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Toyota Highlander vs Jeep Liberty

belowblazingbelowblazing Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Jeep
I'm thinking of replacing my 1989 doing two (actually, three) comparisons in total:

a) Base FWD Highlander v. Jeep Sport
b) Limited V6 AWD Highlander v. Jeep Limited
c) Forester Limited v. V6 Highlander v. Jeep ltd.

a) in this case, I would choose the HL since the gas mileage is way better than the Sport. the trade-off is of course the 2 wheel forward drive as opposed to all wheel drive. also the toyota seems to be overpriced if compared the the base jeep trim. I can't understand why toyota would sell a SUV without skid control on its lower trim! the HL also seems to be a smoother car-like ride. i guess that's coz Jeep is a hard core SUV in the end. it felt stiffer &/or seems to have had a stronger-built.

b)I am welcoming any inputs on this one!

c) Forester: better reliability? (it's been around for more than 4 years)....but the style is bad compared the jeep and HL. the clearance also sucks on the forester? oh, and i'm also getting a great lease rate 48 months on forester for 6.8%. The best jeep can do for me is 9.3% on 48 months lease. i was impressed by subaru's handle, visibility (blind spots are low) and smooth ride. i can only complain of its tired look and they might re-style it next year.

p.s. i do not plan to take my car out to climb over rocks....or rivers. but i do intend to take a 10 hour drive to a ski resort....where i may have to drive in harsh snowy conditions....with many chances of slippage!


  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Are you the one who's been creating all these forums that compare the Highlander with various SUVs?
  • ravvie4meravvie4me Posts: 110
    The only area where the Jeep comes out a winner is price. The Highlander is beautifully built, has a comfortable interior, and has a smooth, powerful engine/transmission. I have a 2001 Toyota Highlander Limited 4WD and LOVE it.

    Oh yeah, the fact it's a Toyota means it will likely have very little trouble in it's life. The fact that the Jeep is 100% Chrysler, it's almost guaranteed to have problems, and lots of 'em. The Jeep Liberty is also very ugly, looks like the result of a VW New Beetle and Nissan Xterra, none of which are reasonably attractive. Toyota is the obvious choice between these two.

    I doubt the Forester will have as good a reliability rating as the Toyota HL. It most likely will be as reliable as the Jeep. The Forester is a good buy, if you can put up with it's (IMHO) ugly looks, low ride height (rides as low as a Jetta) and questionable interior quality as compared to the Highlander.

    You could also check out the new 2002 Honda CR-V as well.

  • xcarnutxcarnut Posts: 81
    As an HL owner, I'll try not to give you a biased opinion. (Its going to be hard)
    If you want reliability, both Toyota and Subaru you will get reliability. Check Consumer Reports and forum boards for both the Jeep and Subaru and Highlander.
    Keep in mind if you are going for SUV and have plans to go anywhere in a remote location for camping or ??? reliability will be a big thing. You don't want to get stuck in middle of nowhere.
    If you never plan to go away from nearest tow truck, then go for the Jeep. You'll save bunch of cash upfront. Of course one must ask why is it so much cheaper than the others in its class? Is it truly cheaper or does it just seem that way. For Jeep you have to pay extra for everything you get as standard in HL or Subaru (Power Locks, windows, etc.). Then there is the hidden cost savings that as a consumer you can't see, but what about safety in construction when in accident. Did you see the web site for ratings of a Dodge and Ford pickup trucks ? Its eye opener to see how some Ford and Chrysler products are so poorly designed. This is due to the lack of engineering dollars spent in designing a truly good product. Hence, the cheaper product. (This is just IMO)
    As far as looks thing that is in the eye of the beholder. For me it is HL, if money was no object I would've gone for the BMW X5 but it is an object not grown on tree for me so it is HL.
    Good luck in your quest to find the SUV that meets your needs.
  • Boy, are you guys biased.

    Toyota makes excellent vehicles. I own a Sienna. If you want a car-based SUV with lots of room, a comfortable ride, soft handling, and soft-road capability, buy a Highlander. Toyota makes rugged off-road vehicles. The Highlander is not one of them. But most folks don't ever go off road...

    The Subaru Forester's all wheel drive and handling is unmatched for any hard or soft-road situation. It is not an off road vehicle. It's smaller than a Highlander, and the styling is dated, but while driving on switchback mountain roads, you'd leave the Highlanders and Libertys in the dust. It's based on a rally-inspired car, and it shows it in the twisty, slippery stuff.

    The Liberty, which may or may not be plagued with problems (no recalls yet, like the Mazda/Ford Tribute/Escape early months) is a horse of a different color. But before you discount its build quality, go drive one. It's quite a suprise. That doesn't mean it'll stand the test of time, but it's still a nice suprise.

