For 2013, Toyota’s Highlander remains essentially unchanged since the 2011 model year update. It is a car-based mid-sized SUV with seven-passenger, three row seating. Sales of the Highlander (125,000+ in 2013) sits way below that of the RAV4 and way above that of the Toyota 4Runner.
I recently tested a Highlander, a Limited top-of-the-line unit that carried an M.S.R.P. of $42,514.00, including freight. The Limited’s base price of $39,400.00 had, as options, the rear seat DVD entertainment system ($1,760.00), luggage rack cross bars ($229.00), and a carpet/cargo mat combo ($280.00). For about $10,000.00 less, a standard 4-cylinder Highlander without many options is available, and for $1,000.00 more than the Limited, a Highlander hybrid is on the market with lower luxury content.
Limited model items on my test car included power moonroof and liftgate with glass hatch, 19” ten-spoke alloy wheels, chrome roof rails, three zone climate control, JBL/Entune navigation with 6.1” screen, perforated black leather seats, pushbutton starter, proximity keyless entry, tilt/telescope, backup camera, and nice Optitron instrumentation. The surround sound video player for two rows of back seat passengers performed flawlessly and featured a 9” screen that hung from the ceiling.
Styling,was great as was the opulent-looking black paint, “Limited” badging, and chrome door handles. The tires mounted on the alloys were Toyo A20 P245/55R19 all-season radials.
Power for the Highlander is supplied by a 3.5 liter V-6 with 270 horsepower and 248 lb. ft. of torque. The transmission is a five-speed automatic with snow mode and full-time four-wheel drive. A unitized body is employed and four-wheel independent suspension as well as disc brakes. EPA fuel economy ratings are 17-city and 22-highway, with a combined rating of 19. For the week that I drove the Toyota, my observation was of 21.2 mpg. Weight is 4,464 lbs., towing capacity is 5,000 lbs. and the fuel tank holds 19.2 gallons. Overall length is 188.4,”and cargo volume behind the third-row seat is 10.3 cubic feet.
I enjoyed the styling, interior comfort, visibility, road noise (or lack of), and guidance of the Highlander. The ride was a little less than satisfactory, but I still feel the Highlander would make a nice family hauler and/or travel vehicle.