Homelink. That is easily fixed in the aftermarket, but still annoying. There isn’t a factory hitch for my bike racks, either. Ecohitch makes a hidden hitch for it, so $250 and an hour or so will give me a 2″ receiver.

        Really, the compact CUV segment is pretty much a home run for a 1 kid family. Lots of space, easy on gas, easy to drive, and attractively priced because there is so much competition.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Sure glad you didn’t get another Prius, Quentin, as all 3rd Gen Prius’ are recalled. That way you will not have any over lap in dealership visits and will have one Toyota on the road.

          http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/12/toyota-recalling-1-9m-prius-models-globally/

  • avatar
    SpacemanSpiff

    “It’s pretty embarrassing exposing my ass to the entire parking lot as I’m leaning over the cramped seats trying to buckle kids into carseats,”

    As a happy owner of a 2013 Sienna, the answer to this is to get the van version of the ’13 Highlander. Rainy Day? No problem! I can get in the car with the kids and close the door after me, buckle them in and then climb into the front seats. I’m 6’5″. I love this thing.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    This review just proves that most of the people, including author of this, have no idea, what is better and what is worse. I went to car show yesterday and I think, that 2009 Highlander is better in many ways.
    1. It looks better. For 2011 Toyota changed the look to the worse. But 2008-10 models looks muscular upfront, solid from the side and even sexy when it comes to the tail end.

    2. The second row is better in 2009. 2009 has real chairs for two passengers behind and the insert in the middle actually created lower surface, so it is comfortable to seat in the middle. In 2014 model there is hump and seats are flat.

    3. The legroom in row 2 in 2009 is just fine. Even more than enough.

    4. 2009 rides better than same year Camry.

    5. 2009 comes at 3800lb for 4cyl vs 4100.

    6. 2009 4cyl came @ around $25K, now it is close to $30K for no good reason.

    7. 2009 Was made in Japan. Now it is not made in Japan – nuff said

    2009 is smaller. And I like that. I even got 4cyl without 3rd row. At the same time, for family of 4 2009 is huge, comfortable. And even 4 cyl has plenty of pep, besides highway passing. After touching 2014, sitting in it, and reading some reviews on it, it is hard to imagine, how one can say that it is better. It is bigger, ok. But better?

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      “7. 2009 Was made in Japan. Now it is not made in Japan – nuff said”

      Toyotas have been assembled in North America for decades. Is there compelling evidence to suggest that US-built Toyotas are lower quality than Japan-built Toyotas?

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        With Highlander evidence is obvious. According to TrueDelta the year production moved to US there was 50% spike in problems. I wish, I had Consumer Reports on me today

        • 0 avatar
          tekdemon

          Any time you start up a new production line there’s going to be teething issues, but longer term the US factories aren’t bad. I know someone with a camry that’s had to replace the engine at under 80K miles…and it was a made in Japan model (I suspect it was the heat bolt issue for gen 5′s) whereas my Kentucky built Camry has soldiered on-though with an absurd number of rattles at this point (it is 11 years old though).

          • 0 avatar
            alsorl

            Yes a coworker of mine just broke down and purchased a new car. Of course her and her husband purchased a new loaded Camry. Dealers in Florida practically are giving them away right now. The Camry has around 5000 miles on it and has 2 extremely annoying rattles in the dash area. Of course the dealer cannot find the rattles. I told them to buy the same car they have been driving for 12 years, a Honda Accord. But her husband said it felt smaller inside over the Camry. Well their old Accord with 170000 miles on it has no rattles or squeks, and their new $25000 Toyota Camry is the one that sounds like it has 170000 miles.

    • 0 avatar

      I appreciate your feedback.

      I am having difficulty finding where I said that the 2014 Highlander is superior to a 2009 Highlander. In fact, I didn’t compare them at all, except to say that there is more interior space in the 2014 model. I have no vested interest in saying that either generation is better.

      Most of your points are subjective. Looking and riding better are in the eye and rear of the beholder.

      I think you would have a hard time finding a 2014 vehicle that does not cost 10-15% more than its 2009 version.

