2010 Toyota Highlander SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2010 Toyota Highlander SUV

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Toyota Highlander Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 270 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2010 Toyota Highlander

  • The 2010 Toyota Highlander's gutsy powertrain, versatile interior and carlike maneuverability make it an ideal choice as a do-all family vehicle.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful and fuel-efficient V6, user-friendly cabin with innovative second-row seat design, easy to maneuver considering its size.

  • Cons

    Less total interior capacity than some competitors, one-piece third-row seatback limits passenger/cargo-carrying flexibility.

  • What's New for 2010

    The 2010 Toyota Highlander is unchanged other than a new sunroof option on base four-cylinder models and an available rearview camera that's now offered on base V6-powered versions.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (8 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

4 years later, still a

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Vehicle: 2010 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I purchased my Highlander in November 2009. 48k miles later and she still drives like she did off of the lot. Plenty of cargo space to accommodate our family of 4. Enough acceleration to make merging onto any freeway a breeze. It's average around 20 mpg. The interior of the car has held up very well. Plenty of room and head clearance (I'm 6'3"). Quiet and soft ride. It handles much like a Camry. We've had no problems, other than the tires wearing out at 30k miles. Put some Michelin tires on and they haven't had any wear after 18k miles. I do wish it had an outside temp reading on the dash. The 3rd row is very cramped, and hard to get to, but we don't really need it anyways.

Look before you leap.

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Vehicle: 2010 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I test drove a 4 CYL and a V-6, no comparison. I would not go for a four. I wanted a base to save money but I wanted leather and added it at the dealer. They did not have a V-6 base when I test drove, just SE and LTD. I ordered the V-6 base to be sent in from the port. The car looks great and feels great to drive. I was disappointed in the lack of certain things that are not there nor can they be added at the dealer. No outside temp reading, no fog lights, no trip fuel econ reading, no homelink garage control. A car with a 30K sticker, you'd think they would have some of those features! Bottom line, I did not do enough homework to see some of the items I wanted are not on the Base V6.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Cargo space?

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Vehicle: 2010 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Can't tell you how Toyota measures cargo space, but, they must not use the standard formula of W x L x H. The stated 95.4 cu in is grossly overstated: Measuring w/ back seats down, from the tailgate to back of front seats, from the roof to the floor (top of lowered seats), and, from the widest width, I come up with 70" x 34" x 42". Totaling 99,960 cu in. Divided by 1,728 cu. in. that make a cubic foot, I come up with 57.8 cu ft. If the driver and passenger are cargo, that might make the difference. Measuring the same area on the Honda Pilot, I come up with 74 cu ft plus about 1 1/2 feet under the back mat. And, the seats all lay flat. Unlike the Highlander.

Satisfied highlander owner

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Vehicle: 2010 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

We purchased this vehicle as a second family hauler. We shopped the Chevy Transverse, Mazda CX-9, Ford Edge, and the Honda Pilot. The Mazda and Chevy had the looks but when fuel economy and reliability was factored in, we decided the Highlander fits our need. The ride comfort was also a deciding factor in this decision. We're averaging 19 to 20 city and 24 to 27 on the highway (75mph) with the Base V6 package. The higher numbers were achieve during moderate driving. (I don't baby anything I drive). Don't let the recent recalls scare you away from this vehicle, test drive one and you will see.

Fits the bill!

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Vehicle: 2010 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Purchased the vehicle as a secondary hauler for my wife. We have no kids at home but just in case grand kids arrive, this vehicle is just the ticket. We shopped the Chevy Transverse, Mazda CX-9, Ford Edge and decided on the Highlander for fuel economy and reliability. Don't let all the noise about the recalls fool you, test drive one and you will be pleased. We average 19 MPG mixed with 24 to 26 MPG highway driving at 75 mph. This is with the V6 Base package. My wife likes the idea of a large vehicle that's easy to maneuver. As with any vehicle, all is not perfect. Sometimes the steering feels too light and there is torque steer under hard acceleration.

Best suv

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Vehicle: 2010 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I only had car for a month and love it. Compared to other SUVs best performance and handling. Powerful engine and smooth ride. Bit on soft side but secure. Brakes are strong and responsive, interior room is great. Kids love 2nd row space compared to 2nd row room for our BMW (3 series). Drives on snow with no issues and stability control kicks in when needed.

Full 2010 Toyota Highlander Review

What's New for 2010

The 2010 Toyota Highlander is unchanged other than a new sunroof option on base four-cylinder models and an available rearview camera that's now offered on base V6-powered versions.


What do you get when you cross a sport-utility vehicle with a sedan? Something that looks an awful lot like the 2010 Toyota Highlander. One of the first of a new breed of crossovers when it debuted almost a decade ago, the midsize Highlander quickly carved out a niche for itself by combining the shape and practicality of a traditional SUV with the more refined ride and handling qualities of a passenger car.

Representing the model's second generation, the 2010 Highlander remains a standout in an increasingly crowded segment. One of the Highlander's better attributes is what you'll find under its hood. Though a passable 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine was introduced in the base model last year, it's the 3.5-liter V6 that's the real attraction because of the nice balance it offers between zippy performance and relatively good fuel economy.

The conservatively styled Highlander also scores on the inside. There you'll find comfortable seating for up to seven passengers, though accommodations in the standard third row are on the tight side compared to other three-row crossovers. However, the unique 40/20/40-split second-row seat with a center section that can be removed to provide easy walk-through access to the third-row seats is an especially bright idea.

While the 2010 Toyota Highlander has a lot to recommend it, it faces some stiff competition. The midsize crossovers from General Motors -- including the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia -- are appealing alternatives by virtue of their cavernous interiors with seating for up to eight passengers. The capable Ford Flex, the luxurious Hyundai Veracruz and sporty Mazda CX-9 also have their own distinct advantages. That said, we still think the Highlander hits an ideal sweet spot between SUV utility and passenger car comfort.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2010 Toyota Highlander is a midsize seven-passenger crossover offered in base, Sport, SE and Limited trim levels. The entry-level Highlander comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, cloth upholstery, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack. A fold-flat third-row seat is standard on V6 models and can be deleted if desired.

Step up to the Sport model and you get 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, automatic headlights, foglights, roof rack side rails and a flip-up rear window in the liftgate. Inside upgrades include a power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and cargo area-mounted releases for folding down the second-row seats, along with a 3.5-inch screen that displays trip computer info and the image from the standard back-up camera.

The Highlander SE reverts to 17-inch wheels and the regular suspension but has a standard sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, leather seating and a power passenger seat. The cabin also gets an upgraded driver seat, a power front passenger seat, keyless ignition/entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a compass and a satellite-radio-ready audio system with a six-disc CD changer.

The Highlander's options list varies by trim level and region, but those available include a sunroof, a power liftgate, heated front seats, automatic rear climate control systems and a towing prep package. Entertainment goodies include a rear DVD entertainment system and a premium nine-speaker JBL sound system that includes Bluetooth cell phone connectivity. A navigation system is also available, but it's only offered on models equipped with the JBL audio system.

Powertrains and Performance

The Toyota Highlander is available with a choice of two engines. Base models can be had with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out a respectable 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy estimates are 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.

By far the more popular (and better) powertrain is the 3.5-liter V6 that's rated at 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is available as an option. This latter combination propelled a Highlander Limited V6 AWD we tested from zero to 60 mph in just 7.8 seconds, a result that makes it one of the quickest crossovers out there. Properly equipped, V6-powered versions can also tow up to 5,000 pounds, another healthy number for this category. With front-wheel drive, the Highlander V6 returns EPA estimates of 18 city/24 highway/20 combined; adding all-wheel drive drops those numbers by 1 mpg.


The Highlander comes with a long list of standard safety features including antilock disc brakes, stability control and hill-start assist that helps keep the vehicle from rolling backward when motoring away from a stop on an incline. All-wheel-drive models also come with Downhill Assist, which helps the driver make a slow, controlled descent on steep, slick surfaces like snow-covered driveways.

The Highlander's cabin is fitted with a total of seven airbags, including side-impact airbags for front seat passengers, side curtain airbags that cover all three rows of seats and a driver-side knee airbag. Whiplash-reducing active front head restraints are also standard.

In government crash tests, the Highlander earned five stars (the highest possible) for the driver and four stars for the front passenger in frontal impacts, and five stars for side impacts. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Highlander received "Good" ratings in both frontal-offset and side impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2010 Toyota Highlander features an attractive cabin, especially on top-of-the-line Limited models. Visibility is excellent and the straightforward layout of gauges and controls makes for refreshingly intuitive operation.

Compared to the previous generation, the 2010 Toyota Highlander's passenger compartment offers noticeably better head-, leg- and elbow room. That said, competitors like the Chevrolet Traverse and Ford Flex offer more spacious interiors that may make them a better choice for buyers with large families.

Front and second-row seats are plenty comfortable, but the third-row's lack of legroom makes it best suited to pre-teen passengers. The second-row bench slides fore and aft and reclines for greater comfort. This seat's unique 40/20/40-split design, with a removable center section that stows neatly in a special compartment beneath the center console, also makes it easy to access the way-back bench even with a pair of child car seats strapped into the second row.

When you've got cargo to haul, the Highlander offers a healthy 95.4 cubic feet of space with the second- and third-row seatbacks folded down. The fact that the third-row seat folds down as a single unit instead of being split 50/50 as in many competitive models is a disadvantage, especially when trying to schlep both passengers and cargo.

Driving Impressions

If you're used to the lumbering trucklike feel of traditional SUVs, the 2010 Toyota Highlander will feel like a pleasure to drive. The fully independent suspension delivers decent handling, at least by family-hauler standards, and the ride quality is surprisingly smooth even with the slightly firmer suspension on Sport models. The steering feels light enough for easy parking lot maneuverability while retaining enough precision to inspire confidence in everyday driving.

The 3.5-liter V6 adds to the appeal by providing strong acceleration that makes this 4,000-pound crossover seem smaller than it is. The fact that this powertrain is also among the most fuel-efficient in the category is an added bonus.

Talk About The 2010 Highlander

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs