Fair warning, this review is long, intended to provide the kind of consumer details that professional reviewers won?t notice in their few hours with a car. I generally agree with the professional reviews, and if only looking for a 30 second summary, my review is not for you. We?ve owned our 2018 Highlander Hybrid AWD Limited Platinum about a month now. Other contenders included a Lexus RXL, Audi Q7, Acura MDX and Honda Pilot. While never unimportant, price was not the top concern and we bought which one we like the best. That was the Highlander, including over the luxury brands listed. Because we were comparing to and shopping the luxury brands, we ended up at the very top trim level possible. Comments: We?ve been getting about 25 mpg. While not the EPA rating, the EPA doesn?t drive 75 mph either. For a 4500 pound vehicle with over 300 hp, I?m hugely satisfied with the mpg. While many reviews single out the infotainment center as a ?con?, it was a huge plus and primary selling point for us. I hate anything that looks like a tablet was stuck to the dash or involves a mouse, joystick, wheel or any other weird input method. The Highlander uses a touch screen, flush mounted in dash, as it should be. Regarding device connectivity, you can connect both a phone and another device for music (like another phone) at the same time if you want. Convenient to have the kids DJ from the back seat, while still keeping my phone connected. The system downloads all contacts, can directly control device music, reads your incoming texts aloud, streams Pandora or other content from a device. OK, it?s not CarPlay??but I think it?s better. Takes about a day to learn, but awesome after that. Toyota, don?t change a thing. The 5 USB power ports (2 in front, 3 in back) are a big deal and a ?must have? for our family. Not all competitors had this. The 110 AC household plug is nice too?.already used it to keep the crockpot plugged in and warm enroute a Super Bowl party. At the higher trim levels, the interior is luxury level. On par with the Lexus RX, better than the Acura MDX in our opinion. As professional reviewers have noted, the seat comfort is world-class. By far the best of any comparable vehicle we looked at. While I can?t disagree with the professional reviews that XLE is the ?value? trim level, it?s not ridiculously more to move up. Limited adds $3K, then Limited Platinum adds another $3K. For perspective, each is well less than 10% of the vehicle price, or collectively, about 15%. For that, you get the following - upgraded wheels, upgraded audio, panoramic moonroof, surround view cameras, front and rear parking sonar, 2 person memory driver?s seat, power passenger seat, LED daytime running lights, heated 2nd row seats, heated steering wheel, heated mirrors, air conditioned front seats, rain sensing wipers, cargo cover. To us, it seemed very worth it, especially if comparing to and considering luxury brands. On the luxury brands, the option packages cost more than that and often don?t even deliver nearly as much. While not ?required?, many of these options are a big deal to us and certainly worth paying for. We use them all the time. Heated second 2nd row seats?. our teenagers love ?em. Surround view cameras and parking sonar, tremendously helpful. Driver memory seats ? needed for a family vehicle where more than one person drives. Panoramic moonroof that extends all the way over the 2nd row ? kids love that too. These are great family vehicle options, which is exactly what the Highlander is. Drivewise, the ride is mini-van-esque, which is a good thing (doesn?t drive like a truck). Nothing exciting, but pretty much what you want in a family hauler. While I wouldn?t call it an everyday 3rd row, the 3rd row is very serviceable for occasional use and more than met our expectations. When folded, it also looks neat and flush. Some of the competitors didn?t. In summary, the family features are what make this car. Specifically, all the USB power ports, the panoramic moonroof, the heated seats for everybody, the adequate 3rd row, the driver memory seat, passenger power seat, the ability to connect multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously. Most vehicles just focus on the driver. The Highlander focuses on the whole family, especially at the higher trim levels, which is exactly why we bought it. A month later, we?re still loving it and are 100% convinced we bought the right vehicle.
Does everything for $10K-$15K less than MDX and Q7
written on 12-12-2017
Limited Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
I was looking at the mid-size SUVs with AWD and cargo space. The Cadillac XT5 and Q5 were just a bit too tight in back seat (2nd row) for me. I found the 3 best were Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and Toyota Highlander. After test driving, the MDX and Q7 are sportier but the Highlander did everything very well. The Q7 had buttons in unusual places (at least for me) and the MDX had push button transmission and 2 screens for changing settings that took a few touches to change heat settings. Coming from a Lexus, I knew Toyota built a great car but the front seat is very comfortable, has all the safety equipment and is very easy to see out of, I chose to save $15K and buy the Toyota. Reliability, gas economy, resale and initial cost are all better with Toyota and I'll have alot less problems down the road.
The Vehicle's good and bad are very much covered by other reviews. But...... I have 2018 highlander XLE that is less than one month. A couple of days ago, when I press key fob to lock the doors, it doesn't beep nor flash lights (Unlock is okay). I couldn't figure out what setting made that happen. At the first I thought it is just setting that I need to change, but further research revealed it is failed door actuator issue. By reading, http://www.landerfan.com/archives/door-lock-problems-toyota-highlander/ , this problem has been going on several years and still happening. I'm disappointed Toyota hasn't addressed this issue all this years. :(
1) No front end protection at all ....you must attach license plate to that hideous looking grill and 2) On the Limited, you get plastic-covered wheels (Chrometec) that easily would be damaged (ripped) if you hit a curb and will also get dull with time.....who the hell thought THIS was a good idea on the high-end Highlander?
Overall a really great vehicle, very comfortable. Interior could be a bit classier but it is still good. This is a family hauler and it does that incredibly well. This is a solid generally pleasing vehicle. I test drove countless competitors comparable models multiple times. It took me 3 months to make this decision. Overall ride quality and standard options combined with Toyota?s undeniable reputation of quality and dependability won me over. I have to admit though that every American made suv in this class was superior in comfort, quality of interior materials, ride comfort and amenities out shown every Asian vehicle we tested. However these tended to be priced higher and there is of course the questionable reliability. We tend to keep our vehicles for a decade or more so dependability was the ultimate deciding factor. There is one large problem with the Hylander, the outdated and outgunned engine infotainment system. This system is difficult to navigate and lacks basic things like smart phone mirroring. I am at a total loss on why Toyota would install such a poor system especially when just about every competitor has a much more advanced and intuitive infotainment product. I will say this though the navigation programming is excellent. It is easy to set, has nice graphics that make sense and are easily readable.