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 All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 215 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/22 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 (5 total reviews)

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Most boring & best vehicle

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

Our Highlander has been nothing but flawless. Not a single warranty issue and it does an excellent job as our family vehicle. The only thing I would have done different was not get the 3rd row seat. It was never used once in the almost 4 years I have owned it. Also, if you want to buy a first generation Highlander, I highly recommend getting a 2005-2007 model. This was after the Minor Model change and the interior is much better than the 2004 and earlier models.

Nice suv, but the newer

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

We purchased a 2006 Highlander to replace our 2000 Blazer. We chose to go with the Highlander because we wanted improved fuel economy, but still with a V6/4WD combination. We also were impressed with the safety ratings on the Highlander. Now, the Blazer was OUTSTANDING in the snow, and only time will tell if the Highlander will do well in the snow too. The power delivery from the V6 was better than I expected, but having also test-driven a 2008 model (expensive) it lags in comparison. The transmission is seamlessly smooth, and the suspension in the Sport package makes the vehicle more fun to drive. The third row really only provides adequate room for children, but it is nice to have.

So so suv

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

Purchased this vehicle in 2006 for my wife. After about 2 months we realized that this vehicle is not for us. It has the V6 but is very underpowered. It will hardly get out of it's own way. The seating is very uncomfortable. The most disappointing feature for us is the traction control feature. This cannot be turned off. While in light sand at the beach, the traction control locked up all wheels with the brakes as the wheels wanted to spin. This also happened in an icy condition last winter. Very disappointing. The quality of the vehicle is typical Toyota. It will probably outlast us all. If you are considering a Highlander, think about how you will use it and what your expectations are.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

My 06 highlander sport

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

I love my 06 Highlander Sport v6. Drives like a dream with precise handling and very much a carlike ride. I like the firm but not choppy ride. The sport tuned suspension provides a very nice and predictable handling experience. Corners beautifully, and the acceleration of the V6 is powerful, yet provides decent mpg. My Highlander now has 3000 miles on it and my mpg overall city/hwy is 20mpg. I've been getting around 22.5 on the hwy. I love my highlander and happy I made the choice of owning one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

My sport

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

Love it! Drives like a Camry and just as quiet, luxurious and comfortable too. Handles well in all situations. Just all-around great performance! Stereo, air conditioning and heating are incredible in sound and performance. Everything it's cracked up to be.

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


  • 16
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs