My 2004 Highlander has 170,000 miles on it, is running strong, and not one problem This vehicle has served me well. Only general maintenance like fluid flushes, filter replacements and tire replacements.
We bought out Highlander new in 2004 and now more than 120,000 miles later its still running great. I don't really think jinx's exist but I hope there isn't one coming after writing this! Tires are a bit of an issue the OE's were junk. But after having two sets of Michellin's on them you get what you pay for and a good set of SUV rubber will make the Highlander a much better vehicle to drive around. Since having the car we have replaced the brakes only once an axle. The front OE lasted until 115K miles. We did have a sized caliper but otherwise just pads and rotors all around. I've changed one O2 sensor and oil changes. I waited till 120k miles to change the timing belt, cam seals and water pump, but all was well in the run up to replacing it. Its over the normal replacement schedule but I pushed it a little with no trouble on my end. I have had the very common A/C Heater problem. I fixed it myself and saved about $700 - $900 dollars. The others are right, look it up on internet and try to fix it yourself. Other than those issues its been a trouble free ride. I think its a fairly comfy ride for a mid-2000s SUV. Better tires make it quieter on the road. After very good record keeping we average about 18-19 mpg. Its 16-17 in the city and about 19 on the highway. I have no idea how one person here can say they were getting 26+ mpg on the highway. I simply don't trust that number. I tried my best to hypermile it one time on a 200 mile road trip and couldn't break 24. Its a good safe car. New SUVs will have some more refinements but its great for around the town driving and some highway miles and it should be on the reliable side of things. If you get one enjoy it.
I enjoy driving the Highlander but I have found it very expensive to maintain. I have had to replace 7 wheel bearings and the drive shaft to the rear wheels because of the bearings. It has 93,000 miles on it now. Brakes have also been expensive as it seems the ABS sensor are quite sensitive to failure and have had to replace some with the brakes which makes it very costly. I bought the Toyota as it was rated as a reliable car. It has turned out to be very expensive!
My Highlander is the 3rd Toyota I have owned in twenty years. I love Toyota's reliablity. I very much like driving this car, the only disappointing thing is that I cannot ride with the window down because the car has a warble type hum that bothers my ears.