Our 2002 has 160,000 miles on it and has been a very reliable vehicle. I do all of my own routine maintenence work, and filers, plugs, etc., are easily accessible. The engine and auto trans still run like brand new - does not use any oil between changes, has never needed any internal engine or trans work - and never had any problems with any major components. We live on a rough gravel road, and the suspension was starting to feel a bit lose at 150,000 miles - I installed new struts, link rods, ball joints, bushings, etc. and it is back to feeling very "tight". The Idle Control Valve became dirty and caused stalling problems, but once I cleaned it problem went away.
Very reliable vehicle and comfortable for long trips. Back in 2002 they did not offer the 3rd row, but that has never caused us a problem. With routine maintenance I expect to get at least another 100,000 miles out of it.
I originally bought this car, my first Toyota, because it was rated #1 in Advanced Safety (the lighted running boards were a plus too!). Over 77,000 miles later, it still gets 22 mpg around town, 26 mpg on road trips and I've only had to replace the tires at 56,000. No other expense except for oil changes every 3,000 miles. That emissions light does come on with the gas cap issue, but I just let it stay on. Cargo compartment more than adequate for my needs -- 400 lbs of chicken feed and two bales of hay on the luggage racks on top! Back seat comfortably seats three if you need to. I just had it detailed so it is brand new all over again and I couldn't ask for a better, more dependable car
Good gas mileage, roomy cargo, good stereo sound system, very smooth ride.
I'd like to sit higher up; coming from an Isuzu Rodeo, I feel like I'm not riding much higher than a car. Even the newer Highlanders seem to sit higher up.
After five years and 27,000 miles, I have mixed feelings about our 2002 Highlander. Like all Toyotas it has been super-reliable, and maintenance has cost less than $600 including one pair of tires. However, even with the V6 engine this vehicle is fairly sluggish and gets about 16-17 mpg around town and 20-22 mpg on the highway. Handling is secure but feels ponderous. There is a bewildering array of levers protruding from the steering column. The storage compartment between the two front seats is horrible: narrow and deep, with a two-part cover that jams easily. The seats are only semi-comfortable on long trips. OK if you need an SUV, I guess, but nothing to get excited about.
Roomy, reliable, holds lots of stuff. Not bad looking for a SUV. Decent ride.
Easier-to-use controls. Redesign the storage area between the front seats or ditch it altogether. Fix glitch that causes a warning light to come on if gas cap is not tightened 100% - which only the dealer can reset!
2002 Toyota Highlander Limited 2WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
I had bought this car used at a local dealership with 10k miles on it. After a few months, I had started to notice some minor rattling coming from the trunk area. I had brought it back to the dealership and they claimed to have replaced some clips. Still rattles. A few months later, I bought it to another dealership for the recall and again complained about the rattle. They added some foam, but the noise is still there. Over the years, more rattling started to appear from the dash and trunk. It's beginning to sound like my old 1984 Supra. At least the car is reliable. Hasn't broken down once.
Comfortable seating and large trunk space. Easy to read/use dashboard controls.
Fix the rattling and stiffen the suspension slightly.
Besides the expensive $35K+ SUVs, this has to be the best buy for your money! This car is so reliable, and hasn't broken down yet, even at 65,000 miles! All we have done is changed the oil twice, and changed the tires at 30K miles. Oh, the goodyears that originally came on the Highlander were "interesting." We replaced them with michelins. very satisfied with this purchase, way better than any van or the honda pilot! Very comfortable car, can tow up to 3K pounds (tried it before, works great with the V6, even up the steep hills in the Grapevine in N. LA county), good acceleration, nice looking, average gas mileage is about 20 MPG, mostly street driving. Not bad eh? Great car overall!
Reclining back seats, towing ability, cargo space, overall design, V6 engine, gas mileage, running boards, full size spare tire!!
Navigation on the 06-07 highlanders be more "integrated" and luxurious, more back seat leg room (there is enough, more would be nice), better standard tires, thats it!