Cons: "Spare hard to reach (but it's a real tire)!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned this car for 3 years, having owned a Honda for the family (Odyssey)and Bimmers (5 series--530i, 528e) for my ego. The 2006 Highlander green is, hands down, and head and tails over what I'd espected. It's both practical and stylish (for an SUV), comfortable, and is mechanically super competent. As far as practicality is concerned, it serves well as a vacation car in that it is roomy enough to carry 5 passengers in relative comfort on day trips while carrying a load of "stuff"--suit cases, beach gear, beach house grub, etc., and do double duty as a rather svelt get around car, ferring grandpa, grandma and a 5 grandkids to lunch, the beach, and the Flying Horses! And it does all of this whilst zipping from 0 - 60 in less than 8 seconds! Great pickup, great passing; I love surprising pickups, Cherokees, even the occassional 'sporty' import off the line, so to speak. And I average 24 mpg; better if I drive anywhere close to the speed limits. It actually does better in town than on the highway, which makes sense considering the hybrid attitude.
All around, a great ride. Not sure how the newer models fare, but the 2006 is a genuine conversation piece well worth the price."
Cons: "No front cup holders, sways on winding roads"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had this car since new - 2006, the Hybrid model, and have had very low cost maintenance thus far. The recalled inverter problem never surfaced, but was replaced by dealership at no charge but took most of the day until late afternoon to replace (I always drop car by 9am or so). It got great gas mileage when we lived in flat area of SF bay area, but now we live in hills so think that the hybrid feature is now not so effective, and our gas mileage has plummeted. I wore out the brakes at 100K as going down steep hills a lot, and B drive doesn't work to well on really steep declines.
Got this car in silver, hardly never need to clean it...the silver keeps in looking clean. Cloth interior (gray) is comfortable, and I avoided leather since prefer cloth much more (less sticky, etc). The light gray carpet has stained though, and not sure from what since I don't allow food in car, only water bottles. I would never have a dark interior though as hate to have a roasting car in summer, and dark colors absorb heat.
This SUV has great pick-up and power, and I can navigate the freeways with confidence. The seats are super comfortable with great lumbar support, etc. I got the AWD.
So what have I not liked?
1) Dash - doesn't include any of the current technology for music (we don't use the radio or CD, only iPod or iPhone), so I have a triple outlet for usb to mp3 connections in the cigarette lighters. I had to get 6 foot adapters from the front to the back for kids iPods. I have my GPS on a bean bag on dash which I really like a lot. I'm grateful that I got the premium sound package, as the speakers are better than factory.
2) HVAC - no heat or air to the back seats so my kids are always complaining too hot, too cold. All the vents are in the front, so I have to take the blast for hot & cold first.
3) Storage - seriously lacking in back if all 7 seats are in use. No real cup holders in front for driver and passenger, but kids in back each get 3 cup holders on each side? This really really bugs me.
4) Handling - weebles, wobbles, but doesn't fall down (anyone remember that commercial?). Driving down hills at fast speeds is fun for me, but this SUV has a serious sway to it, and BMW sedans speed on by me in frustration to get around. I can't go any faster due to the height of the vehicle without enough width for handling. Think the new Highlander added a few inches in width to help with this challenge.
5) 3rd Row - no split to the 3rd row seat which would help a lot, and very cramped, but small kids love it, not needing their car seats in 3rd row - can't fit a booster back there anyway.
Really can't think of anything else. Great car overall, and has needed very little maintenance. Take in every 5,000 miles and invoice usually just over $100. However, I did just this last week have the auto lock for driver's side stop working (must use key manually now until next service). That is why I came on this sight to see what else may start to go wrong. I am at about 110K miles.
Cars I have owned in past: Ford Escort Wagon '89 (totaled by husband, no one hurt), VW bus '72 (carburetor problems), Acura Legend '96 (CV axel joints wore out - too heavy a car for axels), Volvo Diesel '79 (black smoker - terrifying entering freeway), Volvo gas engine, '83 (very boxy).
Advice if purchase: Go to Costco for Michelin tires instead of the cheap Goodyear tires that Toyota service puts on. I kid you not - they last THREE times longer!"
"As the title states I'd like to give my Highlander high marks. First the bad: Toyota had to replace two engines (due to gelling) for this vehicle. This vehicle was well maintained and oil changes were regular. At 80k the transmission was checked, which checked out fine and then I switched to synthetic oil on the recommendation of my mechanic. Toyota made good on the engine changes but still I can't help but feel that this particular Highlander should have considered a lemon. The good: Kept me and my family safe through two (NOT major but definitely not minor either) car collisions. Very reasonable gas milage for it's size, I hovered around 19.7 MPG on average for city and highway combined. Had an impressive interior and I other then the engine failures I enjoyed this car very much."