2003 Toyota Highlander SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Toyota Highlander SUV


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Toyota Highlander Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 155 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2003 Toyota Highlander

  • Need SUV utility but don't want any unnecessary bulk or fuel bills? The Highlander could very well suit your needs.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy cabin, carlike ride and handling, clean styling.

  • Cons

    Gets expensive quickly, limited towing and off-road ability.

  • What's New for 2003

    There are no changes for the Highlander this year.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (304 total reviews)


by on
Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Highlander AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Purchased used 5 years ago with 86,000. Didn't flinch at the mileage due to Toyota's reputation for reliability; car drove well, at first. Sold at 109,000 due to expensive repair and maintainence costs including: All 4 wheel bearings, $500 a pop. Breaks completely replaced, some more than once. $2,000 spent on breaks in just 2 years. Evaporator sensor went bad; $400 just for the part. Muffler developed a small hole; $400 for a new one. Straw that broke the camel's back: drive shaft developed a wobble and needed complete replacement $1,200. Cut my losses and unloaded the hunk of junk. Other car was a 20 year old Subaru Legacy that had fewer problems and was cheaper to maintain.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

New owner-wierd issues

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Highlander Limited AWD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I just purchased the Toyota Highlander 2003 and upon purchasing the vehicle I was very happy. The check engine light came on shortly after purchase and apparently the cause is a bad "ECM" board in the SUV. I am not sure if this is common but I have experienced this problem. I love the vehicle otherwise and plan on driving it for a while. Currently at 82K hope it lasts to 200K without major repairs.

Blown head gasket engine 4cyl

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Highlander Fwd 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Beware of the dreaded code stating leakage in exhaust system, for this is an idication of the head gasket going and leaking coolant. Upon further review it is found thatrear head bolts are stripped due to excessive heat most like caused by foam insulator pad between plastic intake manifold and engine. Some say engine is toast, but the fix rec. is a time sert insert kit (approx $500 helicoil) with drill guide. Mine is to be currently repaired at about a total cost of $2,900.00 as long as the helicoil kit holds the head bolt torque, we will see? It is a design flaw in my opinion as it seems to be a regular issue with the four cylinder Highlanders approx.2001-2005? Failure was at 160,000 mi.

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2003 Toyota Highlander Review

What's New for 2003

There are no changes for the Highlander this year.

Talk About The 2003 Highlander


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