Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Toyota Highlander



  • I have read the many comments on the Highlander and really appreciate all the positive comments and comparisons. One thing that no one has mentioned is location of dealerships. I am 110 miles from the closest Acura dealer and just don't want to drive that far for any kind of maintenance or service. We have a Toyota dealer 25 miles away and we are going with a Highlander. I am glad to see the comparisons are to the RX, MDX. etc. My choices (because of location) were vehicles like Cherokee, Blazer, Durango, Pathfinder, Explorer, etc. If you compare these vehicles to the Highlander it makes it an easier decision. I do like the MDX but I like having a dealer near also.
  • gpoltgpolt Posts: 113
    What is the name and location of your dealership?
  • I'm looking on the web site for more info on the Highlander and I notice one of the available options is the Home link System, what is it exactly?

    Is there similar animal to the GM North star System animal, where by if I lock my keys in my Highlander and not my cell phone, I can call a central dispatch to unlock my Highlander by satalite?

    Hoping to see the Highlander at the auto show by the end of the month to compare to MDX and RX300.

    Best Wishes

  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    This is not the same thing as OnStar. It is three buttons built into the sun visor that you can program to open your garage door.
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    Homelink is a system made Johnson Controls and OEM'ed to a number of car manufacturers. It's dominant product in this area.

    It is bascially a "learning remote" that will allow you to activate other remotely controlled systems such as a garage door opener, security, and home lighting. It is "rolling code" compatible so it should work with the new generation of secure garage openers.

    In terms of really cool things you could do with the Homelink, go to

  • canadianclcanadiancl Posts: 1,078
    ain't no true SUV. It's a tall wagon for the Starbuck crowd just like the rest of the cute-utes.
  • I went to the toyota website for the Highlander like the many of you at .

    Great exterior picture in Super White with two bicycles looks like a mini Navigator! It is awesome looking with its solid color, including the white mudguard. (I'm still apprehensive about the headlights though).

    I used its menu and compared Highlander V6 4x2 to 4Runner SR5 4x2. MSRP was $25,095 for Highlander and $26,335 for the 4Runner. Yes lots of optional equipment is the Toyota's game but it appears that 4Runner has few more standard features. With the heavy discounts that offered on the 4Runners, it may be a while until Highlander can actually be purchased for less than the 4Runner. Try out the menu for yourself.

    Subaru is a very good car. I loved its 94-97 SVX. The new Impreza WRX sounds impressive. However, its stationwagon (Outback and the Forester) aren't the best looking cars it the world. Yes, they are very good and reliable cars (hair or two from Honda/Toyota) but if they can make it better looking, (Remember Ford Mustangs in the early 90s?) they would substantially increase in sales.

    Escape/Tribute are thinking right with its V6, except that little thing called reliability. For can't afford MSRP me, probably another 6 to 12 months before trying to acquire the Highlander. If Honda CR-V tilted its steering wheel more (currently it's like driving a bus) and drop the Accord's V6 engine, for couple thousand more. . .
  • jmaterojmatero Posts: 253
    Geez... you can get a Passat for under $32,000 with AWD, leather, roof, front, side AND Head airbags...(yup, that's 6 airbags), traction control, cd changer AND in-dash, climate control... EVERYTHING (including 10/100000 drivetrain)... even a 5-speed tiptronic and V6... You know, for the prices they're charging, you might as well look at the RX300... they're making deals on those because they're "not the new kid on the block".
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    canadiancl see Post #330 above.

    The Highlander is most definitely a true SUV. The kind of true SUV 90+% of all people want today - a STREET UTILITY VEHICLE. The old style truck based SUVs of old are a dying breed.
  • qguqgu Posts: 93
    It is kind hard for me to decide between Highlander and MDX. For example, (I quote cliffy1's figures) a 4x4 V6 Highlader without moonroof, side air bags, 6 disc or climate control costs (MSRP)$29300. For about $5000 more, one can get an MDX with all the features in that HL, plus:

    Moonroof with shade,
    Duo Climate Controls,
    5sp Automatic transmission,
    Power Heated Front Seats,
    Fog lamps,
    7 Passager Seating,
    Side Airbags,
    Theater interior lighting,
    17" Tires,
    Better 4WD system according to James Healey of USA Today,
    Better sound system,
    Bigger engine,
    Trip Computer,
    Outside Temperature Gauge,
    Better Warranty,
    Acura Name.

