By KBB.com Editors
The Highlander is one of the most popular crossover SUVs on the market. Built on the Toyota Camry platform, the Highlander embodies the handling and safety attributes of a car while providing the interior room and versatility of a big SUV. Although the newest version offers seating for seven, the Highlander's modest size precludes its third-row seat from prolonged adult use. We think the best iteration is the five-passenger model, which offers a good balance between people and cargo space. Although pricey, consumers will find its excellent long-term service history and high resale value make this SUV a worthy investment.You'll Like This Car If...
The Highlander is perfect for buyers who usually find themselves in a station wagon, but would prefer the ride height and all-wheel-drive traction of an SUV. With the Highlander, you can have the best of both vehicles.You May Not Like This Car If...
The Highlander does not look like a rugged SUV, which may pose a problem for the image-conscious. V6 models can be pricey, especially when you start adding options.What's Significant About This Car?
For 2007, front side-impact airbags and front and second-row side-curtain airbags are standard equipment. A new Sport trim joins the line and features an upgraded exterior, 17-inch wheels and a V6 engine, while four-wheel-drive models receive a sport-tuned suspension.Driving It Driving Impressions
Though the four-cylinder engine is certainly capable, the V6 can better deal with the added weight and power requirements of an all-wheel-drive system. The Highlander's full-time four-wheel drive is not designed for rugged off-road use, but it does work extremely well when encountering deep snow, mud or steep slippery roadscertainly more typical situations than actually pounding through the wilderness.
On the road the Highlander feels solidalmost tank-like. Wind and road noise are practically nonexistent and the engine emits a sweet, smooth melody as if it were almost delighted to be at your service. The only time you may experience a break in the Highlander's interior lull is if you lower only one of the rear windows. This action seems to cause a greater-than-usual amount of wind buffeting, which can be neutralized by either opening another window or venting the sunroof.
Optional Rear-Seat DVD Player
The optional rear-seat DVD player should keep the little ones happy on long road trips.
New Navigation System
A new navigation system is now optional on the Limited model.
The Highlander's supportive front bucket seats have wide bottoms and a good amount of lower lumbar support. Rear-seat passengers are treated to a standard folding center armrest and large cup holders built into the rear doors. The Highlander's rear seats can be folded down to form a perfectly flat floor, a useful feature when loading long or heavy objects. When equipped with the optional third-row seat, the second-row seat includes a slide-forward feature to allow easy entry and exit. A standard center console fills the void between the front seats. The console has two large adjustable cup holders, a deep center storage area and a floor-level storage tray.Exterior
The base Highlander's boxy, upright stature and absence of chrome on the grille and sides give it the appearance of a tall station wagon rather than a rough-and-tumble SUV. The Sport model adds a few more highlights, such as color-keyed grille and mudguards, chrome door handle inserts and chrome exhaust tips, giving it a racier appearance. The low step-in height allows for easy entry and exit, as well as permits easy access to the roof rack. The Highlander's long rear doors also make it easy to enter and exit the available third-row seat.Notable Standard Equipment
The Highlander features a 2.4-liter engine, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), four-speed automatic transmission, traction control, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), front side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, air conditioning, rear defroster, illuminated entry, auto-off headlamps, dual power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD and cassette, tilt wheel, cruise control, remote keyless entry, tire pressure monitor, power windows, styled steel wheels and a rear wiper/washer. Limited models have a V6 engine, automatic air-conditioning, a five-speed automatic transmission, tonneau cover, fog lights, garage door opener, rear privacy glass, heated mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, JBL audio, eight-way power driver's and four-way power passenger's seat, alloy wheels, wood trim and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch controls.Notable Optional Equipment
Options include four-wheel drive, a third-row split bench seat, leather seats, power driver's and passenger's seats, power glass moonroof, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, fog lights, JBL audio and DVD navigation (Limited model only).Under the Hood
The Highlander's 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is fairly perky for its size and certainly delivers impressive fuel economy. We recommend this engine to those who need to keep the price as low as possible. For those who needor wantthe added passing and merging power, the 3.3-liter V6 is the best choice. Its smooth operation and excellent low-end torque are exactly the attributes we've come to expect of Toyota engines, and it is also relatively easy on gas.
2.4-liter in-line 4
155 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 (2WD), 20/25 (4WD)
215 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
222 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 (2WD), 18/24 (4WD)
The base front-wheel-drive Highlander has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $25,525, while the same trim in four-wheel-drive is $26,925. The V6 powered Sport starts at $28,760, while a fully loaded four-wheel-drive Limited tops out around $39,000. To make your best deal on the Highlander, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price, which shows the typical transaction price paid in your area. When it comes to high residual and resale values, Kelley Blue Book expects the Highlander to be the segment leader, bettering such models as the Hyundai Santa Fe, Mitsubishi Outlander, Hummer H3, Jeep Compass and Ford Escape. The Honda CR-V holds higher values, but the little Honda doesn't offer a third-row seat.