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2008 Toyota Highlander



  • There is no 4 cylinder version any longer. Toyota decided to go with the V6 engine only with their new 2008 model. The RAV4 still has a four, however.

  • Hey new 2008 Highlander Sport has nav, and I'm very familiar with it as it's my third Toyota with nav.

    Nav lady will say: "In half of a mile, right turn onto I-25 South." "Right turn ahead." "Bong bong."

    Unfortunately, she will only be this chatty on interstates and state and federal highways. She can't say neighborhood street names.

    In return for the lack of chattiness, she doesn't sound nearly as computerized as text-to-speech synthesis voices.

    In the new nav system, you also have certain voice commands available; however, other than the command for "home," it's a bit clunky because you have to press the button on the steering wheel and then say your command. Meanwhile, nav lady is TELLING you that you have to give your command after "briefly pressing the voice button." So the timing is weird.

    One thing that irked me about my '08 HL Sport is that the nav DVD is version 2006.1 - and I'm hearing that 2007.1 is not only available but shipping on some '08s. I'll have to cough up $250 for an updated nav DVD...which I've also heard will eliminate the need to press the infernal "I agree" button every time you start the car.
  • The second part of CNET's niggle about the nav system is flat wrong. Nav lady quite clearly says "Your destination is ahead, on the right" or "on the left."

    It may be that the particular destination they programmed in wasn't recorded in the DVD database correctly so nav lady couldn't tell which side of the road it was on. 99.99% of the time she'll tell you left or right side of the road.

    "You have arrived at your destination. Your route guidance is now finished" does usually occur a block or so before you're on top of the address - but of course the oh-so-giant 8" screen clearly shows you the target. Biggest...nav screen..ever!!!!
  • My '08 HL Sport has 300 miles on it. A thing of beauty.

    It really drives like a raised Camry - essentially, it IS a raised Camry, as chassis and engine are from the Camry.

    The 19" wheels on the Sport and Limited will provide a different ride feel than the 17" wheels on the base model you drove. I personally felt no real differences between Sport and Limited when driving - both were quiet, competent, just a bit more live over tar strips and seams on roads than a Camry.

    I preferred the Sport over the Limited for several reasons:

    --$4K less in general.

    --You give up HomeLink, the power rear liftgate, the ridiculous extra one inch of "thigh support" on the driver's seat, and (in most cases) SmartKey with the Sport; but you also give up (gladly) the absolutely hideous looking "wood trim" in the Limited. It's far too fake for my tastes. For $160, I can buy an aftermarket wood trim kit in an exact wood color and style to make the Sport look super cool, if I want.

    --You can get Sports with nav and leather, and that provides seat heaters and 98% of the gizmos on the Limited.

    I am insufferably pleased with myself because I was able to get a Cypress Green Sport - a rare color here in CO - a subtle, silver/green light to medium tone, not GREEN green at all. Very sharp especially compared to all the other colors, which are the ever popular and ever boring silver, gray, black and white. (There is a dark red that's kind of fun and a blue that's too vibrant.)
  • denverbrian (go Broncos!)
    I am in the Bay Area CA (ex Boulder)
    Thanks for the information
    I was torn between getting a Sport vs the Limited.
    The only thing a Sport does not have is the push button start. You can get everything a Limited has (power rear door etc).
    I was also concerned about the ride of the limited. I test drove one and found it fine, not as floaty as people have said it is.

    I also think the fake wood trim is ugly, but I can get used to it. I like the push to start feature.

    I am planning to get a green limited (wish it had the grey roof rails like the sport). I think the limited has the theft deterent system as standard (sport does not)
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    Comparably equipped, I came out to about an $800 difference between the Sport and Limited.

    This would be for a Sport 2WD with leather, JBL w/Bluetooth, auto front and rear A/C, power rear door, anti-theft system, and HomeLink. The Limited is with the power rear door, JBL w/Bluetooth, auto-rear air, and spoiler.

    I actually like the fake wood better than the fake metal, and the Smart Key, auto-dimming mirror, chrome scuff plates, and puddle lights seem like they'd be worth the extra $800. :)
  • Where did you purchase your sport with the deleted third row seat? I've checked with several dealers in the Chicago area and they ALL tell me that it is unavailable and is not even being made yet. It may be made sometime this fall.
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    I can't believe I'm probably the only one that likes the simulated wood trim on the Ltd Highlander. Of all the plastic wood trims Toyota has offered throughout the years I believe this is the one that actually comes closest to looking like real wood. I'm not an expert on wood but I do consider myself a bit knowledgeable. I have done several wood working projects in my life and own some fine musical instruments made of real wood to know the difference. What is it about this type that you guys don't like?
  • Has anyone tried any of the 3rd party trailer hitches that are available? I saw this one online, but am hesitant. I still don't know why the towing package doesn't include a fricken hitch.
  • Well, I have not seen the new Highlander so I can't comment on that, but the fake wood in my '03 is so obviously fake it's not even funny. There is no way it could ever be confused with "real" wood. Is the trim in the new Highlander that much better than before?
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    The plood (plastic wood) in the '08 has a "satin" finish. It's not glossy like plood usually is (which was the case with the previous Limited).

