Used 2013 Toyota Highlander SUV Review & Ratings | Edmunds

Used 2013 Toyota Highlander SUV Review

2013 Toyota Highlander SUV

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Reviews from owners of the 2013 Toyota Highlander SUV

Average Consumer Rating (See all 23 reviews) Write a Review

I would never recommend highlander to anyone

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Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Wind/outside Noise .. delicate ... simply, I hate this highlander

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Just out of warranty, radio, nav unit broke - ugh

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Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV (2.7L 4cyl 6A)

2013 Highlander LTD. We are just out of warranty and the radio and Nav unit started going crazy and would operate on it's own. We brought it to the dealer to find out it's going to cost $1500- $2000 to fix. The reason I bought a Toyota is so that we would not have these issues. Anyone else have these issues?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Awesome mpg and comfortable ride, no cargo space

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Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Highlander 4dr SUV (2.7L 4cyl 6A)

We bought a 2013 Highlander Base because it is the only model with a 4cyl. It gets great MPG for a Crossover, and has surprising power for a 4cyl. The front seats and back seats are really comfortable with the exception of the middle seat in the back row. It is seriously about a foot wide, so no more than small children will be able to sit in the middle. The third row seats are not comfortable. The Highlander handles and drives great. After 6 months of owning the Highlander we are selling it to buy a Honda Pilot. The only reason is the storage space in the hatch. The Highlander appears to be designed with the idea of only using the third row on occasion. When you are using the third row we cannot even put a 24 pack of water flat in the hatch. You have to turn it sideways. We were willing to sacrifice luxury for the MPG, but when using the third row the cargo is almost completely useless.

Mold, wet carpet

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Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Highlander Plus 4dr SUV (2.7L 4cyl 6A)

After 2yrs purchased the car, I have a problem now that the water leaked inside the car. When it rains, all the carpet is wet, especially the driver seat's carpet is soaked with water. I removed all the carpet out to clean, now the car has the mold smell, every morning my 2 sons sneezed (allergy from the strong smell of the mold in the car). It happened last week when it rains, I started to pay more attention about it and double check why it leaks in the car. I can't find any solutions and it rains again in the last 3 days, my car is getting worst so I took it to the local Toyota dealer service for them to check. I found out that my car is not the first one that has a problem, and after the diagnosed they'll fixed it by replaced the whole car carpet. After a week that they fixed my car, the car is now still have that mold smell and my sons still have allergy every time they're in the car. I'll sell it as soon as I pay off the car. I suggest anyone to review it carefully, so you won't run into this problem at Toyota. I live in Hayward, California. This review on March 7, 2016.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great family vehicle!

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Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Highlander Plus 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I had been reading reviews on the highlander before purchasing the truck , I am happy to say that we picked the right vehicle. It drives very smooth, the middle seats are reclinable for extra comfort. I can perfectly fit 3 car seats. I live in Texas and weather is very hot and humid so I love that it has AC vents for everybody in the truck, plus its own rear AC. Cons: It has a small cargo space

11 of 18 people found this review helpful

Great car, not true it can tow 5,000 lbs

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Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I love this vehicle, it is beautiful, drives like a car but moves 6 people. I am writing this review to alert others of a problem about towing. Toyota says that, with a towing package, the 3.5 L V6 Highlander can tow 5,000 lbs. But the package comes with a 4-pin electrical trailer connector which has no connection for electrical brakes. In Canada, it is illegal to tow more than 3,000 lbs without trailer brakes. Toyota cannot install a 7-pin connector on the Highlander. Therefore, Toyota's claim of a 5,000 lbs towing capacity is UNTRUE. The true towing capacity is less than 3,000 lbs.

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Toyota Highlander SUV

  • The 2013 Toyota Highlander is an excellent choice for a do-all family vehicle, though several competitors offer more interior space and utility.

  • 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; negligible fuel economy improvement with four-cylinder engine.

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, the Toyota Highlander sees a shuffling of standard equipment and the debut of the new Plus trim level.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Toyota Highlander SUV

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the Toyota Highlander sees a shuffling of standard equipment and the debut of the new Plus trim level.


The successful recipe for a family-friendly crossover SUV goes something like this. To a platform with carlike handling and ride qualities add roomy passenger and cargo accommodations, bake in reliability and refinement, sprinkle liberally with convenience features and wrap in attractive though conservative styling. Follow this formula and you get the 2013 Toyota Highlander, a crossover that will satisfy the appetites of countless savvy consumers.