    If you want a vehicle capable of pulling 5,000 lb. (probably over-rated) and going off road, it's not fair to compare the Highlander and Forester to the Liberty. It's on-road manners are not bad (but not nearly as good as the Forester or Highlander), and it can be equipped with a full-time four wheel drive system. Still, its off-road prowess limits its on-road performance. A well equipped Liberty Sport with the off-road package, power everything, CD player, side head curtain airbags, AC, etc. can be had for about $24K, which is competitive (cheaper) than the Highlander. Check for fair prices (they sell Toyotas, Subarus and Jeeps, among others, at a set price over invoice).

    Pricing is largely a function of how much a vehicle costs to build and how much a manufacturer wants to make on a vehicle. Jeep has a brand new manufacturing facility and has designed it around the vehicle and the vehicle around it. Jeep is trying to compete with the Escape/Mazda twins, the RAV-4, Forester, etc. in terms of pricing. The Highlander competes in a different class.

    As to the safety issues, Highlander and Forester do well. No one has rated the Liberty yet. Don't extrapolate from one long-ago designed vehicle and say all manufacturers vehicles will be the same. Want to see a terrible Toyota? Look at the 4 door pickups. Does that mean the Highlander is bad? Nope.

    Good luck.
  • brad_22brad_22 Posts: 154
    You might wanna check out the thread "Jeep Liberty Problems".

    I haven't drove the Liberty, so I can't comment on its ride or fit/finish. I think the exterior looks okay, though. My HL looks a little too mini-van-ish for me from some angles, but I've worked on that a bit (its amazing what side tubes and a snowboard rack will do for appearance as well as functionality!). As for the HL's ride/acceleration/handling...can't be beat.
  • Hi all,

    I can't comment on theHL, except that it looks like a station wagon/mini - van on steroids. I'm sure it is a nice riding vehicle though. I owned a Forester for 2 years and overall it was an ok car (notice the word car). It did fine in the snow, but I wouldn't have felt comfortable taking it off-road. The tranny did go up in the Forester after only 45,000 miles. Then it took 45 days to get a new tranny from Subaru, and guess what, that one ended up being defective. It took an additional 35 days to get another tranny in. I read the Liberty problems page and still decided, after test driving the Ford Escape & Explorer, Isuzu Trooper and Rodeo, Chevy Blazer, and Nissan Xterra, to buy a Liberty. I have had it for a few weeks now and love it! Comparing it to vehicles in its class (Xterra, Escape, Rodeo), the Liberty won me over by far. The Xterra was the next one in line after the Liberty. The Escape and the Rodeo just felt very tinny and not built very well. While the Liberty and Exlporer felt and rode like they were the size of a Tahoe or Subruban. I may be taking a chance on a first year vehicle, but sometimes you have to take chances. One other thing about the Liberty compared to the HL and Forester is that it is more like a truck/off -road vehicle then the others. If you plan on going off-road at all (which most SUV's never get a chance to do, and that is why they are not built like trucks, more like mini-vans) then I would take a good look at the Liberty. I also recommend reading some reviews in some of the 4 Wheel and Off-Road magazines.
  • Why not just get a minivan? Same thing. *yawn*
  • brad_22brad_22 Posts: 154
    Well, it would outperform a Santa Fe, that's for sure. >: )
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    The Highlander is BORING and too minivan looking for me to even consider. I have a Lexus RX300 which I had for 2.5 years and now I have sold it to my inlaws. It has 50,000 miles and NEVER had a single problem. Still looks/drives like new but it is definitely NOT an offroad vehicle. The Highlander has the same engine and chassis and is similar. I also lease a Merc C320 and a Jeep Liberty Limited. The Liberty may surprise you because it is DEFINITELY tighter than the Lexus. I took it on a trail and it did not squeak or rattle at all. The Lexus/Highlander will give you many years of enjoyment but don't consider taking them offroad. So far my Liberty has been great and the mileage is 1 mpg less than my Lexus. Oh.. the Liberty is also more fun to drive. Check one out.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,124
    at the Highlander and froze with sticker shock! This vehicle must be made of gold! The Highlander and Jeep are in two different categories. Highlander is more car based, no hardcore offroader here folks. Jeep can offroad if you need this type of vehicle.
    Try the Escape, I have one and its been wonderful. Test drive the V6 XLT. I fish and ski and the Escape has gotten me everywhere I needed to go. Also own 2 jet skiis and the Escape tows them just fine. Granted, I am aware its a car frame and would not take it into heavy offroad situations. It all depends on what your going to use it for.
  • sartosarto Posts: 13
    Yep, I'd love to park my minivan in front of a club on a Friday night and see if I can get a hot date.
  • Just tell her that your band gear doesn't fit in an SUV.

