I bought a 2005 Toyota Highlander in Aril 2005. I’ve put almost 75,000 miles on the car, so I am a reliable resource for a review. The Toyota Highlander is an excellent vehicle in almost every way. I have a couple of minor issues with the Highlander that I will talk about later in the article. First, let me tell you what I got and why. My goal was to have a car with plenty of room for teenagers and their friends. I wanted to be able to drive the kids around and let them take friends on trips to the beach. I had always owned a small car and really wanted the luxury of space for more people and more stuff. My previous car was a Chevy Malibu, so no room for friends or much of anything. If you want a review of the Malibu, let me know and I’ll be happy to write that up. In a nutshell, the Malibu was awful and my attempts to work with the dealer, the company and even the Better Business Bureau failed miserably. Now, back to the Highlander.
I did consider the smaller and less expensive Santa Fee, but concluded that I had to have the third row seat, available in the Highlander. I also considered a mini van briefly as the third row seat would be bigger, but just couldn’t do the mini van, it just didn’t appeal to me. The third row seat in the Highlander is small, but big enough to make a difference; it gave me the potential for two additional passengers, for a total of seven people. When not in use, the third seat folds down and gives you a nice large luggage area. Once I made the decision to go with a third row seat and not a mini van, I began to search in earnest. Toyota had great ratings in all the car magazines. It was rated safe and reliable and long lasting. When I went to the dealer to test drive the Highlander, I was immediately impressed by the comfort and the space. It is literally like driving around in your living room. The seats are comfortable and the space is wide enough to let me keep the purse in my seat next to me. It feels huge on the inside but isn’t at all overwhelming and doesn’t look enormous from the outside.
I expected to get a little over 20 miles per gallons on the highway and was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s closer to 25. I did not go for the 4-wheel drive as I don’t need it; I don’t drive in bad weather. For me, there is no use spending money on something I don’t need. The few times I’ve been caught at the start or end of snow storm, the Highlander has been great. The vehicle drives incredibly smooth and for anyone like me, this is a huge step up from the small sedan. It’s no wonder I’ve put so many miles on my Highlander. It’s just fun and easy to jump in and drive around, short trips or long trips. There are plenty of cup holders and a nine-volt plug in the front and the back, very hand for the phone charger and the cooler. For moving or hauling large items, you can fold the entire rear section of the car down, leaving just the driver and passenger seat. I have had no mechanical problems with the vehicle and just take it in for service as recommended.
The minor problems I have with the Highlander are visibility and noise related. The Highlander requires extra caution when you’re moving from lane to lane on the highway. You really have to look back over your shoulder to the right before you make a shift to the right lane as there is something weird about the mirrors and the visibility. Make sure you check this out on a test drive as you have to be comfortable driving the vehicle. I have the same problem parallel parking the Highlander, it’s difficult to gauge exactly where you are from the curb and the mirrors seem distorted. The other problem has to do with the back windows. Do not ever put a back window down, when the front windows are up. The noise will hurt you. It’s and odd phenomenon that Toyota really should fix. Again, check this out on the test drive.
Aside from a couple of minor problem, this vehicle is excellent. The Highlander is as close to perfect as it gets. Comfortable and trouble free, nice colors available, great interior design, space and comfort and a smooth trip for the entire family and all the luggage. By the soft luggage holder to strap on to the roof rack and you are ready to go anywhere in style and comfort.