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.