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2003 Toyota Highlander

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 849 Ratings for the 2001 - 2007 models.

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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 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."

23 people out of 23 found this review helpful

excellent investment

By on Friday, June 28, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 302,000

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: "great investment"

Cons: "better gas efficiency would be awesome"

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

"best car I have ever owned. if taken well care of, with proper maintenance, continues to run like near brand new off the dealers lot. body and interior has held up so well too. always reliable, only one "surprise" which was the "idle air adjustment valve" went at approx 280k miles. my mechanic believes I will easily get up to 400k on this car then we plan to put in a factory rebuilt engine when the day comes this one has had enough......this car is a great investment"

12 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Very reliable, comfortable SUV.

By on Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 145,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great reliability, drives like a car not a SUV."

Cons: "No front cupholders."

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

"At 145,000 miles nothing has failed on this SUV. Regular maintenance has been done and it has never let me down. At 90,000 miles the struts were replaced and the cooling system renewed with Toyota long-life coolant, along with new radiator hoses."

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

Best Vehicle Ever Owned

By on Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 185,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Reliability, versatility."

Cons: "With the actual price of gas, I wish I could get more than 23 MPG"

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

"My 4wd Limited Highlander is just incredible. 9 years/185000 miles and never, ever anything to complain about. Been towing boats, hunting, beaching, you name it. This is the best vehicle by far I've ever owned."

9 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Over all very happy

By on Monday, May 21, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very comfortable, lots of head room and power."

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

"One of the first things I look for is head room. I'm over 6 foot tall and like to wear baseball caps and if I can't do that in an auto I go to the next one. The Highlander gave me more head room than most others of its type. I have the 4-WD Highlander and have used it both in snow and sand. The only thing I had problems with is in deep sand I had to lower the air pressure in the tires a little to help with traction, other wise it preformed great. At first look, I thought the Highlander looked a little small for me but inside there is more room than it looks like and the back seat passangers have said they had good leg room. I have not used the third row seat. I have the V-6 3.0 L and have lots of passing power. I have the tow package but have not pulled anything yet. Overall I am very happy with the Toyota Highlander."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Love This SUV

By on Wednesday, October 08, 2008

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
10/10

"My 2006 Highlander V6 is everything I could want with few drawbacks. It has the ride of my previous Camry's as well as the handling of them. Nothing rough, bumpy, stiff about the way it handles at all. Driving and handling as well as the cabin are all super smooth and enjoyable. However, it is not a speed demon. With the 6 cyl. in it it does tend to be margianally sluggish, so don't expect to stomp on the gas and have the highlander tear away from a dead stop, it just won't. But it is a SUV not a sports car. The highlander is not so tall that I can not get in or out of it in a dress. For a woman who is 5'4 that is saying something. This vehicle feels solid and within my control at all times even in super windy Kansas and snowy Wisconsin there isn't a lot of body lean and it feels like it sticks to the road well in deep snow. On the con's side, the cabin is rather blah without some of the creature comforts other SUV's had in 2006. For instance mine does not have steering wheel mounted stereo controls, no rear air and for me I would have liked to have had lumbar support standard. Additionally for me this vehicle gets around 20 mpg no matter what I do. Which is great news when I am towing a camper but not so great when I am driving down the highway at 65 with the cruise on. However, all in all this is a roomy SUV, that for the most part is well appointed, well mannered and reliable with strong resale value and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an SUV. I have had zero problems with my Highlander. And for those interested, mine came with a towing kit, and the trailer hitch for it can be found for 115.00 on ebay and is a self install item that requires you bolt on 4 bolts. The trailer lighting kit is 36.00 again on ebay and takes less than 10 minutes to install. Just an FYI for anyone wanting to tow anything with it. It's max towing capacity is 3500 pounds so easily tows our 22 foot camper."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle I've ever owned

By on Thursday, June 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 328,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "So dependable."

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

"This has been such a great vehicle for me. I run synthetic oil in my vehicles and put a lot of miles on them. I have rarely had to have mechanical repairs done with this vehicle. The A/C still blows cold. It will be hard for me to buy something other that a Toyota."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

great vehicle

By on Thursday, December 20, 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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"We bought our Highlander in 2002. Nearly 6 years later we have yet to have any mechanical problem. Oil changes and gas - that's it. And as a tall person (6'-5"), I find the vehicle very comfortable and easy to drive and maneuver. I would buy another."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Safest Car Ever

By on Tuesday, September 11, 2007

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"We were in a car accident with our Toyota Highlander and we believe it saved our lives. We would recommend everyone to get one of these cars. We are going to buy the exact same kind of car."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle I Have Owned

By on Wednesday, September 05, 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

"Without a doubt this is the best and most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. It has everything I have ever wanted in a car and the reliability is excellent. I used to look under the hood every week on other cars, but I seldom do anymore because of the trust I have for this car. A person just cannot go wrong with this car and I will be trading in my 2003 for a 2008 Highlander."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle I Ever Owned

By on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,500

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: "Excellent for Family and Long Trips!"

