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2003 Toyota Highlander

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 814 Ratings for the 2001 - 2007 models.

Review this car
more rating details
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.0/10
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my wife's favorite vehicle

By on Saturday, September 15, 2007

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"this car is an excellent all around suv the styling is great handling is superb easy entry both front and rear seats plenty of leg sholder hip room for driver and pass cargo space is great tire wear was better than expected ride is excellent"

26 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Money well worth spent

By on Friday, August 31, 2007

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

"Purchased a 2004 front wheel drive V6 (3.3L) Highlander in Jan 2004. Put about 70K on it and to date I’ve had no problems whatsoever. Maintenance is reasonable. The large tires did cost around $600+ to replace. Otherwise, maintenance costs are pretty much standard. One thing to note is that if the front tires start to wear, you’ll hear a screeching sound when you corner hard, so make sure to rotate the tires regularly and keep good tread on the front tires (I noticed this same behavior on my Toyota Camry Solara). Gas mileage for my vehicle is roughly 24.8 mpg overall with about 75% highway driving. On all-highway trips I got as good as 560 miles out of a single tank (driving between 60-65mph non-stop). Despite not being an all-wheel drive model, it handled extremely well in snow and I found that it pulled itself out of high snow. It is a very quiet ride but sort of boring. It has great pick-up in acceleration but lacks real passing power once over 65mph (which is pretty much normal). I’d recommend this vehicle to any small family who would probably otherwise waste money on a larger SUV. This one is well-built, gets excellent gas mileage for its size, and fits any family-oriented individual."

23 people out of 23 found this review helpful

My second Highlander

By on Monday, August 06, 2007

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

"I bought a 2007 Highlander to replace my 2003 because this is the last year of that model and I wanted the economical 4 cylinder engine which will not be available on the 2008. The 2003 was reliable, comfortable and problem free for my four years of ownership. The 2007 Highlander is a greater value because of the additional safety features such as side curtain air bags, VSC and traction control and better designed with more storage area under the rear deck because the full sized spare tire was relocated to exterior storage under the rear deck. The suspension of the 2007 appears tighter than the 2003 resulting in an uncomfortable ride where each ripple in the road was felt because the OEM Bridgestone tires rode hard. These tires, manufactured in Japan for Toyota had a 7/32" tread depth and only a 6" tread width. The poor ride was corrected by replacing the OEM Japanese Bridgestone tires with Michelin Cross Terrains which have a tread depth of 10/32" and a 7" wide tread. The 2007 Highlander is a great mid-sized SUV that has been improved in design and safety features over the years and gives a refined, comfortable and secure ride if equipped with Yokohama or Cross Terrain tires."

18 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I have ever owned. Very minor repairs

By on Monday, September 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 399,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great value, comfortable ride"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This vehicle has required very minimal amount of repairs. I did replace timing belt and plugs at 165,000 miles and timing belt, water pump and plugs at 305,000 miles. Replaced left front wheel bearing at about 140,000 miles and right front wheel bearing at about 270,000 miles. Very solid and smooth ride even with 399,500 miles."

14 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Near Excellent Vehicle

By on Saturday, June 23, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Excellent handling, control, comfort, reliability."

Cons: "Poor interior ventilation system."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The 2006 Highlander is not quite built to the top-notch quality I have had from previous Toyotas (4 pick-ups, 1 Camry wagon; still have the Camry wagon). The 2006 Highlander is still a near excellent vehicle. This Highlander is used to deliver mail as well as being the owner's primary vehicle. Handling and control are surprisingly good. Brakes are excellent but I would prefer not to have ABS. Visibility is very good to excellent. Seating comfort is excellent. All controls are easy to read and/or easy to adjust. Engine power and performance are adequate. Shiftable automatic transmission is excellent. Interior road noise with all windows up is pleasingly quiet. Access to the interior of the vehicle from outside is excellent at all locations. Vehicle is very easy to load and unload. Interior adjustments to the seats, cargo area, etcetera are all easy to make and fairly quick. Gas mileage is accurately rated by Toyota but I consider the gas mileage to be only fair and not good. The ventilation system is lacking. Air flow through the vehicle is not adequate. Air conditioner is not cold enough in part to the poor air flow through the vehicle. Heater and defroster are not adequate. Defroster especially is deficient. In cold conditions of less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit, one must often use defrost only and not supply heat to the floor. If driving with open windows at least two windows must be open. With only one window open, air causes any or all unused seat belts to flap. This flapping results in low level thumping that is physically painful to the ears. Multiple open windows solves the problem. Later model Highlanders, in this owner's opinion, are too crowded with options and have poorer visibility. The increase in options has reduced usable interior space and the lesser visibility is due to the vehicles being lowered."

