Toyota Highlander

Photo of Highlander front grill The Highlander is an SUV built by Toyota Motor Corporation. The Toyota crossover competes against other midsize SUVs including the Honda Pilot and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Toyota Highlander is about the same size as the Venza, another Toyota crossover, but larger than the Toyota RAV4, a compact crossover. The Highlander is still quite a bit smaller than Toyota Sequoia, which is a full-size SUV built on the same platform as the Tundra.

Best Highlander

The second-generation Highlander, model years 2008 to 2013 is the most Followed type of Highlander on Mojo Motors. It is a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS and is known for impressive reliability. A used Highlander for sale can be found with a few engine types. It has a 3.5-liter V6 with 270 horsepower and a 2.7-liter four cylinder engine that makes 187 horsepower. The same V6 engine is also available as a hybrid.

The four cylinder engine is available on the base and low-end trim Highlander, but does not come with four wheel drive. The four cylinder engine gets a combined 22 MPG. The V6 is available on all Highlander trims and can be found in 2WD or 4WD. The 2WD V6 engine gets a combined 20 MPG while the Highlander 4X4 will get a combined 19 MPG. The hybrid engine is only available in 4WD and gets a combined 28 MPG.Highlander long View side photo

The third-generation Highlander, model years 2014 to the present, are just starting to hit the dealerships. The Highlander has been upgraded and just by looking at the third-gen model makes it noticeable. Nonetheless, Toyota has stuck by with the same four cylinder and V6 engines from the previous generation.

Highlander or Pilot

highlander image seats downThe Toyota Highlander faces the stiffest competition from the Honda Pilot. The third row in the second-generation Highlander was notorious for being cramped so Toyota addressed these shortcomings in the third-generation Highlander which can now comfortably fit adults. However, shoppers of the second-generation Highlander will notice the lack of space in the third row.

Cargo room in the trunk is also an issue with the second-generation Highlander. When the third rows are up, there is only 10 cubic feet of space. Even in the third-generation Highlander, there is still only 14 cubic feet of space. The Pilot boasts 18 cubic feet of space behind the third row.

The Highlander and Pilot get similar gas mileage, about 20 MPG with a V6, but shoppers who are looking for the most efficient engine will notice Toyota has more options. While the Pilot is only available with one 3.5-liter V6, the Highlander has a four cylinder engine and a hybrid option.

Highlander Facts

  • In Japan and Australia the Highlander is called the Kluger which means “clever” or “wise.”
  • The Highlander is a unibody, meaning the frame is built into the body meaning a smoother ride, lighter weight and better gas mileage
  • In the Consumer Reports 2012 Top Picks report, the Highlander won the Family SUV category.

Written by Max Katsarelas