    Although I prefer the fake wood trim versus the fake aluminum trim that's becoming more common, I'm definitely not a wood expert. I've sat in some cars with supposedly real wood trim and thought the wood looked really fake.
  • nxs138nxs138 Posts: 481
    My Audi has real wood (they call it Bird eye maple, I think): it has a nice, darker deep grain, with a glossy lacquer. It doesn't stand out, rather it adds to the character of the interior

    My wife and I were horrified at the wood in the Limited: it is too bright and too obvious. There's something about the gloss (or lack of, maybe) that makes it look fake. And the color seems to be a bit off.

    Maybe it's because there's so much of it in the car. Personally, if the wood isn't real, why bother making a plastic that looks like it? There are so many designs you can do with plastics these days, especially with film-insert molding, I don't see the reason to emulate wood.
  • it appears that there are reported TSBs for 08 Highlanders. too soon? I bought my 2008 Highlander last month so I'm a bit concerned.
  • Does anyone know who manufactures the rear factory DVD player for Toyota?
    Does anyone know the hack to change the DVD player to allow all region playing?
  • To me (and yes - I guess I'm bias because I've already ordered by Midnight Grey Metallic Ltd) the 08 Ltd has about the same wood trim look as the current Lexus RX 350's w/gray interior... I like the look of them both.

    I did, however, like the look of the Sport w/Black interior. The consistent dash (black-on-black) and silver accents really blended quite well. Unfortunately, with little ones & hot summer days, Black interior is not an option for us. Plus, like others have said, I wanted the Smart Key, Puddle lamps, Power Passenger Seat (which, if I remember correctly, was only an option on Ltd), & Chrome Handle & Foot/Step plate accents.

    Given the number of complaints (even from numerous professional reviews), there must be something I'm missing. Sat in plenty (haven't received mine yet though) and just can't see the big deal with this wood trim.

    Quick question for those who've read this far in message, is it true that there's some type of Blue LED (like Lexus RX models) that brightens the cup holders of Ltd at night - with warm bluish light/tint? Have never sat in one at night to see, but I do see the location of the LED near pop-down mirror overhead...
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    TSBs can be nothing ( hot to prep the car for delivery ) or serious ( how to reflash the ECU for the tranny ). Every vehicle has hundreds of TSBs. Sometimes the TSB will cover the entire product line from Yaris' to Land Cruisers. Not to worry.

    A TSB is only a direction from the mothership to the satellite facilities on how to do something technically to the vehicle.
  • Where did you find the TSB jrm9703? I would like to know what is covered.


  • Thanks

    I Googled for 08 Highlander TSB and here's one of the links that came up:
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    That seems to be a blank site...register and fill in your inquiry
  • please try it again. if it doesn't work, try this:
  • According to the website, when you choose 08, Toyota Highlander, there are none...">
  • there are 0 complaints, recalls and investigations. but there are 5 bulletins.
  • fptgfptg Posts: 10
    Those bulletins are mostly pre-delivery items. The only one that "seems serious" is the ECU flashing. That is just reprogramming the ECU with (hopefully) better software.

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Here are the 5 bulletins from the US Govt's database on TSBs.
    1) Activating the TPMS
    2) Reflashing an ECU
    3) Installing a pin during PDS
    4) Calibrating the Compass during PDS
    5) Installing the front license plate bracket during PDS

    Link: NHTSA database on TSBs
  • I'm looking at the Highlander and a 5 yr old and 3 yr old will be frequent passengers. Anyone have experience with child seat installation in the new Highlander and if so what were your impressions? Was the Latch system convenient? The 5 yr old is in a booster with a back so that's easy but the 3 yr old is still in a forward facing toddler seat. Would appreciate thoughts and comments on this. Thanks.
  • As I look at potential options for a 2008 HL Sport, I'm curious about the "TO" option -- Towing Prep. Package.
    This is described as "includes upgraded radiator, transmission oil cooler with water cooler, 150-amp alternator and trailer pre-wiring, 5000-lb. towing capacity, engine oil cooler, 200-watt fan coupling and power steering oil cooler." I don't plan on towing a boat or anything else, but was wondering if it might be worth it to have these upgrades for the couple of hundred bucks. Or, on the other hand, is it just wasting money if I'm not going to put the added strain on the system? Any opinions?
  • I'm awaiting word from my local hitch guy when he gets in a hitch for my '08 HL Sport. I too was flabbergasted that Toyota would include a tow prep package without the hitch.

    My dealer was all apoplectic about me wanting to install a hitch on the HL's unibody frame and made lots of noises about needing to remove the bumper cover, etc. - and quoted me $650 to install. My local hitch guy called BS on that and quoted $216 installed.

    The nicest looking hitch I've seen for the HL is on eBay - Hidden Hitch. It appears to include a step above the receiver and is round tube.
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    Yes it is. I suggest the next time you're at Home Depot or Lowe's swing by the stains and lacquer section and see the wood samples. You'll see what I mean. Look for the "satin" finishes on the wood chips.
  • About comparison Limited vs. Sport.
    I also first considered Sport, but after careful comparison we have: difference in invoice is $2447 only.
    If you put leather ($1472), cold weather ($48), antitheft ($176),auto front AC ($300), all standart in Limited, difference is only $497!
    And it includes: smart entry, 2 more way to control driver seat, power passenger seat, wheel climate control, autodimming mirror w/compass (>$200), Homelink ($100).
    Not expensive at all, so now waiting for the car ordered from Japan factory.
  • While you might put a satin finish on wood for a table or trim in your home, cars have traditionally had high gloss or piano style fake wood trim, at least in recent years. That's why the '08 trim looks so bad - it's too dull a finish. And too yellow/orange.
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