I bought the Highlander thinking that Toyota is the venerable brand. The vehicle had good build quality, the panels were very closely aligned with no obvious spacing, however, the big issue was that within 20,000 miles, I heard lots of rattles. Those rattles were coming from all over the vehicle. I felt that paying so much for Toyota made me feel like driving in a tin box, everything in the vehicle looked flimsy and about to break.
This truck if you want to call it that - it is more like a car and is fantastic. The 4 cyl is plenty peppy and gives good gas mileage. The back seats also recline which is comfortable for the passengers. The build quality is very good and attention is paid to detail. It came standard with stability control and abs brakes and traction control so even without 4wd it is good in the snow. I don't regret buying it for one minute.
Stability and traction control - roominess - and reclining back seats - toyota dependability - resale value and toyota quality.
Tilt and telescoping stering wheel - I am 6'4" tall so give more room in front and less in back seat.
2004 Toyota Highlander AWD 4dr SUV w/3rd Row (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
Please understand that I really hate SUVs, but my family needed a car that could hold 6-7. I have always thought that the Highlander was the best looking small SUV, but I didn't realize that it had a third seat that would allow it to hold our family. We sold our Eurovan and bought a dealer demo, and I think it's the best car I have ever owned. At 25K miles, it's tight, quiet, comfortable, and everything that I could ask for in a family car. We happened to buy the loaded model, although I would have been happy with any combination as long as it had the third row. We have had it off-road once in Tahoe, and it handled a very rutted, rocky climb with ease. Highly recommended.
Overall size (small) compared to the interior room (generous). Great gas mileage compared to full size SUVs. Car-like handling. Toyota Quality. Driver ergonomics (shift, turn stalk, cruise control, etc. all excellent)
Pretty high wind noise on freeway. Lack of space behind 3rd seat with it in use. Gets dirty pretty quickl with soft interior surfaces. Not economical in town driving.