Cons: "For a 2003 I wish it got better GAS MILEAGE!!!"

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

"Never gave me an once of trouble! In 12 years, replaced 2 Battery's. Drives and handles like a dream. You take care of it and it takes care of you. Maintenance only!!"

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

incredible SUV to own

By on Friday, October 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 164,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "VERY reliable!"

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

"Bought new. Has never broken down in all these years, and as a mother of 3 children, can't say enough how much that means to me! The only issue I have had is with the air conditioner, but was not an emergency to fix so I am still thrilled. Get 18.8 mpg city, but I wonder if stupid ethanol in gas contributed to this, as I was getting more until they started adding it to all gas."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Absolutely tops among mid-size SUV hybrids!

By on Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 119,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, quick, uber-practical!"

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."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Never regretted buying this car

By on Sunday, December 01, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 205,000

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
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Great car, nice ride, roomy and versatile"

Cons: "Could use separate a/c vent for back seats"

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

"Nothing fancy, but has always had a nice ride, extremely reliable, and feels like it easily has another 200,000 miles in it. Have had this car for 12 years because I never had an excuse to sell it."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Solid 9 out of 10 car but keep wishing for a 10

By on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Stylish, dependable, power, seats"

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!"

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Best car I have owned.

By on Tuesday, April 03, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 138,000

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: "great car as most toyotas"

Cons: "engine warning light."

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

"Only to shop for changing timing belt at 90,000 miles. The only issue is the check engine light which relates to the environmental control systems."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Would like to give high remarks but...

By on Monday, May 26, 2008

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"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."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Be careful

By on Thursday, August 23, 2007

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

"I bought this car less than a year ago and now the rear differential is gone...it is under warranty but a sign of things to come...at the dealer we asked if it is safe to drive the car and we recieved an "i dont know" All i can do is wait and see..."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great vehicle

By on Wednesday, July 25, 2007

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"The most reliable we have owned. Minimal repairs and service. This was involved in auto accident and because of the safety and construction I am here to tell everyone how great and safe this auto is. Great in snow, ice packed roads, and on the highway. Roomy to travel with two Old English Sheepdogs. Good ride for an SUV, rides and handles much like a car. Overall great and would purchase another one when ready to buy a new car."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle I've had so far

By on Thursday, May 03, 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 love my highlander. I bought it new at the end of 2004. It handles great, rides smooth. I love how it sits up high. The gas mileage is average for an SUV. I haven't had any problems out of it. I have just been changing the oil regularly and balancing and rotating the tires. I love how the light comes on to remind me it's time to change the oil. A light also comes on when any of my tires are low on air. I also love that I only have to change the oil every 5000 miles. I love the Toyota brands. We have 3 toyotas in the family."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Best vehicle ever

By on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

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: "Maintenance free"

Cons: "None"

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

"I purchased this SUV new. In the 10 years I have owned it, other than routine maintenence and tires, it has never ever had anything go wrong with it. I have never owned a vehicle as reliable and trouble free as this Toyota."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Outstanding Vehicle

By on Saturday, August 17, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

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: "Reliability, paint, solid tight feel still (100k)"

Cons: "Steel wheels"

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

"I just 100,000 miles on this vehicle. I've done gas and oil and Toyota maintenance at 50,000 miles. I had to have rear brake work twice. Otherwise - no issue. I love this car. Whether hauling tools and supplies, or my kayak on the roof rack or dressing up for a wedding - this vehicle is excellent. What's really amazing is the silver paint. I didn't have a garage for the first 6 years. It sat out all year long - Wisconsin winters. Never had an issue starting. I have the 4cylinder, 2WD model."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great SUV

By on Sunday, January 06, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "very reliable, safe, rides well"

Cons: "none"

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

"I have owned this vehicle since 2008 and bought it with 40K miles on it. I have not had one unexpected repair - just routine upkeep required. I have the 4WD model which is very secure in bad weather with all weather tires. It rides very nicely and still feels almost like new."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Average quality vehicle

By on Tuesday, January 01, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "good driv., good design, saves gas"

Cons: "rigid drv seat, under avr. quality"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I bought my Highlander (V6) on 2005. It has 80000 miles so far and looks in good shape. The driving has been good and smooth for 2 first years but I can hear a lot of noise on the freeway during the last years. I like its design and the inside features (leather) but the driver seat is a little rigid and narrow. I have been disappointed from the quality of the car compared with the price I paid to buy this car. The first 6 months the plastic insulation of the passenger door had a problem and the Toyota dealer fixed it. Although I have paid for the regular service (every 5000 miles) at my local dealers at 75000 miles the AC was out of service and the Toyota dealers asked for 1150$ to repair it (I repaired it for 700$ at Firestone. Additionally at the same mileage it has some problems with right rear strut, dealer asked 1360$ to replace both the right and the left strut. I repaired them again at a Firestone shop for 792$. Also the exterior paint looks no so resistant compared with this of the Chevy Malibu I have had before the highlander. I would say it is an average SUV and good for everyday driving but overpriced by the dealer."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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