2006 Toyota Highlander SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Toyota Highlander SUV

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Toyota Highlander Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.3 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 215 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Toyota Highlander

  • With its fuel-efficient engine lineup, full complement of safety features and easygoing demeanor, the 2006 Toyota Highlander is one of our top recommendations to those who need SUV utility but don't want any unnecessary bulk or fuel bills.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Rides and handles like a Camry, smooth V6 engine, fuel-efficient four-cylinder, lots of standard safety features, high crash-test scores.

  • Cons

    Poor access to optional third-row seat, bland personality.

  • What's New for 2006

    A Sport trim level debuts and revised SAE testing procedures have resulted in reductions in the stated horsepower and torque ratings, though actual output is unchanged.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (13 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Quality goes a long way

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV w/3rd Row (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

Bought the SUV new at the time this SUV was made in Japan 90%, 10% in the states. The trk {SUV} is good on gas especially with the K & N air filter I put in the air compartment, and get up an go power. More than any v-8. This SUV has 3.3 V6, people said was slow but with this air filter it acts like a race engine. I bought the 2 wd drive for towing my boat of 18' of which it pulls out of the water with a full tank. Mind you NO 4 WD drive. Actually would like a hybrid high. for future. Hybrids are a needed thing the way Gasoline is heading. Not 25 cent a gallon anymore.

Love this suv

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV w/3rd Row (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

I just traded in my 2008 Highlander for this car and loved it the minute I sat in it. Toyota made a mistake making the 08 too big and bulky. The geometry of the earlier Highlander is perfect! Seat comfort, interior ergonomics, transmission, visibility, handling are all perfect. HVAC is not cool enough but this might be a repair issue. Other than that a perfect 10! Getting 21 MPG in mixed driving. Fine for me for a very responsive 6 Cylinder. I got the limited with leather for a great price. Plan to hold on to this car for many years.


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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV w/3rd Row (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

This is my 4th Toyota, 2nd HL. 1st HL was a 2002 4cyl. Loved it so much that we decided to upgrade to a 2006 6 cyl Limited model. Boy what a mistake. It has no more power than the 4 cyl & the way it drives & shifts is such a disappointment. When I slow down it jerks like I missed a gear and then when you go to accelerate, there is such a hesitation that you don't know if it is going to go or just die. It really scares me when I'm in traffic. I've told the service dept about this for two years. 1st they said nothing was wrong, then they said it was a flaw in the chip & they had a new update that would fix that. That didn't work. Now they say it is normal & that that's the way it brain works.

Wonderful car

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV w/3rd Row (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

It has been more than 2 years since we purchased this SUV and still totally happy with it. No problems to report to date and still runs just like it did when new. More refined and quieter than our previous Acura MDX. Not to mention a lot better on gas. It gets 22 mpg in mixed driving the Acura only got 16 mpg. Only thing I want more is the Lexus RX's styling, maybe in a few years I will trade it in, but for now still happily motoring even after 34k miles.

Great suv

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV w/3rd Row (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

I've had the car for almost two years, haven't had anything go wrong (knock on wood!). My first Toyota, I tried the RAV and a Buick Rendevous. The RAV seemed a tad too small, the Buick my husband didn't like. The size is perfect for us--just two but two dogs, one large, one medium, can both fit in the back seat, have plenty of cargo space left in back. Haven't used the third seat but wanted in case of emergency. Would agree good only for children. Rides smooth, easy to drive as a car, but the better and higher visibility of an SUV. Overall very satisfied and figure this to be a 10 yr vehicle.

Great suv

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV w/3rd Row (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

Our Toyota Highlander is the best vehicle we's ever owned. It's comfortable, gets good gas mileage and can haul heavy loads of gifts for our grandchildren. It seats seven and we love it.

Full 2006 Toyota Highlander Review

What's New for 2006

A Sport trim level debuts and revised SAE testing procedures have resulted in reductions in the stated horsepower and torque ratings, though actual output is unchanged.


The Toyota Highlander SUV debuted in 2001. It was one of the first midsize "crossover" SUVs to appear, and Toyota designed it to complement the more rugged and trucklike 4Runner. The Highlander has a carlike unibody design which leads to better handling, less cabin noise, improved crashworthiness and easier entry and exit for passengers.

The Toyota Highlander is meant for people who like the image and versatility of an SUV but prioritize the ride, handling and comfort of a sedan. Think of the Highlander as an oversize Camry wagon that went clothes shopping at REI, and you've got the general idea. Even in its sixth year on the market, the Highlander remains one of the better values for families who need a comfortable, easy-to-drive vehicle that can carry a fair amount of cargo, handle occasional snow and ice during the winter months and still turn in respectable fuel economy. Although you should definitely explore all your options in this segment, the 2006 Toyota Highlander offers a well-rounded package for the average crossover SUV buyer.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door Toyota Highlander SUV comes in three trims: base, Sport and Limited. The base models are decently equipped with items like 16-inch wheels; power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; air conditioning; keyless entry; and a CD player. The Sport spices things up with 17-inch polished alloys, sport suspension, foglights, color-keyed grille, chrome exterior trim, power driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift and a CD player. The Limited features automatic headlights, 17-inch non-polished alloy wheels, heated outside mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, power-adjustable front seats, a fold-flat third-row seat, an upgraded JBL sound system and HomeLink. Popular options for the Highlander include a rear-seat DVD-based entertainment system, an in-dash CD changer, a tow package and, on the Limited trim, leather seating and a navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

There are two engine choices for this Toyota SUV: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (that comes with the base Highlander) or a 3.3-liter V6 (optional on the base model and standard on the Sport and Limited trims). The four-cylinder makes 155 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, while the smooth V6 puts out 215 ponies and 222 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard on four-cylinder models, while V6 Highlanders upgrade to a five-speed unit. Tow ratings are on the light side, the maximum being 3,500 pounds on a properly equipped V6 model. The Highlander comes in both front-wheel-drive (2WD) and all-wheel-drive configurations.


All Highlanders come with four-wheel antilock disc brakes equipped with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and BrakeAssist, a stability control system, a tire-pressure warning system and whiplash-reducing front seats. Optional on all models are seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants and side curtain airbags for the first and second rows. In government crash testing, the 2006 Toyota Highlander scored five stars (out of a possible five) for frontal-impact protection. In side-impact tests, it again received five stars for both front and rear passengers. In frontal offset crash testing administered by the IIHS, the Toyota earned a "Good" rating (the best possible).

Interior Design and Special Features

The Highlander's passenger accommodations are reasonably spacious, but newer competitors offer more room in the second row. Ordering the third-row bench allows the Toyota SUV to seat two additional passengers, preferably small ones, for a total capacity of seven. Unfortunately, the second-row seat's lack of a flip-and-fold mechanism makes the third row tougher to access than most. When it's time to haul groceries, the third-row seat folds flat into the floor (without requiring removal of the headrests), opening up 38.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Drop the 60/40-split second-row seats and there are 81.4 cubes to go around.

Driving Impressions

A fully independent suspension delivers an excellent combination of comfort and control, although, like the Camry, most Highlanders favor ride quality over handling. Drivers looking for a flatter cornering attitude will want to consider the Sport version with its firmer suspension tuning. Regardless of trim level, the Highlander weighs less than many other crossover SUVs, giving a more nimble feel. The base four-cylinder engine provides adequate power for those who travel light, but most buyers will prefer the V6, which provides smooth, strong acceleration in all situations.

Talk About The 2006 Highlander

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs