In love with my Highlander, but a couple of things
written on 07-30-2015
I'm a car owner that keeps my cars for years so when it was time to start shopping for my next car my first consideration was a car with a reputation for longevity, ease of ownership and quality. I'd honestly never thought of Toyota because it's so soccer mom-ish but I began to love the new styling every time I saw the new body style. I had heard that buying a Toyota would keep me in the car for at least 5 years headache free. I've got almost 5000 miles on the car now and loved every minute I've spent in the car! My few less than positive comments follow: 1. The braking is almost too soft. I find myself pressing on the brake and startled when I'm coming too close to the car in front of me and then quickly pressing much harder to actually stop the car. I've done this several times now and can see it's a problem in the event I have to react to split second stopping. I feel like I need to take it to a empty parking lot and practice emergency stops so I can adjust to the really soft brake pedal. 2. I find the car has that lag when you stomp on the gas to accelerate into traffic from the on ramp. It almost feels like it LOSES energy when I step on the pedal then doesn't follow up with rapid acceleration but slogs into traffic which is frustrating. I don't know about torque and rpms and such but a V6 should have more power than this at a low speed to rapid acceleration, I thought. I live in Colorado. When driving into the mountains it has plenty of power to climb the hills and the transmission is smooth and perfectly silent. I love the ability to take it out of auto D and switch the gears to slow my descent which is a necessity here. I bought it in May so hope that this car is solid on snowy roads, that's why I went back into an SUV from a sedan. Last winter, I'd rent a AWD/4WD when driving to the mountains because I had a FWD sedan so when I needed a winter car I'd rent one. So, I compared the Nissan Pathfinder, the Buick Enclave and the Ford Explorer in true winter conditions. The Buick is a tank and grippy. I actually relaxed during a tricky winter drive in the Buick. Next in line was the Explorer which has the control to switch to "snow" and when I put that into play, it felt solid and reliable on slick, snow packed roads but still had a "tinny" feel, the opposite of a tank. The Nissan would hit a patch of snow pack and slide sideways making for a sickening experience among other really questionable build issues that convinced me this car is a non starter. Bottom line, I hope my Highlander feels solid like the Buick this winter. The Buick has a pretty interior, lots of accent lighting and finishes in the cabin to make you feel like you're in a very expensive high end vehicle. The Highlander has a utilitarian interior cabin with just a few details to make it feel more like a car than a truck but it stills looks utilitarian. The center compartment is huge and I find I access it a lot like my purse...the tray has the things I need daily, and the "bottomless" part catches all the stuff that I leave in the car so I reach deep into it and rake through stuff to find what I'm looking for. It literally can conceal a large purse or your laptop case (and probably an airline carry on!) so it's useful for concealing things left in the car. The sound system is just adequate, the range of sound is in the middle range and a narrow range at that, just adequate. The road noise is noticeable but acceptable. The doors have a hollow sound when you shut them which is surprising. The bluetooth speaker system tied to my phone is a muffled sound and coupled with road noise, it's underwhelming. I chose the Highlander over the Buick because I felt like the Highlander is going to take me much further down the road with fewer repair/maintenance headaches but it was a close call between the two. The Toyota care program tilted my decision in it's favor. I'm all for someone else taking care of and paying for the regular maintenance for the first two years. In town driving on mostly 35mph streets gets around 22; getting into stop and go drive time on interstate roads gets 24 and all out interstate driving at 75mph gets over 30. This is almost the same as my little 4cyl FWD sedan! Bottom line, I'm hoping the car doesn't disappoint in true winter driving and I'm prepared to switch to winter tires to get the performance I need but I hope I don't have to spend the money and the time to switch tires twice a year. Everything else I'm overall content with and happy with my purchase.
We too have one of the vehicles which makes an incredibly annoying intermittent buzzing sounds. The dealer has blown us off, pretending like the sound is normal, but it's totally unacceptable. Toyota customer support has been no help at all! Thanks to the Internet, we know we are not crazy or alone like Toyota wants us to think we are. I STRONGLY recommend reading these forums before buying a Highlander or Sienna: http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/333-3rd-generation-2014/1077937-weird-vibrating-buzzing-noise.html http://www.siennachat.com/forum/193-problems-maintenance-repair/228201-2015-xle-sienna-humming-buzzing-noise-dash.html http://toyotaowners.net/toyota-forum/showthread.php?t=24778 http://www.aboutautomobile.com/Complaint/2015/Toyota/Highlander/10715419 http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/333-3rd-generation-2014/1092585-new-2015-ltd-strange-sound-coming-dash-area.html
It's been 7 months and almost 8000 miles and my Highlander and I are getting along but we're not BFFs. It's comfortable but not Volvo comfortable. The Entune program is a pain. I hardly bother with it anymore but the rest of the infotainment unit works fine. Mileage for the first 5000 miles was just over 19 MPG mixed according to the computer. I reset it just before a road trip to the Grand Canyon. The round trip MPG was just over 22. Overall it was pretty comfortable for the 12 hour days on the road from CA to AZ and back. I haven't had a need to use the off road features yet. I've also had my first recall notice.
I purchased a 2015 Highlander Limited on September 30, 2015-I absolutely loved the vehicle. This vehicle was a replacement for my 2003 Highlander in which I logged over 180,000 satisfied miles. It was amazing how far this vehicle has come since then with regards to design and features. The new vehicle was extremely luxurious and had exceptional driving ability. On October 20, 2015 I was taking my three boys to soccer practice (ages 6,7 and 11) when I was hit head-on by a drunk driver in a 25 mph zone five minutes from our home. The driver of the other vehicle, who was travelling at 87 mph and managed to slow to 70 mph before striking me in the front driver side, was killed instantly. Me and my three children were able to exit the vehicle and walk away! This is true and real -world testament to the Toyota Highlander's quality and safety. The Glassboro Police Department (assigned to investigate the crash,was impressed with the construction of the vehicle and how it held up under such extreme conditions and force. It is my understanding that the Chief of Police actually wrote a letter to Toyota as a testimonial to the vehicles safety features. He actually had a small quote in one of the numerous articles attesting to how well the vehicle withstood the collision. Needless to say that as soon as I was able to, I walked into Toyota of Turnersville and purchased the exact same vehicle, only a different color-slight superstition. My children love our Highlander and refer to it as the "safe car." This car is definitely top of the line in its' segment across the board. Please keep in mind, the price is relatively high (comparable to some "luxury" SUVs) and there is comparatively less wiggle room with the price; however, you get what you pay for with this vehicle. Luxury level amenities and comfort, high level of performance and reliability and top of the line safety.
I have now owned the Highlander for 2 years.I have really settled into this vehicle. I like very much,(you know you really like a car when your not looking at other vehicles when driving).The things I like about this car are the quiet comfortable ride, very roomy interior,your not squished at all like in some cars, smooth transmission and the car has good pep when you step on the gas, no squeaks or rattles any where in car.it has a pop up rear glass hatch which I think is huge,(how else are you going to get lumber or anything long home from the store.What I have come to dislike is the jerking motion from the rear suspension when going over rode imperfections, you are constantly jerking side to side (mildly) on lousy roads only ,it does not have 4 wheel independant suspension. I suspected the problem was from the 19" tires that they put on the Limited and my suspicions were right because last winter I bought 18" rims and snow tires and the side to side mild jerking motions were gone. The 3 lower models under the limited come with 18" wheels, XLE, LE plus, LE . If you buy the Limited you might notice this or you might not. I brought the car in for service for that reason and the service adviser gave me a look like it,s me not the car, my wife doesn,t notice it but I sure do, anyways, I have come to accept it for the 8 months that the 19" wheels are on the car, in the winter the 18" snows are on and the side to side motion is gone. The JBL upgrade stereo system is acceptable but not great, God forbid that Toyota would put a Bose system in and consumers could have their cake and eat it too.I would rate this car a B+ ,if you want the best try the Audi large suv or Mercedes GL450 their only $25 to $45,000 more. Tee Heee Heeee All in all this suv is still one of the best out there, but it could use improvment