2007 Toyota Highlander Performance
This performance review was written when the 2007 Toyota Highlander was new.
The 2007 Toyota Highlander is smooth with solid handling and is a lighter-weight vehicle than most of the competing cars in its class. There are four-cylinder and V6 engine options, but reviewers generally find that most drivers will prefer the more powerful V6.
The V6 engine will offer better driving, hauling and power options. In fact, all 2008 Highlanders will have the same, standard 3.5-liter V6 engine (4-cylinder discontinued).
The Highlander is also available with four-wheel drive, which is great on hills and through snow, but is not suitable for major off-roading. As Car and Driver observes, "for those who need a real rock-and-roll off-roader, Toyota will continue the athletic 4Runner. But it's the Highlander that packs the right stuff for the suburban sport-ute crowd."
Acceleration and Power
For 2007, Toyota offers two engines for the Highlander: a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder or an optional 3.3-liter V6. Edmunds reports "Power-wise, the standard four-cylinder engine delivers tolerable acceleration for those who travel light, but most buyers will prefer the V6, which offers smooth, strong acceleration in all situations." There are two automatic transmissions attached to these engines, a four-speed for the four-cylinder and a five-speed for the V6. MSN calls the four speed "responsive" but adds "the more modern 5-speed unit is more welcome."
About.com finds the four-cylinder engine powerful enough while displaying more fuel efficiency. "The six is a smoothie but the four has plenty of power and saves on gas (our test vehicle, in spite of those mostly-low revs, sipped fuel like a thirsty hummingbird at a honeysuckle bush), while front-wheel-drive is all most people need unless they plan on vacationing in a Florida swamp." According to the EPA, fuel economy estimates for the two-wheel-drive four-cylinder are 19 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway, while the V6 engine receives 17 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway.
Buyers looking for more power who don't want the higher-priced Sport option can take the advice of Edmunds, which notes that "several of the Highlander's newer rivals are quicker still, including Toyota's own RAV4, powered by a 3.5-liter V6." It is also worth pointing out that for next year's model, the Toyota Highlander will have the RAV4's V6 3.5-liter engine.
Handling and Braking
Of the driving experience, Kelley Blue Book writes, "On the road the Highlander feels solid -- almost 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." After a test drive, Edmunds says "a fully independent suspension delivers an agreeable combination of comfort and control, though the Highlander ultimately favors ride quality over handling." The reviewer recommends the Sport model for those that prefer improved handling.
The Toyota Highlander receives generally positive reviews for its highway handling, with Cars.com noting "the Highlander is very easy to drive and has just the right steering feel and good highway balance." According to Kelley Blue Book, the most treacherous type of terrain that the Highlander can drive through is "deep snow, mud or steep slippery roads -- certainly more typical situations than actually pounding through the wilderness." The four-cylinder engine can handle this, but the V6 option makes it that much easier. New Car Test Drive says "the suspension is too soft for serious hard driving, with significant body roll. Like a lot of cushy SUVs, it wallows in corners and the body leans." While not an ideal situation for drivers roaring down mountain roads at high speeds, the suspension holds up best for the average highway driver.
The 2007 Toyota Highlander features anti-lock all-disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution and a Brake Assist feature. With high safety marks all around, this auto seems safe for any family. MSN writes, "The brake pedal is too soft, but stopping distances are short." New Car Test Drive adds, "Braking is certain and smooth. ABS helps the driver maintain steering control under hard braking."