      Toyota has long produced the Camry and other models in the US with no perceptible change in quality.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        May be you didn’t say it directly but you said, “The interior is where the Highlander really shines” I saw no shine. What we’ve complained about is the color choices of the upholstery. Toyota now has it in black but material is nothing what 2009 had. 2009 Camry is a safety hazard the way it rides. 2009 Highlander can handle roads better. 10-15% more – Ok. But 25%?? I do some services at Toyota dealer. I check cars in showroom. Don’t know about current model of Camry, but the one prior (same as 2009) has horrible fit and finish. Panels don’t match, etc. Ok, people buy Toyotas. But does it mean they are good cars? They’re relatively reliable. Blend, dysfunctional. My friend wanted Avalon. Got one. Sold in 3 months. My test drive of Corolla lasted 2 minutes. Highlander was a bright spot in the whole lineup. And now, it is another Toyota. Looks like Kia in the rear. Yesterday I picked Highlander. Today I would pick CX9 over Highlnder.

  • avatar
    greece

    The article mentions the Highlander is assembled in Franklin, IN. I believe both the Sienna and Highlander are both assembled in Princeton, Indiana.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The ad campaign is genius, even without the Muppets.

    “No room for boring.”

    Now this is a great example of a brand reinvention campaign that goes to perception of Toyota products.

    Genius – love it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Am I the only one who thinks the side profile now looks like the Dodge Journey?

    Toyota has gotten as much mileage out of the Camry platform as GM gets out of the Epsilon and its variants. Camry, Highlander, Venza, ES 350, LX350, and Avalon (I know I likely forgot one somewhere.)

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      RX 350 not LX, the Sienna minivan. Thats about it. Its ok that Honda and Toyota get so much use out of one platform cause if you believe what our read in some forums “they dont share any major parts”.
      Honda: Accord, Highlander, Crosstour, TL, TX, TLX, MDX, Ridgeline and even some would have you to believe the RX however I dont think thats true.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Highlander is built in Princeton, Indiana not Franklin.

    *Edit* I see someone beat me to it.

    I will add, that the styling tells me they tried to make it look macho, and it ended up being ugly. Make mine a Durango AWD please.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Looks like a (insert almost any other CUV here).

    I don’t know if these are good vehicles or not, as I’ve never driven one, but they seem to be good family-haulers. An up-to-date station wagon.

    Personally, I’d most likely pick a Flex over one of these if I were in this market.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      I am with you on this one. I think that the fit and finish were good on the Highlander and the new second row was much roomier than before and only behind the Flex and Pathfinder in this regard. However the style of the interior I dont care for at all. I sat in both at a car show this weekend and to be honest the interior of the Flex felt a little dated but well put together. Exterior is no contest as the Flex wins hands down as well as second row leg room which is best in class. I was shocked at how much room the Pathfinder had though..The big disappointment was the Dodge. It felt a size to small in the legroom dept despite the fact the car is rather large.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    A matter of personal preference, but I took a good look at the Highlander at the Chicago Auto Show this weekend and was disappointed.

    - I wish there were an option to delete the third row seats. I don’t need them, and they won’t lay flat when the middle seats are adjusted in their rear-most position (a problem shared with the new Tahoe, by the way).

    - I wasn’t as impressed with the quality of the plastics / fit and finish. Just didn’t remind me of the Toyota of a few years ago.

    Oh well, will keep looking . . . . .

  • avatar
    AlfaRomasochist

    Does this have the same engine / trans combo as the Sienna? I had to take one on an extended drive through the mountains and it was MISERABLE. Way overly aggressive engine braking, at times hard enough to throw the van out of balance on some tight hairpins. Borderline dangerous, and easily enough to make me scratch the Sienna off our shopping list.

    We ended up with a CX-9 which isn’t the newest / latest / greatest most up to date CUV out there but it still drives nicer than a 2+ ton family schlepper has any right to. It does the auto downshift / engine braking thing on grades but nowhere near as aggressively as the Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Bought a CX9 new in 08 and have never looked back. Some do things better but none do as many things well. With the exception of MPG IMO its the best even though it gets no love here. Nearly 6years and 113k miles on it so far with only one issue that was corrected (rear window issue) and none since.

