2009 Toyota Highlander SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Toyota Highlander SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
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Toyota Highlander Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 270 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Toyota Highlander

  • With plenty of room, power and features, the 2009 Toyota Highlander is optimized for family use. If you're shopping for a midsize crossover SUV, make sure you try this Toyota.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful yet fuel-efficient V6, easy to maneuver for its size, user-friendly cabin design with reconfigurable second-row seats and a fully usable third row.

  • Cons

    Third-row seat folds as a single unit rather than in 50/50 sections.

  • What's New for 2009

    Toyota offers a four-cylinder version of the Highlander for 2009, but only on the base two-wheel-drive version of this popular crossover.

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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 17
  • cty
/
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



The best bang for your

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV (2.7L 4cyl 6A)

This car is great, bought used with less than 60K, but in near mint condition at purchase, engine is strong, easy to move seats down for storage and has a lot of nice creature comfort features. Its got decent power for a 4 cylinder and since I'm not towing, and this is primarily a people mover, the gas savings are perfect. Drives like a car, would recommend to anyone looking for a mid size suv that is reliable, fun to drive and very functional.




Highlander sport

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Highlander Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

This is my father's car and it is great. The sport suspension does make a difference, it handles better than my 2013 Highlanader. Theres more steering feel. It does well in the snow, haven't had any problems with it. Just doing maintenance on it. The JBL sound system is amazing! Some of my leather Jackets tend to stick to the leather on the seats and make a weird noise when I get out of the seat. It does everything you want it to. I like the huge backup camera as well.




Great!highlander

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

all people writing a review on this issue about the toyota highlander you need to open your manual owners booklet before you complain regarding the problem of your highlander...first evry 5,000 miles you need to wheel rotation 2nd you need evry 12-18moths wheel alignment 3rd you need to retorque all under chassis evry 36 moths...very important to check your oil and coolant transmission fluid every week...God bless all



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Mostly as expected but not

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Highlander Sport 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Own this SUV for nearly 2 years. Reliability is good. No issue so far. But there are quite a few rattling noises from dash,2nd and 3rd row seats. It's definitely not as serious as mechanical or electrical problem but sometimes is quite annoying. Dealer said it's from under seats and cannot fix due to safety issue. Another problem is the very weird tire size. They're top expensive. Change a set will charge $955 at Costco and $1000 at America Tire. Basically it's a comfortable and fast car but Toyota can make it better.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great suv!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV (2.7L 4cyl 6A)

We love our Highlander I4 with convenience package. This car has all the features I need and nothing you don't need-perfect. We love the space and comfort, ride quality and general feel of this car. The assembly quality is first rate. It had defective water pump after one year but it is one of the first ones that they put together. In any case, it didn't stop in the middle of the road. The 4 cyl engine is great. It is quiet, and powerful enough to pull full load on our 1000 mile trip. It lacks a passing power a bit but it is a great cruiser and plenty of pep around town. Efficiency was as low as 19 mpg and as high as 29 mpg. Road feel is good but 6 spd transmission is too shift-happy but smooth.




Don't by toyota

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

At 20,000 km a Whirring sound came from the front right of the Highlander. 2 dealerships say it is unfixable and I quote : to give the vehicles strong gears the downside is at 80 km Toyotas will make a very annoying sound but YOU"LL just have to live with it because there is nothing we can do" end of quote. Unbelievable! The sound will drive you nuts and they cannot fix it,, they said it is in MOST all their vehicles and if they replace the problem which they agree there is, it will just come back because that is the design of th e gear box! Customers, I kid you not, $50,000 for a vehicle like this and even Toyota Canada gives me the Slough off !



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Full 2009 Toyota Highlander Review

What's New for 2009

Toyota offers a four-cylinder version of the Highlander for 2009, but only on the base two-wheel-drive version of this popular crossover.

Introduction

Boasting midsize SUV versatility without the attendant poor fuel mileage and trucklike handling and ride, the 2009 Toyota Highlander exemplifies the virtues of a now-flourishing vehicle breed -- the crossover SUV. When the first-generation Highlander debuted nearly a decade ago, it was a trailblazer in this segment, demonstrating that a vehicle could look and function like an SUV without driving like one. Today, the second-generation Highlander is in its sophomore year of production, and it's just one of many highly competent crossovers on the market. It remains one of the best, though, thanks to its flexible and ergonomically sound interior, secure handling and forceful yet frugal V6.

For 2009, the Toyota Highlander stands pat with the exception of a new four-cylinder version being offered in base two-wheel-drive trim. As such, most new Highlanders will still be fitted with Toyota's superb 3.5-liter V6 that is doubly blessed with impressive output (270 horsepower) and higher-than-average fuel economy. Inside, the Highlander continues to offer useful features such as Center Stow, which allows easy stowage of the center section of the 40/20/40 second-row bench seat, thus providing walk-through access to the third row.

