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2010 Toyota Highlander

Overview
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2010 Toyota Highlander Review

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The first Highlander arrived in 2001 as Toyota's third car-based crossover SUV, following the compact RAV4 and the mid-size luxury Lexus RX 300. As the Toyota brand's more affordable version of the RX, it, like the RX, was built on the Camry sedan platform. And like its Lexus cousin, the Highlander has been very successful. Although its styling is far from distinctive, the Highlander offers its owners multiple benefits that include excellent ratings in the areas of safety, service and reliability, not to mention resale.

You'll Like This Car If...

If a well-regarded mid-size crossover with an optional third row tops your wish list, you should take a good look at this one. It's feature-laden, neither too big nor too small and should prove reliable for many years.

You May Not Like This Car If...

For buyers with more specialized needs or wants, the Highlander's well-rounded personality might not be as appealing as the sporty character of the Mazda CX-9 or Ford Flex. Similarly, the Highlander can't match the higher towing capacity of the Ford Explorer or Nissan Pathfinder.

What's New for 2010

For 2010, Toyota adds more options to the base Highlander models. The base four-cylinder Highlander can now be equipped with a power sunroof, while the base V6 offers a rear backup camera.

Driving the Highlander

Driving Impressions We drove one of our test Highlander Limited 4x4s in intermittent rain on alternating wet and dry asphalt and found it confidence-inspiring all the while. Even if it isn't as...

fast as the V6 version of the RAV4, its little brother, the Highlander's 270-horsepower V6 is about as silky and powerful as you'll find in the category. Informal zero-to-60 miles-per-hour acceleration tests showed the Highlander to accelerate with sport sedan alacrity, while we noted fuel economy ranging between 16 and 20 miles per gallon. Except for its still difficult-to-access third row, the Highlander's seating was roomy and comfortable, and its ride, handling and braking excellent.

Center Stow Seat
This clever feature allows the second row of seats to be converted from three-across to two-across seating, opening a convenient pass-through area to access the third-row seats. The seat stows easily out of sight in the center console.

Hill-Start and Downhill Assist Control
If you live in rolling terrain, you'll appreciate these features that prevent the Highlander from rolling backward at a stop on steep up-grades and controls downhill speed (on non-hybrid four-wheel drive models) during slippery descents.

2010 Toyota Highlander Details
Interior

The new Highlander's spacious interior is at once conservative, functional and attractive. Nice touches include huge round knobs for the primary radio and climate controls – easy to find and operate even while wearing gloves – and plenty of convenient spots for things like drinks and cell phones. The steering wheel offers manual tilt and telescope adjustment and, on Limited models, easy-to-access audio and climate control buttons. The reclining second-row seats also slide 4.7 inches fore-aft and offer a lift-out middle seat cushion for pass-through into the rear row, while the bigger new third row can comfortably accommodate not only children but even limber adults, at least on shorter trips.

Exterior

Styled in California, the 2010 Highlander design intentionally moves away from traditional SUV styling. Toyota says it makes a statement of strength instead of ruggedness, intelligence over toughness. We can tell you that it is an attractive vehicle that is designed more to blend into the automotive landscape than stand out from it. While it's definitely more curvaceous than the original Highlander, it offers a traditional SUV profile but is lower and more car-like, which makes sense based on its Camry roots. It is not as distinctive as the Hyundai Veracruz or the Buick Enclave crossovers, for instance, but it is handsome. Available 19-inch wheels help balance the more substantial look.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base front-wheel-drive Highlander rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels and comes with halogen headlamps, AM/FM/CD MP3/WMA-capable six-speaker stereo, tilt/telescope steering wheel, interchangeable Center Stow seat and center console and an aerodynamic rear spoiler. The V6 trim adds a hideaway third-row seat. Standard safety features include seven airbags, stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution. The Sport trim adds 19-inch wheels/tires, a back-up camera, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a six-CD changer and a 3.5-inch multifunction display. The top-of-the line Limited coddles its owners with full leather and woodgrain trim, power front seats, dual-zone climate control and a "smart" keyless entry and ignition system.