    With all the money you save by going the minivan route, buy a guitar and learn a song or two so that when you get her home you can sort of back up what you said. Playing the guitar isn't hard, and chicks dig a guy that can play music for them.
  • sartosarto Posts: 13
    Why don't I just drive up with a Highlander or a Liberty so I don't have to explain myself everytime why I drive a mini van? Which of course a Strat and a Marshall will fit in with plenty of left over room.
  • I agree, for about a minute I looked at the Highlander, but it is so boring I can't see myself driving that minivan. Not sure what Toyota was trying to say with this vehicle but if you see a body change in only a few years I know what the consumer is saying.
  • Yes, I see a lot of high dollar chicks driving them. Notice that several of the Highlander posts are full of (IMO)s...just opinions. The high dollar chicks would never think of getting their high heeled sneekers covered with mud.

    I'm sure the Highlander is a good's interesting, the Jeep product is barely out the door and the "opinions" start to fly.
  • Highlander and Liberty are in different price categories as far as I am concerned. BTW, if you are looking to pick up women I would think a minivan would work. They scream "I have/want a family".
  • Now, I am a chick that owns a Liberty Limited Edition.... Toyota- not my style. If someone wants to try to pick me up... You better be driving a Jeep (major points scored with me),either a Liberty or Wrangler (preferred) with a minimum 3"lift, super swampers, winch, KC light,... the whole off roading accessories. This chick can't wait to get her "high heeled sneekers" muddy.

    Skip the mini van... go for the Liberty. Liberty is a sweet and unique vehicle. Everyone googles over it.
  • I made the horrible mistake of purchasing the Liberty.

    Just go to the Jeep Liberty braking in rain section and you'll be convinced that the Highlander is the right choice!
  • mad0865mad0865 Posts: 176
    You are comparing apples to oranges. Danijeep, you stated that you made a horrible mistake purchasing the Jeep Liberty. Why? Because it doesn't handle as well as what, a car? It's not. It's a TRUCK! As is the Highlander. It's a Camry with a lift, and not much of one. Plus it's more expensive. Compare a fully loaded Liberty to a Highlander. You're looking at least 5grand between the two. As for driving in the rain, as I've posted before, I do believe it's the driver, not the vehicle. Enjoy your Highlander (or your new Camry) while I'm out 4x4'n and driving in foul weather without a problem.
  • Gypsy116, after a few recalls you will be dieing to put your heels into a Toyota. A co-worker just bought a really nice Liberty, and she drive into work with a rental today. You know what that mean. Yes, she already have a engine light on in the car. The car is about 2 weeks old.
  • It's not only the driver. The Liberty has one of the longer tested stopping distances of smaller SUV's.
    You are correct it is not a car. It is a heavy, tall and narrow, yet solid off-road capable, SUV that needs to be driven even MORE carefully than the car based SUV's like the Highlander, Escape, CRV etc.
    The Higlander would be more than fine to get to the ski hill or to a hike off a forest service road.
  • People must keep in mind this is a BRAND new vehicle..first year. There will be bugs!! Anyone who buys a first year production vehicle knows that and understands that. Or at least they should. That is like with the airbag recall... things of this nature should be expected. I am glad to see that DC found this defect and is going to fix it asap. As for the Toyota not for me... give me a Jeep any day.
  • Correction: DC did NOT find this defect.

    It was found out through the 3rd party crash test at which point DC was notified of the defect.

    I am really suprised that DC does not have its own crash testing facility in order to find problems such as the air bag issue, in order to avoid the embarassment through media exposure.

    Kudos for DC for the immediate recall though.
    Track racing: Rear-wheel drive (BMW and other sports cars)
    When a car accelerates, it shifts its weight to the rear. Rear-wheel drive cars put all the power where it's needed to go fast.

    Going from a stop on a slippery surface: All-wheel drive (Toyota Highlander)
    All-wheel-drive can transfer power between axles (and sides with traction control) that lose traction to wheels that have traction. 4WD can't, so the car jitters and twitches as different wheels get different amounts of traction, a sensation only off-roaders enjoy.

    Stuck in the snow: Four-wheel low (Jeep Liberty)
    Some 4WD case transfers have a "low" mode which boosts torque and helps grip what material is available when you're stuck. AWD systems use traction control to compensate for the limitations of limited slip differentials, but they can only work to a point.

    Off-roading: Four-wheel low (Jeep Liberty)
    Four-wheel drive has more torque. Period. Better for off-roading.