    Looks like I have to wait for a while until HL price drops couple grands. My friend was able to buy a 2000 Camry last December for $100 over invoice. I hope after couple years HL can fall to that level but I doubt I can wait that long.
  • bobcatbobbobcatbob Posts: 187
    I have to tell you how much I hated the thing in person. My gripes are as follows:

    I am 5'11 and the Highlander doesn't even come up to my eyes. I think it much be somewhere near 65" at its peak. Combine that with being very wide, and the cruck (My name for a car-truck hybrid)looks odd. I mean, honesty it looks a bit like the new Suzuki!

    Second, the vehicle is not made for any sort of off-roading. As the salesman said to me "It's not meant for off-roading at all. Its meant to carry you, your three kids, and their strollers."

    Third, the price...The one I looked at was a Limited, no leather, no sunroof, and what looked like a simple CD player. The price? $32,500. Sheesh!!

    Finally, the instrument cluster was way too small and the dash sloped away from the driver. Just like a mini-van!

    More realistically, the Highlander is a tall wagon, but that doesn't make it a bad car, just not the one for me. I'll take a pass on this one and keep looking.
  • "Have to be honest with you, even though I liked the Highlander, I'm pretty much a died-in-the-wool Subaru kind of guy. Their new 2002 227HP Impreza WRX has really got me drooling..."

    I climbed around a Highlander today - it had just come in, so it was in the shop - and I would say that it really comes close to being a largish Forester, a tall station wagon. The driver's seat was good, tho it would have been nice if the steering wheel could be tilted up higher, since my legs tended to push into it, something that I encounter often in smaller cars. The back seat was quite comfortable and roomy, especially considering that this is a smallish vehicle. And everything looked neat & tidy construction-wise. The MSRP was $30.something K for a model that did not seem to have very much on/in it. A Sienna at the $28-30K price point seems to be a much, much better deal: a heck of a lot more room, a better ride (based on what reviewers have said), and better materials. It's hard to believe that we Americans aren't grossly overpaying for SUVs.
  • jblaze13jblaze13 Posts: 152
    This vehicle doesn't even look like an SUV. With the exception of large tires, the Highlander looks like a small minivan/tall wagon inside and out. This is definitely an appeal to the soccer moms. We won't even talk price. It seems that most automakers are trying to make vehicles that look and "act" like SUV's but ride like cars. Toyota got the latter part right. Its a great ride, but they missed with the styling.
  • Whoa, where did you see a car like that? My V6 cars with LL (Limiteds) with leather, moonroof, side airbags, tow, premium 6-disc JBL sound, wood etc are $32075 at MSRP.

    My 4WDs "Limiteds" in V6 with the exact same features is $33475.

  • bobcatbobbobcatbob Posts: 187

    I am in Baltimore, Md and the dealership was in Cockeysville, just north of the city. The guy said "Well, most dealers will charge you sticker plus a mark-up, but not us." Uh huh, seems like they might be doing that via some regional increase maybe?

    I asked if they were discounting the Sequoia yet and the salesman said "Hell, no, we charge as much as we can for them and those bad-boys sell."

    Now that I thnk about it, I do belive the price was $32,046...As I said, no leather, moonroof, or add-ons that I could see...

    And, I agree JBlaze, the Highlander is indeed a small mini-van/tall wagon with big tires.
  • Just interesting to know why people take double standards with two "cars" that almost mechanically identical.

    If go off-road *is* important, than appearance does not really matter.

    If go off-road is *not* important, than what SUV apparence can do for your?

    I am confused.
  • The 11 years Lexus has been around, their largest volume car of all time to date is the RX300. That vehicle's been on the road for 4 years and holds that title for them. It's no wonder that they decided to bring it to Toyota, downgrade a few things in a few places on SOME models, making the 4cyl powerplant available as the lower end of cars, and the V6 2WDs a little easier to swallow at a $28000-29000 sticker.

