2011 Toyota Highlander SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 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 Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Toyota Highlander

  • The 2011 Toyota Highlander's V6 engine, versatile interior and carlike maneuverability make it a good choice as a do-all family vehicle, though several competitors offer more interior space and utility.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful yet fuel-efficient V6; user-friendly cabin with innovative second-row seat design; easy to maneuver.

  • Cons

    Less overall passenger and cargo space than some competitors; carlike refinement though not SUV utility.

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011, the Toyota Highlander receives a refresh that includes restyled front and rear ends and a few more standard features. Among the latter are a 50/50-split-folding third-row seat and rear climate controls for base and SE trims. Lastly, the Sport trim level has been dropped.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (4 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Love this car!

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota Highlander SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

My 2006 Highlander is still going strong, without any problems. It's been a fun, reliable, and totally worthwhile ride. We're getting ready to retire a 1989 Corolla, and the plan is to get another Highlander.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Luv the mileage

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota Highlander SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

We are senior couple and have about 1200 miles on the highlander. We are averaging just over 24 MPG, and on our three trips of about 90 miles each we got right at 30 mpg. This was driving mostly on rural highways, with about 35 miles of interstate at about 72 to 73 MPH and about 62 MPH otherwise. The wife thinks the seats are not as soft as our '04 Grand Cherokee, and the passenger seat is manual only, but that has already turned out to be a non-issue. In addition to the very good mileage we immediately noticed how much more quite it was than the Jeep. It is close to the same size as the Jeep but can seat 7. We've had six adults in once for a short thirty minute drive and no complaints



10 of 10 people found this review helpful

Perfect!

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota Highlander SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I finally decided to give up on Honda. The road noise in my last Honda was just too pronounced! But my Highlander is one quiet ride! The V6 provides outstanding acceleration too. Though, it doesn't handle like a sports car and have great off-road manners, it does exactly what I want -- provide a stable, quiet ride. It also provides great flexibility with seating and the seats are quickly and easily folded in order to haul more cargo.



4 of 7 people found this review helpful

Trailer package

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota Highlander SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I bought my highlander with the trailer page. All the printed material clearly states the package come with a wiring harness. When I got it home I found no such harness. A check at nthe dealer confirmed there was no such harness, it must be purchased. Most of the in the service department were aware of this fact. After a discussion with the sales department, they agreed with me that the printed material from Toyota and the window sticker clearly stqated that a harness was included in the trailer package. The sales department had it installed at no charge. Cramer Toyota of Venice Florida did an excellent job of resolving my problem. but Toyota clearly has an advertising problem .



Full 2011 Toyota Highlander Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the Toyota Highlander receives a refresh that includes restyled front and rear ends and a few more standard features. Among the latter are a 50/50-split-folding third-row seat and rear climate controls for base and SE trims. Lastly, the Sport trim level has been dropped.

Introduction

When it debuted 10 years ago, the Toyota Highlander blazed the trail for midsize crossover SUVs. At the time, we wondered whether people would like this "Camry wagon" (the Highlander typically has had a lot of Camry in its DNA) or continue to stick with truck-based SUVs. Well, the last decade has pretty much proven that refined carlike crossovers have prevailed.

Thanks to a quiet, fairly roomy cabin, a V6 engine that is both smooth and comfortable and a reputation for reliability, the Highlander has remained one of the most popular midsize crossovers. A refresh for the 2011 Highlander brings updated styling and additional standard features. A new third-row seat has a 50/50-split folding design that makes it easier to configure the vehicle for passenger use or cargo hauling.

Otherwise, the 2011 Toyota Highlander stays the course. This means a smooth, quiet ride and comfortable seating for up to seven passengers (though the third row is a bit tight compared with some of the Highlander's competition). The Highlander also boasts a 40/20/40-split second-row seat with a removable center seat that allows walk-through access to the third row, not to mention the comfort of captain's chairs with fold-down armrests in the second row.

While the midsize 2011 Toyota Highlander has a lot going for it, this crossover faces some stiff competition. The larger crossovers from General Motors -- the 2011 Buick Enclave, 2011 Chevrolet Traverse and 2011 GMC Acadia -- offer more cavernous interiors with seating for up to eight passengers. The 2011 Ford Flex and 2011 Mazda CX-9 also have their own distinct advantages, as do the totally redesigned Dodge Durango and Ford Explorer. We suggest checking out these models, but in general we still believe the Highlander hits the sweet spot between passenger-car comfort and SUV-style utility.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Toyota Highlander is a midsize seven-passenger crossover offered in base, SE and Limited trim levels.

The entry-level Highlander comes equipped with 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels, rear privacy glass, cloth upholstery, a 40/20/40-split-folding second-row seat that both reclines and slides fore and aft, a 50/50-split-folding third-row seat, air-conditioning (with rear controls), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack.

Step up to the SE and you get a sunroof, power tailgate (with a separate glass hatch), roof rails, foglamps, windshield wiper de-icer, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cargo area-mounted releases for folding down the second-row seats, a back-up camera, and an upgraded audio system (optional on base) with satellite radio, a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity/streaming audio.

The Limited adds 19-inch cast-aluminum wheels, additional chrome exterior trim and power-folding/heated outside mirrors with puddle lamps. The cabin also gets upgraded leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition/entry, a 10-way power driver seat, a four-way power passenger seat and wood-grain accents.

The Highlander's options list varies by trim level and region, but those available include a towing prep package, an upgraded JBL sound system (with six-disc CD changer and subwoofer), a navigation system (includes the JBL sound system but with a four-disc CD changer) and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Toyota Highlander is available with a choice of two engines. The Base model can be had with a 2.7-liter inline-4 engine that puts out 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/25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.

Optional for the base and SE and standard for the Highlander Limited is a 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 optional. A Highlander Limited AWD tested by Edmunds sprinted from zero to 60 mph in just 7.5 seconds, performance that makes it one of the quickest crossovers on the road.

Properly equipped, a Highlander V6 can 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 these numbers to 17/22/19.

Safety

The Highlander comes with a long list of standard safety features including antilock disc brakes, stability control and hill-start assist. All-wheel-drive models also come with hill-descent control, which electronically intervenes with the antilock brakes to control speed 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 (the highest possible) in both frontal-offset and side impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2011 Toyota Highlander features an attractive cabin, especially the top-of-the-line Limited model. Visibility is excellent, while the straightforward layout of gauges and controls makes for refreshingly intuitive operation.

The front- and second-row seats are plenty comfortable, but the third-row seat's lack of legroom makes it best suited to pre-teen passengers. The Highlander's second-row bench slides fore and aft and reclines for greater comfort. This seat's unique 40/20/40-split design, which has 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.

Driving Impressions

If you're used to the lumbering trucklike feel of a traditional SUV, the 2011 Toyota Highlander will be a pleasure to drive. The fully independent suspension delivers decent handling, at least by family-hauler standards, and the ride quality is surprisingly smooth. The steering feels light enough for easy parking-lot maneuverability, though it is rather numb and uninspiring compared to its crossover rivals.

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 2011 Highlander

Read more about the 2011 Toyota Highlander

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

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