Once you're on the road, the not-too-big, not-too-small Highlander is easygoing, and it can even be spirited if you opt for the powerful V6. Everything you'd want in an ideal family hauler is here, notably a quiet, roomy cabin that seats up to seven passengers, plus features such as keyless ignition/entry and a back-up camera that make running all those errands easier on Mom and Dad. While the Highlander's third row is less spacious than that of some rivals, it's easy to reach thanks to a nifty 40/20/40-split second row with a removable center seat that facilitates walk-through access. This Toyota crossover also has strong fuel efficiency to its credit, with both the inline-4 and V6 delivering impressive mileage.

Still, this is a highly competitive segment, and the 2013 Toyota Highlander isn't the only well-rounded choice out there. General Motors offers a trio of larger crossovers -- the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia -- that offer roomier interiors. Other solid bets include the muscular Dodge Durango, the distinctive Ford Flex and the all-new Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Pathfinder. These rivals are certainly worthy, but for many shoppers, the Highlander's versatility and friendly disposition make it an ideal choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Toyota Highlander is a seven-passenger crossover offered in base, Plus, SE and Limited trim levels. The related Highlander Hybrid is reviewed separately.

The entry-level Highlander comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, cloth upholstery, an eight-way (manual) adjustable driver seat, a 40/20/40-split-folding second-row seat (that reclines and slides fore/aft), a 50/50-split-folding third-row seat, air-conditioning (with rear controls), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, iPod/USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

Step up to the Plus and you'll also get foglights, roof rails, a windshield wiper de-icer, a lift-up rear window, a rearview camera, driver seat power lumbar support, extendable visors with vanity mirrors, one-touch fold-flat second-row seats and a cargo area privacy cover.

The SE adds a sunroof, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Springing for the Limited adds 19-inch alloy wheels, additional chrome exterior trim, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, perforated leather upholstery, a four-way power passenger seat, tri-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker JBL sound system (with HD radio and satellite radio), a navigation system, Toyota's Entune suite of smartphone app-based services and wood-grain accents.

Given the four trim levels with their correspondingly increasing standard features, the Highlander's options list is understandably brief. Its highlights include a towing prep package; a package that bundles the JBL audio system, navigation system and Entune; and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2013 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 produces 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, Plus and SE and standard on the 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, which makes it one of the quicker crossovers on the road. 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. Properly equipped, a Highlander V6 can tow up to 5,000 pounds.


The Highlander comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, side-impact airbags for front seat passengers, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active front head restraints. Hill-start assist is also standard. All-wheel-drive models also gain hill-descent control.

In Edmunds testing, we praised a Highlander Limited AWD model's medium-firm brake pedal and fade-resistant brakes that stopped it from 60 mph in 118 feet, which is better than average for the segment.

In government crash tests, the Highlander earned an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Highlander received "Good" ratings (the highest possible) in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2013 Toyota Highlander features one of the more attractive cabins in the segment, especially in the top-of-the-line Limited model. Gauges and controls boast a familiar and straightforward layout, making them a cinch to use. The cabin also offers superb visibility from most angles.

There's no lack of space in the front- and second-row seats, but legroom is cramped in the third row, and as such, it's suitable only for younger kids. Models like the Flex fare better in this regard. On the plus side, the Highlander's second-row bench slides fore and aft to alter the ratio of legroom to cargo capacity, and the seat also 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, makes it easy to access the way-back bench even with a pair of child car seats strapped into the second row.

When you have cargo to haul, the Highlander offers 95.4 cubic feet of space with the second- and third-row seats folded down. It's a robust figure and better than many competitors, but GM's full-size crossovers offer even more.

Driving Impressions

When it comes to driving dynamics, the 2013 Toyota Highlander is one of the more well-rounded choices in its segment. You get decent handling from the fully independent suspension, and the ride quality is surprisingly smooth. Being a bit smaller than other larger crossovers, the Highlander is easier to maneuver, particularly in tight parking lots. The light-effort steering also helps here, though it is rather numb and uninspiring on the open road compared to some of its rivals.

The Highlander grows even more appealing with the 3.5-liter V6, thanks to that engine's strong acceleration. This muscular V6 moves the 4,000-pound crossover with a briskness that makes this Toyota seem smaller than it is. The fact that this powertrain is also among the most fuel-efficient in the category is an added bonus. The four-cylinder engine gets slightly better fuel economy, but we wouldn't recommend it for anybody except the most frugal-minded, given the sacrifice made in terms of performance.


Talk About The 2013 Highlander

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Toyota Highlander Suv in VA is:

$52.50 per month*

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Gas Mileage


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  • 24
  • highway
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