14 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Not so high on the Highlander

By on Friday, July 13, 2007

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

"I rated the vehicle very well on reliability b/c it never stranded me but I have spent too much time on issues I feel relate to quality. The third row seat belts wouldn't stay hooked in the rear panels when not in use, three trips later it's sort of resolved. I had a horrible rattle in the rear and 7 trips (to the service dept. of course) later my rear door panel was finally replaced to resolve that issue. My toneau cover wouldn't retract and that had to be replaced. My glove compartment door ratteled and that had to be replaced. Many issues that at times required separate trips for service on top of my scheduled maintenance. My biggest complaint is the humming noise that the air conditioner makes. Although the a/c works it makes a very noticeable noise and Toyota's response was that it works so they aren't going to fix it. I know that there is a fix for it b/c the Lexus RX330 has a similar issue and nobody at Toyota really listened (I provided the Service Bulletin from Lexus!!!!) until 4 trips later and the Regional Service Rep was finally called in. We also own the RX330 so when we heard the noise in the Highlander we just assumed Toyota would fix it just as they had in the Lexus. NOT SO, they admit they are aware there is an issue but they are opting not to repair it as it doesn't hurt the operation of the a/c. My biggest concern is that upon resale I will face nervous buyers that feel something is wrong with the a/c. Such a disappointing experience for a vehicle that has a great engine, nice styiing, tows nicely, but it may require lots of trips to the dealer."

13 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Good but............

By on Monday, July 30, 2007

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

"First the good........reliable, smooth and good acceleration (except: see the "but" section), gas mileage (26 mpg @ 60-65 mph w/ AC and cruise on), tight turning radius, good headroom, nimble for tight city parking which is desperately needed where I live. but now the quirks of which I have two..... One...After slowing to a near stop and then stepping on the gas the transmission becomes hesitant, inconsistent and sometimes jerks to a high speed. I have seen postings from other owners related to this tendency. and Two........The front seats are TOO SHORT. After 1.5 to 2 hours of driving the seats become very uncomfortable. There is a definite lack of thigh support which requires us to take a break every 1-2 hours. I was able to drive my previous '90 4runner and '97 Explorer for up to 4-5 hours w/o a break. Driving my wife's car proves that it is not my older age that is the factor. I have spoken to others with same complaint. Did some measuring with a tape measure which confirms my feelings. Overall a very good vehicle but the short seats puzzles me."

11 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Wonderful, Troublefree Vehicle

By on Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Size, quality, reliability, mileage, power"

Cons: "Not sexy, throttle-response with hybrid"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We have the hybrid Highlander, and in spite of its complexity it has proven to be totally reliable. We have not had a single failure with it. Overall size and interior layout is perfect for most uses. We really wouldn't want the larger, new ones. While not the toughest-looking SUV, it is a good design and built to a very high quality. We love the excellent visibility, unlike many newer vehicles. Our Hybrid gets an average of about 28mpg to top it off. It doesn't have quite the throttle response of a conventional vehicle, but that's a small price to pay for the mileage. We love it."

10 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Love it!

By on Friday, September 14, 2007

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"I have been very pleased with my 2004 2WS 6cyl Highlander. I leased it Aug 2004, currently has 30k miles. Like it so much I am going to buy it. I had nothing but trouble with Nissan and Ford before I got this SUV. I have had to do nothing to it except gas, oil change & a new set of tires (didn't rotate the originals as I should have) It's comfortable, handles well, pick-up is good & feels 'luxury' compared to my friends SUV's. It's reliable, cools off quickly and warms up nice in the winter. I couldn't be happier!!"

10 people out of 10 found this review helpful

great car, period

By on Saturday, October 13, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 136,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "reliable, great ride, nice design"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Hope it lasts forever, can't think of a better replacement. Like the size and reliability, dislike the new Highlanders design and size."

9 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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