    There are still a good ratio of folks who avoid the Lexus dealers for two specific reasons: they do not like the roundness/ovate shape of the RX and they aren't emotionally "upscale" in the sense that they prefer the meat and potatoes of Toyota ways. I still have a ton of clientele who thinks every Lexus is $50,000 and up. Or, they have eben to a Lexus dealership and got scared off by "high-falutin" ways and salespeople pointing to full sticker and insisting they pay it on every product there.

    I am, and have been for some time, on the fence about my own car decisions. I bought a new Echo to commute in last year when gas pricing went nuts ($1.80 to $2 a gallon here last Spring) and it's been a wonderful little car -- 42 mpg, zippy, and very reliable. Matter of fact, I have put almost 30k miles on it in 10 months' time with my killer commute to work 6 days a week and running my three kids around when I can. We also own a much-despised 97 Ford Explorer, so I can say I made a wonderfully good investment in the $12000 Echo last year) and a horrible investment in the 97 Exploder when I bought it a year old too cheap to pass up. Hindsight being what it is, no great deal would have been worth the mechanical grief that Explorer's put me thru.

    Now, I stand at the precipice of "the decision": what to buy next for my "other" car. I bought the Echo to use for commute, and the Exploder's on its way out. My better half has been insistent on the PT Cruiser since we all saw it at the Long Beach Grand Prix showroom last spring, and our order-built car is going to land this next week. Waiting for that car has been keeping me from purchasing my own "fun" car, but now that it's almost here, I am on the market again. I am still 99% sure that I want the Solara SLE convertible in pearl white with tan leather, tan top. But, a few months back, I went to my local Lexus dealer on a Sunday to look at 2 cars that interested me: the little IS300 (?)and the GS300. Mind you, I am easy to get along with, and planned with every breath in me to deal with them locally, certain they'd be reasonable, and easy to work with once they knew who I was in the sense that I am NOT your average housewife and I am perfectly willing to let them make a reasonable profit for a fast transaction, already pre-approved at my own credit union.

    Know what? Once I gently began to talk turkey with the guy about pricing, finding me a non-Navigational system car (it's $6000 on the window sticker!! =:o) and offering a fair profit to them for a deal (and I was in the thousands, mind you, not in the hundreds) he scoffed and acted like I was insulting him. The more I pushed to find out what was possible off the MSRP, the more he wanted to literally get rid of me, but not before insisting that they needed to "check my credit" before starting any negotiations.

    I'm telling you, I was so sold on that GS300 in the light silver-spruce blue gray color with tan leather, I would have walked off with it if the price had been decent the risk of the big fight at home! My information was based on my own Edmunds research and confirmation of a friend who works with a Lexus/Toyota store in another part of CA.

    The Lexus guy's attitude made me shy of going to any other Lexus dealer elsewhere, frankly, and I put myself back into the holding pattern after that experience. I don't know how many folks used to dealing with Toyota stores might have had the same experience and decided that the Lexus "showroom" experience was too uppity. And, no matter what ANYONE was driving, Ford or Echo or even our 3rd car, the 92 Prelude, I wouldn't ever make someone jump thru hoops with a credit check when they were standing before me offering cash for the car and a credit union pre-approval letter for $40,000.

    It's good that we did bring the Highlander out, because it does fill a niche for Toyota. We needed a large wagon that isn't a minivan, and isn't trucky like the SUVs are. And, blessed be that they are $25000 to $32000 for us, with a scant few in the $35000 neighborhood due to VERY extreme overload of extras in 4WDs.

  • interesting story, Dianne. Amazing how stereotypes and cliches can persist throughout the sales process, even in "2001". You would think at some point this kind of behavior would become a deterrent, but the annual sales figures for the industry seem to imply that the process is not a threat to unit volume.

    Of course, the other side of your coin is one reason for Lexus' success to begin with -- many customers complained to Toyota about the sales/service process, and Toyota wisely created a premium brand and separated it from the main product. Classic product flanking and positioning strategy, and backed by real differences valued by a sizeable audience.

    Where I live, there is a Toyota dealer that carries so many other brands (domestic, Japanese, European) that none receive quality attention. I gave up my car from one of their other lines after the service experience at that dealership. Bought a MB, in part because of the "one brand, one dealer" alignment.