      • 0 avatar
        AlfaRomasochist

        Agreed on the MPG. It will be interesting to see if / how they Skyactiv-ate the bigger vehicles. I’d love a CX-9 – or better yet a new MPV – with maybe 3-5 more MPG in mixed driving. I get mid-high teens in town in ours, which will hopefully improve a bit as it breaks in.

        -Jason

  • avatar
    ldl20

    That is a great first picture, as the shadows do a nice job of covering up this car’s worst feature: that front end that looks like it’s trying a bit too hard to look mean and angry.

  • avatar
    old fart

    It’s nice to see reviewers comments without the first five post spewing venomous hatred, just because. If someone didn’t like it they just commented in a nice way.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    So Toyota’s latest retro feature is more play in the steering? Several degrees worth? You seem to imply that this is dependent on throttle. I can’t think of any automotive attribute than numb, sloppy steering that varies with throttle inputs.

    End of review, there’s nothing to see here.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    This is about the only vehicle amongst CUV/SUVs and the Prius not to be recalled for possible seat heater fires.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2014/01/30/toyota-halts-sales-of-popular-models-to-fix-seat-heaters/

  • avatar

    Glad to hear it’s kinda lousy and underpowered. I saw they got bigger and was afraid I’d rationally have to consider one as a next Mom car for The Missus.

    That’s a pathetically small horsepower number for a vehicle this big.

  • avatar
    alsorl

    The 4cyl is actually a 2.7L not a 2.5L. Having said that, the 2.7L is also the same engine that is in the 4 cyl Tacoma which people been getting over 300,000 miles very little to no issues. In every way I’ve never been a Toyota fan. But, damn they do make some strong engines.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I think they are different engine families between the 2.7L in the Highlander and the one in the Taco.

      • 0 avatar
        alsorl

        I could always ask my local Toyoda dealer about the 2.7 L engine. But I’m pretty sure no one at the dealer will know or even care. Last year the salesman told me that the Prius has a center air bag that shoots up threw the armrest between the front seats. He swore up and down that it had this new air bag system. Hence to say I did not purchase the Prius with its futuristic air bag system.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        The 2.7L in the Tacoma is a TR family engine. The 2.7L in the Highlander and Venza is an AR family engine. The Tacoma lacks dual VVTi that is present in the AR engine. The TR engine is actually a square design (95mm,95mm) while the AR has more stroke (105mm) than bore (90mm). Wikipedia has quite good compilations of all the manufacturer’s different engines.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    We have the Highlander in Australia, but its called the Kluger.

    The one at work we use for long distance highish speed driving to Darwin for business.

    In all honesty this isn’t a very good vehicle to drive. It’s uncomfortable for long distances as well. It handles far worse than the Camry in which it’s based on. Camry’s are quite scary above 150kph.

    This might be acceptable for mother’s to take their kids to school in and some shopping trips to the mall. It would have the power to tow a ton or two from Lowes or Home Depot as well a few times a year.

    I wouldn’t buy one for long distance driving. It’s a middle class suburbanites utility style vehicle with little use outside of short distance driving.

    It chews up fuel like no tomorrow. We use nearly a tank to drive 350km at 130-140kph or 83mph-89mph.

    A light duty diesel would enhance this vehicle significantly, especially the high speed driving FE.

    The problem is Toyota can’t make a decent small diesel.

    Like most Toyota’s you pay the ‘Toyota Tax’ for nothing substantial, I would buy a Kia Sorento diesel before a Highlander/Kluger and they are cheaper with more bling.

    Buy a new Colorado when they come out. It will achieve what the Highland/Kluger can, but is more flexible.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Styling? What styling?

    Look at the rear-end photo above.
    Come up from the black strip at the bottom on the passenger’s side.
    I count eight (8!) inflection points (curve changes) going up to the roof line.
    Big tragedy: bulging frog-eyed tail-lamps.
    2nd tragedy: visible fender bump-outs from the seam-cusp at half-way up the trunk lid.

    Could you imaging Pininfarina ever producing such a nightmare? There really are sensible esthetic rules for basic styling: not everything is purely subjective to be called “good”.

