2008 Toyota Highlander Review
The Highlander's high ranking is based on its family-friendly, practical functionality. Though it places in the top third of affordable crossovers, it's outranked by competitors with more personality.
This year marks the Toyota Highlander's first complete redesign since its launch in 2001. Riding on a new platform shared with the Toyota Camry and Avalon, the second-generation Highlander boasts a restyled exterior and larger dimensions than its predecessor. Automobile Magazine predicts that this new Highlander "should be brilliant doing the things it was designed to do: hum along the expressway on family vacations, and zip to and fro around town every day of the week." The Highlander is a "Recommended" pick and "Best Family Vehicle" for 2008. Though many reviewers have good things to say, the changes aren't all for the better. The Highlander may be larger, but many still complain about the lack of interior and cargo room. And despite the previous two engines being dropped in favor of a standard V6, it continues to be outclassed by competitors that offer sportier driving.
The Highlander comes in three trims -- base, Sport and Limited -- in either front- or all-wheel drive. This review focuses on the gasoline-powered Highlander, but a hybrid version is also available.
- "Aside from some questionable cabin materials, the Highlander is a worthy contender in a competitive segment." -- CNET
- "The all-new 2008 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid raise the bar once again in the mid-size SUV segment with a complete redesign that is improved, refined and expanded in nearly every metric of comparison." -- Truck Trend
- "All new for 2008, the crossover sport utility vehicle is moving upscale, closer to its cousin at Lexus, the RX." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- "With its new style and increased interior space, power, and capability, the second-generation Toyota Highlander will force its competitors to play catch-up again." -- The Auto Channel
- "Minor gripes aside, the 2008 Toyota Highlander is radiant. Stylish? Yes. Functional? Yes. Family-friendly? Yes. Sassy? Yes. Van-like comfort? Yes, and without ever having to drive a van." -- Mother Proof
- "Many on staff said they take vehicles like the Mazda CX-9 and GM's new line of utes over the Highlander, but as a trucky alternative to a minivan, the Highlander will definitely appeal to a lot of folks." -- AutoWeek