    Fortunately, there are other Toyota dealers in the area, and a new one that is in a smaller town and is a one brand, one dealer arrangement.

    I am also amazed at the number of sales people I encounter who either truly don't know about forums like this, or feign that they don't know. This has to be an incredible resource for you. Just spoke to a Toyota rep who said he had not been trained on the Highlander (it just arrived), and I knew more about the product during our test drive than he did, just from what I have read on Edmunds. There's no excuse for that. Why someone wouldn't understand the power of this resource, and who he will be negotiating with is beyond me.

    Actually, the answer is clear -- again, just look at the record breaking sales results. That confirms what PT Barnum said, "there's a sucker born every minute", and they all want new cars!

    Now you know where Chrysler got the name for their PT Cruiser.

    regards from,, stuck in Gulf States Port markup country
  • tommy38tommy38 Posts: 32
    Toyota Canada just posted the MRSP for the AL as follow
    - Base 2WD I4: $31900 CAN.
    - Base AWD V6: $36100 CAN.
    Both come with standard roof rack & privacy glass compared to the base US models. For comparation with other MRSP's
    - Carry XLE V6 (leather fully LOADED):$33300 CAN.
    - Honda Odyssey EX: $34300 CAN.
    - Acura 3.2 TL w/o NV: $36000 CAN.
    I cannot figure it out how those folks at Toyota came up with these ridiculous MRSP's for the HL...
  • canadianclcanadiancl Posts: 1,078
    Due to 3 things; styling, styling, styling. SUV's are all about styling these days. The Highlander is what the Forrester could have, and should have, evolved into.

    BTW, MSU, totally agree with you. I missed your re-definition of SUV in #330.
  • I just found a Toyota Highlander Club on Yahoo at it looks like it just stated up.
  • "P.T. Barnum" Cruiser...that's a good one.

    But seriously, can anyone who's seen a Highlander without the Limited Pkg/upgraded sound tell me if it's true that there is a fixed antenna instead of one in the windshield? Where is it at?

    I'm still trying to figure out where Toyota cut corners in order to make the Highlander cheaper than the RX. Of course, there is the luxury brand appeal, the longer warrantee, and the extra services from a Lexus dealer (when we looked at an RX, the guy was nice, he offered to let me test-drive one for a whole day). Beyond that...comparing a loaded Highlander to a base RX, there are things like the electrochromic mirrors and memory seats. And some differences in interior trim. Is there more? The antenna? Does the HL drive as smoothly and quietly as an RX, or is it somewhat less well sound proofed? Someone in a previous post said the suspensions are tuned differently, but a salesman just told me that's not true.

    I'm really hoping that the HL is mechanically QUITE similar to an RX--has anyone driven both? Am hoping it is the vehicle I've been looking for for a year and a half--not a true off-road SUV, but one which will give me better traction in bad weather. Something that will let me take the lawn mower in to get fixed without trying to cram it in the trunk (yes, I know it's supposed to fold up, but I can never remember how). Like an RX but cheaper and styled differently (and it has a better turning circle!). Not as wide as an MDX, and with a much smoother ride than a 4Runner. A little better gas mileage than a Pathfinder. It's just these darn options that seem to be getting in my way--too much of this and not enough of that in particular packages.

    Hmm...the spell checker tries to change "HL" to "AL."
  • jomabu1jomabu1 Posts: 37
    After test driving the Highlander today, I will share some of my insights. The ride and handling of it is very much like the USA Today article mentioned previously. The Highlander driving experience is quiet, smooth, and isolated. Very much like the Camry (with good reason). This car will be a great highway cruiser! I was a bit put off with the hard plastic on the dash and in other areas. My 90 Honda Accord and the current Accord has nicer dash materials that are softer to the touch. The hard plastic is also gripe I have with the MDX.The interior materials are a strong card for the Pathfinder. I must agree with some of the other posts that a loaded Highlander comes precariously close in price to the Acura MDX. I do like the option of not getting all all the bells and whistles. My wife and I were also cross comparing with the Mazda Tribute. We have settled on getting a Highlander. The larger cabin size, quieter more refined ride, and hopefully no recalls swayed us. Now we just have to find one in the Pacific Northwest. Any recommendations in the Seattle area for a dealership? Might wait for a few months to get one below msrp or have to order what we want.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Dianne: I would like to think that the rudeness shown to you by that Lexus salesman is an exception to the typical Lexus customer service, not the norm. You should consider writing a letter to the management of that particular dealer, especially if there is any chance you might still want to buy that GS300. Maybe a small amount of justice will prevail in the end?