    Would I alway have to back this thing into my garage just to avoid looking at its rear end?
    Do the Japanese have an inherent reluctance to contract one of the dozen or more good Italian design houses?

    ————————–

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I get CX9 from the back, and sort of Journey from the side as someone else above mentioned, and a bit of Traverse at the front. It’s not great looking, though I will concur with the review that the interior is vastly improved.

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    “This also caused the electric power steering to behave in rather bizarre fashion. I found that I was able to move the wheel several degrees in either direction before the front wheels would react. Again, not a huge concern for most CUV drivers, but when you’re trying to take mountain corners at higher speeds, it’s disconcerting”

    I caused a second generation Acura TL to do this on a tight road in Carlsbad once while working at the local VW/Subaru dealer. Scared the absolute piss out of me. And it was at speeds that the Legacy, Passat (2006 was the year I worked there), and various other fairly pedestrian cars didn’t even flinch at. Killed my Honda fandom for good at that point, as well as my trust in magazine reviews. All show, no go.

    Now this. Not that I would have gravitated toward any big Toyota’s unless my wife had twins (and even then I’ll figure out other options), but it’s absolutely unbelievable to me that Japanese car companies can have such attention to detail with so much other stuff, then go and put their interns on the job when it comes to engineering the steering wheel’s connection to the road.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      The steering wheel is directly coupled to the front wheels, so the position of the wheels relative to the steering wheel orientation is unaffected by the power steering system. There must have been a source – or combination of sources – of flex or play in the steering system and/or front end. They may have prioritized road isolation over performance and feel by using mushy suspension bushings. Unless the tire sidewalls themselves are simply too mushy.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Never mind the grill, its ass is ghastly. The taillights remind me of the last generation Mazda3.

  • avatar
    Safeblonde

    I honestly dont see why you bother reviewing these. The Toyota dealers are asking list ++ on these. The only people looking at them are the blonde-ponytails-in-baseball-cap wives of what remains of the upper middle class. I would love to buy my blonde a hybrid version of these, but I think my local dealer has fired their sales staff and hired lizards in silk suits. And those guys dont deal. Styling? Handling? Here I am a guy with the money ready to buy and I cannot get past the buying process. It is a Toyota SUV Hybrid. It could handle like a brick and look like one too and my wife would still get what she wants me to get her.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The “upper middle class” drives Lexus vehicles, not so much the Highlander.

      You don’t know why he bothers reviewing, and the demographic for them is a ridiculous cliche, and yet you’d love to buy one.

      You don’t like it but you’re ready to buy.

      Contradict yourself a few more times, it’s working out well for you.

      • 0 avatar
        Safeblonde

        I like them fine and plenty of my upper-middle class friends drive SUVs by Toyota, Honda, Cadillac, Nissan, Mercedes, and yes Lexus. Where did I say I didnt like them? I am commenting on the other reviewers who say styling or horsepower matters. Toyota’s reputation matters to me and my ridiculous cliche crowd and the quality is why I like them. It is the buying process I dont like. And of course I understand why they review them, but the dealer process is the reality of buying them, not the fact that the taillights look a certain way.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It’s funny, you say this is a direct competitor to the GC, but in my mind the GC is a step up from this. It’s a more serious car, which can be equipped with larger/better engines, and much better interior specifications. I don’t want to sound like BTSR, but I think the GC is really a league above.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    I really liked the 2nd generation Highlander.

    Drove an 09 Highlander SUV shopping a while back. Even though it was fairly optioned, relatively spotless and a choice black with black leather, I couldn’t get past its mundane looks. While the purchase of a Highlander is certainly not, by any means, a poor choice… I wasn’t ready for my AARP card.

    It drove very nice- solid, of course, and very well mannered (as one would expect from a mid-size Toyota SUV).

    While the look of the second generation was very buttoned down and conservative, the redesigned model tends topull a little too hard in the opposite direction.

    The real question is, will the 40-65 year old white-collar managhement types take the plunge on the new one?

    Oh who am I kidding. It’s a Toyota, of course they will.


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