Optional Equipment

Options available on the base V6 Highlander include a two-row seating package that eliminates the standard third-row seat, rear backup camera, manual rear heating/air conditioning for the second and third rows, a cargo-area tonneau cover and a tow-prep package. Stepping up to a Sport or Limited brings a much broader spectrum of add-ons, most notably front dual-zone automatic climate control (standard on Limited), automatic rear air conditioning, multi-stage heated leather front seats, power moonroof, rear-seat entertainment system, power liftgate and a navigation system with premium audio, voice activation and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Four-wheel drive models are available in all V6 grades.

Under the Hood

The 2010 Highlander base model is powered by a 2.7-liter four cylinder engine, while a larger V6 is optional on the base and standard on the Sport and Limited trims. The 2.7-liter is near the top of its class in the areas of fuel efficiency and power, with 187 horsepower on tap and upwards of 27 miles per gallon in highway driving. The Highlander V6 model packs a 270 horsepower 3.5-liter dual-variable-valve-timing V6 under its sculpted hood. The four-cylinder engine is mated to an all-new six-speed gearbox, while the V6 model makes due with an electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission with selectable manual shift control.

2.7-liter in-line 4
187 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
186 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27

3.5-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
248 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 (FWD); 17/23 (4WD)

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Buying this car?

2010 Toyota Highlander Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 352 Ratings for the 2008 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Great SUV!

By on Saturday, February 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,770

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great vehicle and very spunky!"

Cons: "Tire monitor mildly aggravating."

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

"I have had this vehicle 14 months now and it has been quiet a pleasure driving it. The power of the 3.5L v-6 is more than adequate and the mileage is better than advertised. I average 20-21 mixed street/highway and 24/27 on the highway if I keep my foot out of the fuel injection. (Used to be carburetor). I have the plus model which is equipped just right for me. The seat is very comfortable with good adjustments. The instrument panel has good visibility and adjustments are easy to make. Bluetooth is a very handy way to use the phone. The only irritant I have is the tire pressure monitoring system. Not terrible, just annoying. Overall, I am very pleased with this vehicle. It replaced a pick-up truck that I dearly loved but being an amputee of the left leg, getting in and out was becoming a problem. I definitely chose the correct replacement. A bit of excitement is back in my driving experience. I would get another highlander."

more than i expected

By on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

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: "toyota quality and reliability, excellent in snow"

Cons: "none"

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

"I have owned several Toyota models over the years and have never been disappointed in any way. This Highlander is no exception. The ride is smooth. The reliability is just what you'd expect from a Toyota. What really impressed me about this model was it's handling in the snow. I currently also own a Landcruiser so my expectations are quite high when it comes to bad weather driving. No, it's not on par with the Landcruiser but it does quite well for what it is. No complaints. Awesome alternative to the minivan (traded in our 99 sienna with almost 200k (trouble free) miles on it for this)."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Great vehicle

By on Thursday, January 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

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: "Quality through out"

Cons: "Trouble keeping windshield smear free."

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

"Previously drove a 4 Runner. The Highlander keeps some of the features of the 4 Runner, but adds some luxuries."

9 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Went west, drove over 6,000 miles, average 26mpg

By on Thursday, January 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

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: "It is easy to drive and very comfortable"

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

"highway. It 4 wheel drive, very comfortable, handles good on rough off road driving. Handles grades of 12% very good."

16 people out of 27 found this review helpful

Great family Vehicle (SE V6 Loaded)

By on Friday, January 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Good MPG, great family SUV, Value holds up"

Cons: "Driving dynamics, cheap interior plastics, Tires"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Great SUV so far with better MPG than expected. 19-21 in city and 23-25 MPG highway. Pretty good considering a strong V6 AWD. 3rd row seats are great for small kids. Second row seating is huge with a lot of space. Handling is only subpar and definitely not very responsive, but its not supposed to be either. Interior plastics are cheap, hard and not attractive, but everything is responsive and works well. Leather seats are a must but not comfortable or supportive on long highway trips, and we certainly take a lot of them. It is a must to get rid of Toyota's standard Toyo Tires ASAP as they wear fast and are not good in the snow. We like anything Yokohama on ours. Value holds up amazingly on these vehicles which was one of our selling points. The front grill looks great but overall body definitely needed an upgrade to its looks, which it got with the 14 model year."

9 people out of 18 found this review helpful

great SUV. I have bought new 2015 Highlander

By on Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"good, serviceable vehicle. Just near perfect for my needs Only complaint is that fenders are easily displaced with minor dings."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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