    But I understand the larger point you were making, and I would like to add a little more on why many people would prefer a Toyota instead of Lexus. (By the way, I am not one of them, but much of my reasoning is because of the dealers I've experienced.)

    Service and parts costs are another reason why people might prefer Toyota. For example, we have a Lexus dealer nearby that promotes a "premium" oil change service every 3000 to 5000 miles for about $120! They also offer a basic oil change for about $35, but they don't make all their customers aware of that. An older co-worker of mine thought the $120 fee was required on his ES300! What's the difference with the "premium" service? I believe they perform a little extra inspection work, and they also rotate the tires. In other words, this "premium" service would cost less than $50 elsewhere.

    Regarding parts, I was soured by Lexus when I enquired about a CD changer for our ES300. I made the mistake of penny-pinching on our ES300 purchase, and I bought a model without the moonroof and without the CD changer. I really didn't want to pay $1000 for the moonroof, but I did want a CD changer. When I later enquired about having the CD changer installed by the dealer, the Parts Department said it would cost about $1500, before labor! I went back to my salesman to see if he could help on the cost of that CD changer, and he replied "no". He could not help me on the price of the CD changer. When I went back and talked to the Parts Manager, he said he could give me 10% off the cost. Hence, a 6-CD changer was going to cost me about $1350 plus installation! I believe that owners of older Lexus models no longer under the full bumper-bumper warranty would also be required to pay just as much if their CD players fail! I suspect stereo equipment for Toyotas might be just a tad less expensive, don't you?
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    I think the average person is "put off" by the high end dealers, they feel intimadated or out of place walking in. Though I am about to pick up a new RX300 tomorrow, I am by no means "wealthy." I remember the first time I walked into a Lexus dealer about a month ago, I had old jeans on and a T-shirt under my coat. They still treated me good and spent with me as much time as I wanted, all without running a credit report or anything.

    My wife then went by herself and they threw her the keys for a test drive and told her to have fun! She took off by herself and took a leisurely test drive.

    When it came time to buy, this dealer tried to meet the price we had in mind but wouldn't in the end. We ended up finding a great dealer through that would meet our price. THat dealer has subsequently handled all the insurance and paperwork and all I have to do is show up with a check and drive away.

    What I'm getting at is that I don't think one "bad" Lexus dealer is indicative of the brand at all. We've never owned a Lexus, but from my experiences so far, I'm looking forward to it.

  • ahossaahossa Posts: 152
    Would like to know if you hear wind noise and or Road noise. I test drove one but just around the block. The dealer had too many people and just 1 Hl.The drive around the block was real soft but I know highways can be challenging with a vehicle that high to avoid wind noise.
  • I noticed on the Highlander shift lever there is a button labeled "Snow Mode". Can some one tell me what it does and when it should be used.
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    If it's the same as the RX300, it will start the HL in 2nd gear from a standing stop. Because there is less torque, it usually helps the tires from spinning.

  • My wife and I looked at the Highlander at the LA auto show and were impressed. We had driven the 4Runner and RAV4 a week earlier and it seemed like a goldilocks experience-neither was exactly what we were looking for. One was too small and under powered and the other was too trucklike and thirsty. Now we need to drive the Hi and confirm.

    I'd like to know what octane gas the V6 Highlander requires. It seems that a 3.0L putting out 220 hp would require premium. But since this engine is used on so many other vehicles, it would make sense to me that it should use regular. The Toyota web site spec sheets didn't have this info.

    Also, if premium gas is specified, would there be any harm in using regular grade, since knock sensors adjust timing to reduce pinging?
    I realize that retarding the timing would reduce the power somewhat, but I doubt it would be very noticeable during normal use. Thanks.
Sign In or Register to comment.