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2011 Toyota Highlander

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2011 Toyota Highlander Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

The Highlander has been a family favorite for ten years running, a reliable, comfortable and dependable way to move passengers and cargo around without breaking the bank at the dealership or the gas pump. Growing in size and opulence over the years, many Highlander owners consider their vehicles to be nearly Lexus-like inside, which is not surprising considering the Highlander shares much of its structure with the Lexus RX 350. Environmentally conscious consumers can benefit from the Highlander Hybrid, an option not offered on any of the Highlander's competitors. Although it receives a minor update this year, the Highlander's styling is nowhere as distinctive as its upscale cousin. But, 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 standard 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 Nissan Pathfinder or Chevrolet Traverse.

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the Toyota Highlander receives new front and rear fascias, hood and bumpers, plus expanded availability of the four-cylinder engine and standard three-row seating with rear climate controls. The hybrid model gains a more powerful V6 engine, while the entire line has access to more high-tech features.

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.

2011 Toyota Highlander Details
Interior

The 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 third-row seat can comfortably accommodate not only children but even limber adults, at least on shorter trips.

Exterior
2011 Toyota Highlander photo

Styled in California, the 2011 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, third-row 50/50 split-bench seat and an aerodynamic rear spoiler. 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, a USB port, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, 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 Highlander include the Tech Audio package that adds USB port, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, backup monitor with 3.5-inch multi-information display, an eight-way power driver's seat, a flip-up liftgate window, fog lamps, upgraded seat fabric and a rear cargo cover. 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, while the front drive SE can now be ordered with the four-cylinder engine.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Highlander base and front-drive SE 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 4WD 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 25 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 a 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: 20/25

3.5-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
248 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 (FWD); 17/22 (4WD)

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2011 Toyota Highlander Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 383 Ratings for the 2008 - 2013 models.

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

Great SUV!

By on Saturday, July 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

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: "confort, handeling, great in snow."

Cons: "Radio sound"

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

"i HAVE HAD THIS CAR SINCE NEW, DRIVE 400 HYWAY MILES TO WORK EACH WEEK. vERY COMFORTABLE, GETS DECENT GAS MILEAGE FOR A SUV. WITH REAR SEATS FOLDED DOWN YOU CAN CARRY A DECENT SIZE LOAD.IF I HAD TO FIND 1 THING I WISH WAS BETTER IT WOULD BE THE VOLUME OF THE RADIO. I WOULD LIKE IT TO BE LOUDER, OTHER THAN THAT THE HYLANDER IS ONE ON THE BEST VEHICLES I HAVE EVER OWNED."

Toyota doesn't stand behind their Hybrid Batteries

By on Monday, May 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,500

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "lots of room, fun to drive"

Cons: "terrible warranty, MPG is 1/2 of sticker"

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

"I traded in my 2010 Highlander for a 2008 Highlander Hybrid last May and the hybrid battery failed last week. I researched the hybrid battery before buying my vehicle and with the California provision of 150,000 miles and 10 years I thought I was making a wise purchase. I didn't find out until half a week later that the battery wasn't covered by the warranty and the cost to replace was $6200. (Also worth noting I NEVER got anywhere close to the advertised mpg so the battery was probably bad at the time of purchase. Service just told me it took "time" for the car to get used to my driving. Seriously that was a lame answer, but having never owned a hybrid vehicle I went with their information.) Barely out of warranty by time and way under in mileage and Toyota won't cover the battery. If I trade it in towards another purchase I'd get $10,000. That means my car depreciated by $10,000 in 11 months and about 10,000 miles! Not a pleasant option when this is my third Toyota and second with one with Auburn. If I decide to get another car it won't be a Toyota this next time!"

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Awesome dependability-8 years running

By on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000

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
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "VERY Cost effective in the long haul! hang on 2 it"

Cons: "manual hatch is hard for me to pull down- im short"

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

"I am very very pleased with my choice to pick the 2008 Highlander over other SUV's. I was worried due to a risk of recalls (accelerator issues, air bag issues around that year-) My pick came down to dependability and ride. I picked the worst road in my area and drove all similar SUV's--Highlander had the BEST ride for me - independent suspension I was told. The Ford escape was tempting but the ride was SOOO bumpy and stiff compared to mine! NOT comfortable at all for me - and my dad sells Ford cars but it must be comfortable, and my dad understand. Seats are much better than all I tried (- I'm overweight- short legs- and had back surgery 1992 and arthritis and I'm over 60 years old) My son thinks the brakes are "touchy" and grab too fast, I said thats GOOD! I told him learn to brake correctly :-). I keep checking the KBB, so I wont get ripped off on a claim, today's value is about $16,700 for my 50,000 low millage- city driving for average 275 on a 17 gallon tank... you do the math...car is in very good condition,paint holds up great, so figure I will drive another 8 years, then buy another! Only repairs were: battery (twice, and tires once - original tires by Toyota are the soft teaser-type to make you think the ride is softer but I replaced with good Michelin tires and they ride was just as good! Also one serpentine belt and one water pump ( but I think the auto place ripped me off because it wasn't running hot just bearing squeal and needed the belt adjusted I think but whatever, one headlight bulb! I want to keep it forever! Great to evacuate our frequent hurricanes in!!"

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great all around vehicle

By on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very reliable and great all around vehicle."

Cons: "Wish it had a little more front leg room."

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

"This is our second Highlander. These are very reliable vehicles that are a great value. Very roomy and comfortable. Plenty of room to carry a family, cargo, or whatever. I highly recommend it."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Reliable, Comfortable, Great SUV

By on Thursday, December 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,300

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
10/10

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

"Very reliable. Replaced the battery, and brakes for the first time this year, my vehicle is 5 years old with 73K miles. The leather on the drivers seat is starting to show wear, I work in an office and don't abuse the interior, so I would have expected it last a little longer. The ride is nice, it has get up and go, it is quiet inside, love my Highlander"

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Excellent vehicle!

By on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 123,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Everything"

Cons: "None"

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

"I've owned this car for 7 years and I can only recall one mayor repair other than than very reliable vehicle,I accelerates fast for an SUV and very comfortable for long trips we've done over this years...highly recommended!"

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

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