Toyota Highlander Review
The 2013 Toyota Highlander ranks 2 out of 21 Affordable Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of 69 published reviews and test drives of the Toyota Highlander, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
The 2013 Toyota Highlander is ranked:
The 2013 Highlander doesn’t offer the most cargo or interior space, but test drivers say it is easy to drive and is a worthy candidate for shoppers looking for a three-row crossover.
The Toyota Highlander’s primary duty is to haul people and their cargo comfortably, and test drivers generally agree that it's up to the task. They say that its base four-cylinder engine doesn’t offer a lot of punch, but should be sufficient for most drivers. This engine also nets the Highlander its best fuel economy, at 20/25 mpg city/highway. A V6 is available for those not satisfied with the base engine, and is also standard on all-wheel drive models. Test drivers complain that the Highlander’s steering provides little feedback and is slow to respond. However, some counter that the light steering makes the Highlander comparatively easy to maneuver in parking lots. The Highlander also receives an above-average reliability score for the class.
Inside, the Highlander draws high marks for its well-made interior that is straightforward and has high-quality materials. Reviewers say all of the controls are easy to see and use. The Highlander can seat up to seven. Critics find the front seats comfortable, have little to say about the middle row and say the third row is a little cramped, which is a common gripe. Cargo space is on par for the class, but trails some rivals. Standard equipment includes a six-speaker stereo with a USB port and Bluetooth, while the Highlander can be equipped with options like a JBL stereo and Toyota’s Entune infotainment system.
- "Highlander is a competent, refined, and family-focused SUV." -- Consumer Guide
- "When you combine the 2013 Toyota Highlander's wide model range, exceptional resale value and strong owner-satisfaction figures, it may look hard to justify buying anything else." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The successful recipe for a family-friendly crossover SUV goes something like this. To a platform with carlike handling and ride qualities add roomy passenger and cargo accommodations, bake in reliability and refinement, sprinkle liberally with convenience features and wrap in attractive though conservative styling. Follow this formula and you get the 2013 Toyota Highlander, a crossover that will satisfy the appetites of countless savvy consumers." -- Edmunds
Other SUVs to Consider
If you’re looking for a spacious crossover, the Chevrolet Traverse is a good choice. It offers more cargo space than the Highlander, and reviewers say its seats, especially those in the rear, are fairly comfortable and spacious for the class. It comes standard with a V6 engine, and its fuel economy is close to that of the Highlander.
If you want something a bit sportier, the Mazda CX-9 may be worth a look. Reviewers say it is one of the most engaging models in the class to drive. Like the Traverse, the CX-9 comes standard with a V6, and its fuel economy lags behind the Highlander’s slightly.
Details: 2013 Toyota Highlander
The 2013 Highlander comes in base, Plus, SE and Limited trims. A four-cylinder engine is standard on the base and Plus trim, while SE and Limited trims and all-wheel drive models come standard with a V6. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is reviewed separately. The Highlander was thoroughly refreshed for the 2011 model year, and since it doesn’t see any major changes for 2013 besides the addition of the Plus trim, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 to 2013 model years.
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