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Toyota Highlander Owners: Meet the Members



  • I was surprised to settle a price with the dealer and then he added the Toyota ad fee ($270), doc prep fee ($45), and tire recycle fee ($5). Anyone else run across this? Understand the tire fee is California only.

    Also, my Costco membership is not saving me any money. The best deal I have found so far is $1500 above the above fees.
  • rlan52rlan52 Posts: 2
    We got our 4WD, V6 non-Limited HL a little over a week ago. We absolutely love it and enjoy driving it. We had the same problems getting one as everyone else. Our Toyota Dealer was not willing to negotiate one bit and in order to get one without waiting a long time, we had to settle on one with a bunch of options we would not have ordered(but we do like them, especially the moon roof)and a color that was not our first choice. My question is this, we are not thrilled with the Charcoal interior and it seems like it will show each and every stain(we have two young boys). Does anyone have any Ideas/experience with seat covers? Does Toyota offer these as an after market acc.? Has anyone found a better way to deal with this issue?. BTW, we ended up with a price of $850 under MSRP. We did walk out thinking they would call us back in and offer a better price but they did not. We ended up going back to them when we found that no other dealers would even consider a better price. I was originally considering a Hyundai Sante Fe which I drove and liked as well but, in the 4WD, V6 there were none to be had. The Hyundai Dealers were not willing to budge of of MSRP either...
  • gwkisergwkiser Posts: 326
    Daltex, if you have access to Sam's Club, use their membership services (car buying club) to find the local cooperating dealer. FYI, AAA Texas has a similar plan. In S.A., the dealer is Cavender Toyota. Be aware that you must wait for the club to give you a contact person before you can contact the dealer. Although I did not buy from this dealership (as the dealer I bought my '97 Avalon matched their price), the contact was in the Fleet Sales dept. At this dealership, I was told that the pricing structure was the same whether I used my Sam's contact or the AAA Texas contact. My recommendation is: (1) Go online here at Edmund's and / or Kelly Blue Book to get dealer cost / MSRP. I found their prices to be accurate. Print out the vehicle configured with the specs that you want. (2) Contact the club (maybe even and get the contact name and phone. (3) Call the contact to make an appointment to test drive. (4) Commit the salesperson to a price ( not list or above). I was told that I could get the HL I wanted the way I wanted in about 4-6 weeks. List was about $31,500, price quoted was about $28,600. Only tax, title, and registration was added (about $250). No other add-on fees, etc.
    Good luck.
  • I just wanted to add my two cents on consoles. I find not having one makes it a bit more roomy. I also like having the cupholders away from any crucial areas (just in case of spills). The kids spilled soda all over my hubby's radio and shifter. Not very easy to clean up. The radio buttons still stick.

    I find that having that open space is great to put my purse. In the Camry it was always on the passenger seat, the floor, in the backseat with the kids. I like having it readily available, especially on the turnpike, drive throughs, etc.

    I have an V6 in India Ink color and many people have stopped me and said how much they love the color. It has gone over 1,000 miles and through six snows and I absolutely love it.
  • adman2adman2 Posts: 1
    I just purchased my Highlander yesterday, and was completely suprised to find out that the dealer gave me 2,000 under MSRP without much of a struggle.

    For those of you wanting to know, I bought at Courtesy Toyota in Brandon, FL. Salesman was Jared.

    All I have to say is that these people were world class. Test drive was no pressure, as they just tossed me the keys! No high pressure tacktics etc.

    Needless to say, I am very pleased with the vehicle and the price. I was also pleased when I was the one to drive the truck off the lot. The dealer had 2 in stock, and there was a line of people waiting to test drive and buy them.

    I would highly recommend this truck to ANYONE. Only drawback is that darn missing console. They could have put at least a cubby under the shifter. One can only hope that Toyota figures this out and offers an aftermarket center console.
  • cap420cap420 Posts: 6
    I always wanted a Land Cruiser but didn't have the budget. Saw the Highlander and figured, work up to your goals... they look the same anyways -- at least at some angles. : )

    So we (me, wife, and baby) spent St. Patrick's Day getting our Indigo Ink Pearl V6 Leather Limited Highlander last Saturday 3/17 from San Francisco Toyota. Ask for Rita and Lloyd - very cool. Paid close to $2000 below MSRP on a difficult color / package so we're extremely happy.