    Coasting or breaking while going around an icy or slippery corner: Stability program (Toyota Highlander)
    When a driver isn't accelerating while going around a corner which happens to be icy or slippery, neither AWD nor 4WD can do a damned thing. They are drivetrains which don't do anything if there's nothing driving them. Stability programs (like Toyota's Vehicle Skid Control) use yaw sensors to compare lateral acceleration to the angle the steering wheel is pointed in. It can then brake individual wheels to effectively correct over/understeer and prevent skidding.

    Accelerating around an icy corner: All-wheel drive (Toyota Highlander)
    All-wheel drive helps keep a car from skidding when it's accelerating around a dangerous corner by prevent the driving wheels from spinning and applying power to the part of the car with traction.

    On-road, good conditions: Highlander
    On-road, foul weather: Highlander (with VSC)
    The ski mountain: Either one
    Off-road: Liberty

    People with 4x4 cars can stop bragging about how superior they are in bad weather. Likewise, nobody with an AWD vehicle should be bragging about off-roading, either.

    If you're going off-roading, buy the Liberty. If you're going to be on the road most of the time with some trips to the ski mountains and you'll see some rain and snow, the Highlander might just be the better choice.

    Cargo volume, per exterior size: Car-based
    Car-based SUVs have more compact suspensions for lower loading floors.

    Ground clearance: Truck-based
    Truck-based SUVs generally ride higher.

    Crash protection: Car-based
    Truck-based frames are too rigid in collisions and don't absorb very much impact energy. Car-based SUVs absorb the energy of a collision more effectively.

    Towing: Truck-based
    Torque & power = good for towing

    Ride and handling: Car-based
    Fully-independent suspensions absorb more bumps in the road, and car based-SUVs have low centers of gravity for better handling.

    Generalized quality & reliability (best to worst): Japanese, German, Swedish, American, British
  • Good analysis for the most part Except:

    Race Track:
    With equal motors, RWD is generally better as 4WD robs too much power.
    It depends on driving style as well. On some race tracks and driving styles, 4WD is preferable, if the power is available. Ever take a WRX for a drive through the twisties?

    Stuck in snow:
    I will have to disagree on 4-low (Liberty) being the best solution when you are stuck in snow.
    How is it different than the "going from a stop on a slippey surface" answer?
    LESS torque is often better to get out of the snow. In fact, shifting the tranny into 2nd gear will sometimes help you gain enough traction to get out. Some Traction Control systems actually try to "bog" the engine down to lessen the torque in order to gain traction.
    On the other hand, if you are stuck because there is too much snow for your vehicle to push, then it is often an issue of engine power, ground clearance, tires, and the capability of the drivetrain to provide power to as many wheels as possible (locking differentials, LSD, transfer case mechanicals etc).

    I do not understand your comment "People with 4x4 cars can stop bragging about how superior they are in bad weather"
    You just listed a bunch of reasons why 4WD or AWD can help you in bad weather.
    I think we also need to differentiate between Full-time AWD (Subaru et al) and Part-time automatic AWD. The Subaru system provides the best of both worlds for on-road bad & good weather situations. Its downfall is decreased efficiency.
    Also, we must not confuse the "On" switch on the Ford Escape with the full-time AWD such as the Subaru's. The Escape's system in "On" should not be driven in dry conditions and can lead to erratic behaviour when cornering in the slippery stuff.
  • You are right... thank you for the correction.
  • mad0865mad0865 Posts: 176
    And here's the question of the day. Some Jeep Lib's have "Selectrac", which has the ability of Fulltime 4x4. How does that rate with the Toyo's AWD? Personally, I'd rather have the FullTime instead of the AWD.
  • Gypsy116, you are totally right, it is a new car and ALL new cars models have problems the first year. Didn't mean to understate that. Wife have a 1996 Rav-4 which if my researh is correct, was the first year that it was in the US, I have a 1997 Ra-4 and I found out that there was something like 25 small changes from one to the next. You have to be careful buying a new model in a it's first year.
  • We also need to consider weight distribution, centre of gravity, track width, overall weight, wheelbase, suspension geometry and probably most importantly tires when it comes to "handling" in bad weather.

    A good front wheel drive car with good winter tires can out-handle an 4WD SUV with all-seasons in the snow and ice in many situations.

    Many of the vehicles that I have seen off the road, in the ditch during the winter are 4-runners, Explorers, Blazers, Jeeps etc, or poor handling cars like Ford Tempos and Chrysler K-cars.
  • You can be sure that DC does crash testing. Every test & every crash is slightly different, and they probably didn't create the exact environment that the IHS did when the wiring got severed. However, I'll bet they found several other issues which were resolved before release (and that we'll never know about, as it should be).
This discussion has been closed.