After researching and driving Kia, Hyundai, and Toyota, I decided on the 2012 Toyota Highlander.
The Kia and Hyundai models were decent vehicles and have greatly improved in recent years, but bottom line - they are NOT equal in build quality, long-term reliability and value of a Toyota!
Yes, the Highlander is more expensive (and a bit larger) than the Kia/Hyundai counterparts, but in the end its worth the extra money.
I chose the 2.7L VVT i-4 engine coupled with a 6-speed automatic tr.
It has plenty of pep and decent gas milage.
I am 6ft 4 and it is the most comfortable vehicle I have ever driven.
In the end, I am extremely happy with my decision.
Toyota is the best value, hands down
Vehicle size and engine; fuel economy; ride; integrated navigation/bluetooth,stereo system; 17in alloy wheels; 6-speed automatic transmission; standard 3rd row seats.
This vehicle should come standard with a spare tire!
I bought new Highlander I4 for more than a week.
Drive is smooth and quiet. I think it has enough power from start and good gas mileage. First trip average is 27.7mpg/gal
highway. If you drive both I4 and V6, you can see the different in acceleration, but if you not plan to race, you will be fine.
Overall I am happy with it.
Ok over all
Less horse power
compare to other manufacture in term of engine size. Need more power.
We just bought a 2012 Highlander with the 4cyl engine. We chose the Tech Package and then had the dealer add leather interior.
Our priorities on this purchase were
2. Fuel Efficiency
3. 3rd Row
We cross shopped with Ford Edge, Explorer, Pilot, Venza, Crosstour, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, CX-9, CPO RX-350, and 4Runner.
We really liked the Buick Enclave but it was expensive and real world gas mileage was under 20 avg. The Pilot EX-L was cheaper, had more features but was noisy and rode rough.
The Venza, Crosstour, and Edge were too small. 4Runner was awesome just not good enough gas mileage.
In the end it was between the RX-350 and Highlander.
Gas Mileage: Only 250 miles on the car but 100% suburban dallas driving and we are getting 25mpg. When it breaks in the mileage should get even better.
Comfort: Very quiet vehicle. Don't underestimate how a quiet vehicle feels like a quality vehicle. We probably would have gotten the Pilot if it were quieter.
Power: This IS NOT a speed demon but power is very adequate for suburban driving. We can cruise at 72mph turning 2100 rpm and getting 26.5 mpg.
Controls: The layout is very user friendly. Round knobs are truly the best system for HVAC and Radio functions.
3rd Row: It's there when we need it and disappears flat when we don't
Better Standard Stereo: Weak system by 2011 standards. The head unit looks good but the power is low.
Bigger Backup Camera or Rear View Mirror Mounted: I find that it is distracting to look at the center of the dash when reversing.
Sliding Rear Window: The sliding window of the 4Runner is better than the lift up glass of the highlander
Deeper Center Console: This car does not have a lot of storage cubbies like the Pilot
Deeper bottom seat cushion for front seats: I like having my whole thigh supported and the Highlander doesn't quite reach that far.
Ability to Recline 3rd Row
Purchased this vehicle in October 2011.
Now have 27,500 miles on it and still love it as much as the day I first purchased it.
Gas milage averages 23/24 around town and 26/27 on the highway.
NO other SUV in this size and class gets that kind of milage.
I don't need all the fancy upgrades such as leather and power seats.
All I wanted was the integrated Nav systems which does a good job for the most part.
It has all the power/pep I need for living in big flat Florida!
I highly recommend this vehicle.
Style, reliability, value, dependability, gas milage, comfort, roominess, and warranty.
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