    Man, it is hard trying to stay within the "break in" limits for the first 1,000 miles. No heavy accelerating / stopping, or driving no faster than 55? This car wants to come alive. The AWD/4WD paired with the suspension is AWESOME. I've driven an Audio A4 Quattro and a Ford Explorer 4x4, and the Highlander feels more like the sportier Audi than the Ford truck -- it grabs and almost leans INTO corners. If TRD comes out with performance upgrades (i.e. supercharger), we're in for one serious grocery cart.

    Pros: SOLID ride, SOLID V6 engine, SOLID construction, SUPER road visibility, GOOD sound system (6 disc), GOOD breaking, GOOD rear reclining passenger seats & leg room, OK power drivers seat, OK climate controls, OK wood trim.

    Cons: there seems to be a consensus here but where can I put my phone? We didn't want a center console (for baby access), but still, Toyota should have built at least one sizable compartment other than the glove to put junk into. There's only the ashtray and that coin holder to the left of the steering wheel. Make that ashtray into a big drawer and you got some happy campers out there. I wonder if the RX300 owners have the same gripe.

    Conclusion: Awesome family car for the family who doesn't want the traditional mini-van. My boy will probably drive it and try to impress the girls.

    Here's to many happy miles to you and yours.


    Mini-Land Cruiser
    San Francisco, CA
  • mkstringmkstring Posts: 53
    I'm curious on the "offical" word about the break in period. I know it says it in the book, but is it really necessary with the engines today?

    Also, about the cell phone thing. I'm considering a handfree assembly for mine. It's kinda necessitated it with the Highlander, and I'd rather do it now before i'm forced to...

    And, congrats. Getting our two kids in and out of ours (3yo and 7mos) is much easier than our Accord.
  • dniehusdniehus Posts: 83
    A center console IS an option (SK) on the HL. It is shown in the brochure. Compared to other vehicles, the console is fairly small. However, it would readily handle a cell phone, CD's, etc. Plus, it places cupholders at a more reasonable height/location than on the FLOOR. (Good grief, who came up with that idea?) Also note that a center console is standard equipment on the Lexus RX300. I understand that a console can be added later. For some reason, they seem to be in short supply, at least in certain areas.
  • pyrman7pyrman7 Posts: 3
    Picked up our HL on 3/17-Limited dark green-everything but center console.Dealer said we could order later,not available now.Drove it home thru 10" of snow without problems.Traded a 96 4Runner-wow what a difference in ride!We love the HL!Got 1800 off MSRP
  • Daltex - I live in the Dallas area and I received an e-mail from the Internet Manager at Metroplex Toyota. They are offering $1500 off of ANY HL. Here is the info:

    Thank you for your inquiry. Your price on any Highlander will be $1,500 off MSRP. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 972-283-6381, if I am not available one of my assistants, Tre or Jim, will be more than happy to help you. Thank you for spending the time to e-mail me, and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Barbie Kopacki
    Internet / Fleet Manager
    Metroplex Toyota
    730 E I 20
    Duncanville, Texas 75116
    972-283-6381 direct
    972-263-2355 metro
    972-709-9064 fax

    Good luck and happy shopping!!

  • pyrman7pyrman7 Posts: 3
    I've got nearly 900 miles on my HL-still can't believe how smooth and quiet it is,even at 60 mph.We are averaging about 19 mpg in rural driving.I had 3 4Runners and thought they were good,can't hold a candle to the Highlander.
  • I am picking up my new HL next week and want to get feedback from anyone who have bought the Base model with 2WD and the 4 cylinder motor. I test drove the HL with the smaller motor the other day and it seemed fine going up the steep hills. It wasn't the fastest but it was quite responsive once the overdrive was clicked off so it wouldn't keep shifting between the two high gears.
    I've been reading the various messages and haven't come across too many owners of the 4 cylinder HL. Your input to me would be deeply appreciated. Cruizin in Hawaii...
  • We've had the 4x2 6 cylinder AL for about three weeks and 650 miles. I am very satisfied with the vehicle. We live in a mild climate so 4 wheel drive is not a necessity. It handles well in suburban driving and has good power. It took a little while to get used to the brakes, but they seem to be able to bring the vehicle to a stop in a reasonable distance. I have not seen any detailed road tests. It is a very comfortable and quiet car.

    We purchased the car by getting quotes from dealers through We got the car for about 4000 below MSRP (100 below invoice) by looking at dealerships as far as 500 miles away. It cost a few hundred to have the car shipped to us, but the car price we got was deemed "impossible" by the local dealers. The good price made it possible for us to get the side impact air bags which seem, at least in CA, to require the "limited" with leather and ad changer. The result is that we are enjoying a more luxurious car than we thought we could afford.

    I've been following the posting regarding the Japanese version of the console and wonder if it will be possible to get it in the US and if it will be compatible with the cup holders? I suspect that in Japan they do not have the cup holders, as the Japanese think it is inappropriate to eat or drink in a car.
  • Where in CA (what dealership) did you get your HL for $4000 below MSRP ($100 under invoice)? That's a really good price, considering some of the posts I've been reading about outrageous HL prices.
  • Where is the dealership and the name of the salesman? I am ready to buy, but the best I have found is about $1500 over invoice.
  • I bought the car from Toyota of the Desert in Cathedral City, CA. The salesman's name is Dan Dixon. He is an Internet Sales Director and Fleet Manager. The number is 800-479-5744 or 760-328-0871. E-mail is

    It is possible that the good price was partially the result of the fact that the car (2WD and green) may not be the hottest seller in the desert. However, it was what I was looking for.

    Let us (Highlander Owners) know how it works out.
  • zemmy2zemmy2 Posts: 5
    I recently got a 4cyl. 4x4 HL and I have no complaints. The engine is just fine for what we will be using it for. I don't find it slow at all. My wife initially wanted the V6 but after driving them both she said the 4cyl is fine. Either way you can't go wrong. It is a really nice car. Got rid of a '98 Contour for it. Night and day difference. From what I hear the 4 cyl. is in higher demand than what Toyota thought. The dealer said it was supposed to be 90/10 6cyl vs. 4cyl. but they are coming in more like 50/50. At least in the midwest anyway.
  • dean2sm1dean2sm1 Posts: 34
    In looking over the "How much did I pay" section, I note nobody had the factory installed hitch, but many the TO prep package. Is this because factory has problems with hitch supply or wiring harness? Are some of you getting after market hitch? If so, no problem getting add-on wiring? Local parts dept. told me Toyota not able to come up with satisfactory add on harness; blowing fuses, etc. Would appreciate comments. I'll supply my purchase price as soon as I get ordered HL, which may, or may not, have desired hitch. Thanks dean2sm1
  • I've had my silver HL for 2 weeks and love it. After driving a Blazer.......well you can imagine. Today I drove it on a 450 mile trip, as fast as 80 mph and jockeying with the 18 wheelers. It has more than enough energy for hills, passing, etc and got 25 mpg on this trip.
    I like it more each time I drive it. Do not be afraid of the 4 cylinder engine. It's great.

    I had leather installed after market for $1000 and it looks every bit as good as the Limited factory leather. It was the only feature of the Limited I really wanted on my base model.
  • Dear Martin R (and others),

    How much of a hassle is it to get a car delivered from hundreds of miles away? Any drawbacks with dealing over the phone? I live east of Sacramento and will probably have to buy in SoCal to get a decent price (though I hear San Rafael is pretty good).

    Thanks for you help,
  • little_pogilittle_pogi Posts: 149
    I do not know if it's just the HL I got or this is true for the other 4 cyl HL. I seems I could only get about 20mpg on a combined city/hiway driving. I've tried different gas brands with same octane rating, just to get the same results. I'm about to bring it back to the dealer again to have my engine checked up. I also hear lapping(or clapping) sound from underneath everytime I start and get to move the HL into motion. The dealer service tech says it's the ABS and it's normal to hear such noise. Does anybody with a 4 cyl ever experience the same mileage and noise on their HL? I also notice some engine vibrations at 2000 rpm.
  • Tim,
    The dealer picked the transport company. This is probably a good thing, since the transport company will have some incentive to do a good job to keep the business.

    It took several phone calls to the transport company and a few more days to get the car than I expected. I think the transport company waited until they had three cars (full load) from the dealer to deliver to this area.

    The car was transported on an open flatbed. I did have to inspect it in the rain upon delivery.
    There were no problems with the car. It was delivered to my door. I did have to spend time removing the numerous stickers on the windows.

    Dealing over the phone worked out fine. The salesman was very responsive and he had a partner who covered for him while he was out. For one question, he even faxed the pertinent pages from the owners manual.

    The dealer sent the paper work by FedEx with a prepaid FedEx envelope for return.

    Overall I'd say it was my best experience buying a new car (my third). Given car buying experiences in general, that may seem like damning with faint praise. When it comes time to buy another car, I'll give that dealer a call. I guess that's the bottom line.
  • Little Pogi
    My 4 cyl also makes that clapping noise underneath when I start it and back up. I was concerned about it too. Haven't been back to the dealer yet to ask what it is.
    My mileage on tank #1 was 22mpg on city/hwy driving. The second tank was all hwy and got 25 mpg.
  • I'm considering getting an HL from a dealer in Jacksonville (I live in Miami, FL). They're suggesting that I go up there next weekend to do the paperwork. Is it really necessry to go up there? I'm financing the car thur my CU, and will have a trade-in that also needs to go to them. Any suggestions? Your help (or someone else's) asap is greatly appreciated.
  • dean2sm1dean2sm1 Posts: 34
    Is there anyone out there that has obtained a HL with factory hitch within the past month?
  • I did all the paperwork by FedEx. However, my case was simple since the financing was done elsewhere and I just sent them a check. Also, there was no trade-in. Difficult for me to give any advice, since the situation is different and the laws governing car sales vary state by state.
  • gasman1gasman1 Posts: 321
    This is the best vehicle that I've ever owned. It's also my 23rd vehicle. I've tried to purchase Toyotas in the past, but the dealers were all so smug and didn't want to deal. I left and took my business to where I "thought" I was getting a better deal.

    Purchased it from Shottenkirk in Quincy, IL. It was by far the best car buying experience that I've ever had. My sales person, Fred, is great and their whole team did an outstanding job.

    My Highlander is a silver 4x4 V6 with roof rack, daytime running lights, power seat, appearance pkg, convenience pkg, carpet/cargo mats, cargo net, console, rust proof, undercoat, and a two-tone (charcoal/silver) pinstripe that really sets the vehicle off.

    It's an excellent vehicle!
  • lcharleslcharles Posts: 1
    Has anyone found a suitable, non-Toyota center console? I thought I previously saw where someone had. It's hard to find one that won't interfere with the cupholders.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    Please take a look at Owner's Club Changes to offer your opinion.

    Owner's Clubs

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • I just bought a 4X2 V6, Indigo Ink Pearl with Charcoal leather. My wife and I love it.

    We are thinking of putting in a roof mounted pop down television for the kids on long drives. We used a portable 9" TV/VCR sitting on the front seat arm rest in our last vehicle (95 Ford Windstar - what a piece of JUNK). I highly recommend for anyone traveling with young kids. Would like to upgrade to something more convenient though.

    I'm afraid of what it will look like, etc. Since you have to put put a hole in the headliner to mount, it will be pretty much permanent.

    Most mobile TV installers don't have experience with the Highlander since it is so new. Has anyone installed a TV in their Highlander or seen one?
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