As good as it is, the Highlander now competes in a segment that is awash with many strong candidates. General Motors' Lambda-platform quadruplets (Buick Enclave/Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook), Hyundai's Veracruz and Mazda's CX-9 are all excellent choices. The Highlander isn't quite as cavernous inside as the GM crossovers, so it might not be the best choice for bigger families. However, if you don't have five kids who could stand in for the New England Patriots' defensive line, and you find the Toyota's all-around versatility appealing, the refined and relatively economical 2009 Toyota Highlander is hard to top.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Toyota Highlander is a midsize crossover SUV with seven-passenger capacity. Toyota sells it in three trim levels -- base, Sport and Limited -- all of which are available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD).

The base version comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, a fold-flat third-row seat (which can be deleted for a credit), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, a CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack and full power accessories. Stepping up to the Sport provides 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, automatic headlights, foglights, a flip-up rear hatch window, a 3.5-inch information display screen, a back-up camera, an in-dash CD changer (with MP3/WMA capability), upgraded seat fabric, a power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and one-touch folding capability for the second-row seats.

Like the Sport, the Highlander Limited wears 19-inch wheels but goes with softer suspension tuning and adds more luxury in the form of power-folding and heated outside mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, a power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and ignition and wood-grain interior trim.

Options include a rear air-conditioner for base and Sport models, automatic rear climate control for Limited models, a power sunroof, a power liftgate, heated front seats, a rear DVD entertainment system and towing preparation. The premium-grade JBL sound system supplies Bluetooth connectivity and increases the speaker count from six to nine, but its in-dash changer maxes out at four CDs instead of the usual six. The available navigation system can only be ordered in conjunction with the JBL audio upgrade.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2009 Toyota Highlander except the base front-wheel-drive version comes with a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 270 hp and 248 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional on all but the base four-cylinder model. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, and regular 87-octane fuel is all that's required. The new 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine is not exactly a slouch, cranking out 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, and it's matched to a six-speed automatic to optimize performance and fuel economy. At our test track, a Highlander Limited V6 AWD sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, making it one of the quickest vehicles in its segment. Properly equipped, the V6-powered Highlander can tow 5,000 pounds, a respectable figure for this segment.

With the V6, the front-drive Highlander's fuel mileage stands at 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined; an AWD V6 version rates 1 mpg less across the board. As of this writing, estimates for the four-cylinder Highlander were not yet available.

Safety

All expected safety equipment is standard on the Toyota Highlander, including antilock disc brakes, stability control and hill-start assist (which keeps the vehicle from rolling backward when starting on uphill grades). All-wheel-drive models come with a downhill assist feature to enable slow, controlled descents down snow-covered driveways. Airbag coverage includes front-seat side airbags, three-row side curtain airbags and a driver-side knee airbag.

In government crash tests, the 2009 Toyota Highlander scored five stars (the highest possible) for the driver and four for the passenger in frontal impacts and five stars for side impacts. In frontal offset crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Highlander earned the top rating of "Good."

Interior Design and Special Features

Larger adults will find the Highlander's interior more accommodating than in the previous generation, as first- and second-row room have grown noticeably in all directions. At the same time, the control layout remains simple and easy to understand, and the quality of the interior materials is high.

The Highlander's third-row legroom falls short of what's available from competing large crossover SUVs, but getting into the third row is much easier, thanks to the second-row seats' improved fold-and-slide mechanisms. There's also a specialized center section of the 40/20/40 second-row bench seat that provides walk-through access to the third row. The middle "20" section simply slides into its own cubby under the front seat center console.

Cargo space is scant when all three rows are in use, measuring just over 10 cubic feet. Folding the third row yields 42 cubes, though, and with the second row down, there's a healthy 95.4 cubic feet -- still short of the Mazda and GM crossovers, but otherwise a good figure for this class. Our only complaint is that the third-row seat folds as a single piece rather than offering a 50/50 split, thus limiting your options when you have a mix of passengers and cargo to carry.

Driving Impressions

Although the current Highlander is considerably larger and heavier than the previous generation, it's still more pleasant to drive than most other midsize SUVs, even those of the crossover variety. Visibility is excellent all around, and the steering is light enough to make the 2009 Toyota Highlander easy to maneuver in tight spaces yet adequately precise while cornering. The V6 is a highlight, delivering strong, smooth acceleration in any situation. The ride quality leans toward the soft side, even with the Sport trim level, but that's to be expected in a family-oriented crossover.

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Talk About The 2009 Highlander

2009 Toyota Highlander Discussions See all Started By

1headlight
1headlight
09-17-2008
(Thread cross posted from Highlander buying experiences)...


damdegraff
damdegraff
09-05-2009
We just bought on 09 highlander limited w/o nav and I am struggling to understand how to turn the radio on without having to start the car. Is this possible?...


marc52
marc52
04-05-2010
Has anyone changed the air filter on a 2009 Highlander? Has anyone used a K & N replacement? Is there any mileage or horsepower gain?...



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