I compared the HL with Jeep Liberty and Ford Escape. What sold me on the HL was the rear seat room, build quality, control layout, engine/transmission, and Toyota's reputation. I also like the rear hatch with the spare mounted below (versus the side-hinged door with gate- mounted spare on the Liberty). Mileage in the first 1000 miles is 17- 18 city, 21-23 highway.
I like the smoothness and power of the V6, the smooth-shifting tranny, the lumbar support of the driver's seat, the room front and rear, and the clean, no-nonsense exterior styling.
A counterbalanced hood instead of the cheap prop rod would be nice. Also, the option limitations by region can be frustrating. For example, I couldn't get side curtain airbags on the V6 FWD without adding the rear seat. Finally, I think a 6-disc CD changer and alarm should be standard.
The Highlander is a well-rounded vehicle and the perfect compromise. It combines great utility (passenger and cargo space), smooth comfort (plush and quiet ride), nimble and quick handling (plenty of power), good fuel economy (averaging 23 mpg w/ V6), and a reasonable purchase price. I replaced a Chevy Tahoe and the more manageable size is great when parking and maneuvering - yet the space inside is still ample. I compared against the RAV4 and found the HL to be more comfortable, upscale and attractive, for about the same net price. I skipped the third row seating as I’d never use it, and I appreciate the under-floor storage locker that’s provided instead.
All-around balance of utility, comfort, room, performance, efficiency, and value. Very smooth and quiet. Nice appearance, inside and out. Toyota reputation for quality. Terrific headlight performance (brightness and pattern).
I’d rather have a bigger, higher center console with integrated armrest and storage compartment. The cupholders are poor. Also, the instruments are deeply tunneled and can be too dark to read at times. These are minor nitpicks for an overall great vehicle.
2006 Toyota Highlander SUV Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
After driving a toyota pickup for many years, my last one being '04 four door prerunner, I decided I needed a vehicle that was like an suv but not that big and good on gas. Tada, the sport highlander caught my eye. After doing research and a test drive in the 3.3 6 cyl I was sold. The comfort, roominess and power are incredible. But the first thing I did was change out the factory goodyears 225/65r17 with michelin cross terrain 245's and the ride got even better. Highly recommend. Happy Highlander Owner.
Roominess, comfort, ride.
Please get rid of the cassete player and install an mp3 input.
2006 Toyota Highlander SUV Limited 4dr SUV AWD w/3rd Row (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
This is the first Toyota I have ever purchased. I bought it when fuel prices began to climb and I needed economical transport. I am surprised by the many innovative ideas and features I find every day when I drive it. The only suggestion I have so far is to improve the lumbar support of the seats as I have problems getting comfortable for long hauls. The features in my Limited belong on vehicles costing much more and I'm sure it will have the vaunted reliability Toyota is famous for. Looking forward to putting a lot of miles on it.
Optional radio with wheel mounted controls for sound. Console with added storage underneath shifter, rear bench seats with adequate access and AWD feature. I use the vehicle on jobsites and may pull off the road from time to time. Gas mileage.
Better lumbar support for the front seats. Perhaps better seat position options may help. Speed controls on the wheel instead of a separate stalk.