The Toyota Highlander entered production in 2000 and, in 2007, Toyota was already offering the second generation of the SUV. Being the first car-based midsize SUV or midsize crossover offered in North America, the Highlander soon became one of the most successful models on the market, setting the industry standard for car-based SUVs in innovation, comfort, and sales.
The second generation revealed in 2007 was significantly larger, roomier, and more powerful than the previous Toyota Highlander. It is noticeably quieter, smarter, and more spacious with improved unprecedented versatility and ride comfort. It is powered by a new 3.5-liter V6 with dual independent variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) that delivers a total of 270 HP - a 55 HP increase over the previous generation. This engine delivers an impressive fuel economy of 31 city and 27 highway, making the Highlander the most-fuel efficient mid-size SUV.
Hit the jump to read more about the second generation Toyota Highlander.
Exterior and Interior
The second generation Highlander is built on an all-new chassis derived from the current Camry and Avalon that makes it four inches longer and three inches wider. For the new generation, it has received new sculpted clean, crisp lines, a wide, stable stance, and muscular contours.
The exterior design features 19" five-spoke machined alloy wheels with a dark silver-painted insert finish, dark-silver painted roof rails, a newly styled smoked chrome front grille surround and inserts, and dark silver-painted rear license plate garnish. Other features include a sport-tuned suspension, a chrome exhaust tip, a sport-styled rear spoiler, fog lamps, smoked head lamp and tail lamp lenses, color-keyed rear lower bumper cover, and unique sport badging. Limited edition models get dressed up a bit more with chrome grille and inserts, chrome door handles, puddle lamps, fog lamps, light silver-painted roof rails, chrome surround, and light silver-painted rear license plate garnish. There is also a rear glass hatch, heated outside mirrors, and a rear spoiler.
For the interior, the model offers eight-way adjustable front seats with a new Center Stow seat for the second row. Jump all the way to the back and you’ll see a third-row fold-in-the-floor bench seat (optional on Hybrid Base grade) with foldable headrests for a flat rear cargo area. The rear door offers a power operation as an option, for quick access to the back (standard on Highlander Hybrid Limited and not available on gas Base grades). Smart Start and Entry is standard on the Highlander Limited and all hybrid models.
In response to market requests, the Highlander received significant improvements in 2010 for the 2011 model year. It received a new front fascia, hood, and fenders, while the profile was freshened up with black rockers with chrome accents used for the door handles and roof rails, puddle lamps, and a new rear spoiler. There is also a new set of 17" machined alloy wheels.
The interior was improved by getting a slew of Toyota’s recent technologies, including a USB port, integrated XM Satellite Radio and Bluetooth, a backup monitor with 3.5-inch multi-information display, an eight-way power drivers seat, tonneau cover, engine immobilizer, easy-clean fabric interior, flip-up liftgate window, fog lamps, and black roof rails.
The Highlander is offered in three trim levels - Base, SE, and Limited - and two engine configurations - a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine. The 2.7-liter engine produces a total of 187 HP and 186 lb.-ft. of peak torque and delivers a fuel economy of 25 MPG rating in highway driving. This engine is mated to a standard six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.
The 3.5-liter V6 (standard on Limited model) delivers a total of 270 HP at 6,200 RPM and 248 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 RPM. This engine is combined with a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission (ECT).
For 2012, prices for the Highlander will range from $28,090 for the Base 2WD four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic transmission to $37,045 for the Limited grade V6 with a five-speed automatic.
2011 Detailed Pricing
| Vehicle/Model || Number || Grade || Doors || Body Style || Trans || NEW MSRP || MY |
| HIGHLANDER |
| 6942 || Base || L4 2WD || 5 || SUV || 6AT || $27,390 || 11MY |
| 6943 || SE || L4 2WD || 5 || SUV || 6AT || $31,995 || 11MY |
| 6946 || Base || V6 2WD || 5 || SUV || 5AT || $28,545 || 11MY |
| 6951 || SE || V6 2WD || 5 || SUV || 5AT || $33,150 || 11MY |
| 6954 || Limited || V6 2WD || 5 || SUV || 5AT || $34,895 || 11MY |
| 6948 || Base || V6 4WD || 5 || SUV || 5AT || $29,995 || 11MY |
| 6953 || SE || V6 4WD || 5 || SUV || 5AT || $34,600 || 11MY |
| 6956 || Limited || V6 4WD || 5 || SUV || 5AT || $36,345 || 11MY |
| HIGHLANDER HYBRID |
| 6964 || Base || 4WD-i || 5 || SUV || CVT || $37,290 || 11MY |
| 6966 || Limited || 4WD-i ||5 ||SUV || CVT || $42,945 || 11MY |
| 4-Cyl Tow Prep Package || $220 |
| Tech Package || $1,835 |
| Cold Weather Package || $60 |
On the US market, the list of competitors for the Toyota Highlander include models like the Buick Enclave, the Cadillac SRX, and the Dodge Durango.
The Buick Enclave is powered by a 3.6L direct injected V-6 engine with variable valve timing that blends power and delivers a total of 288 HP and 270 lb.-ft. (366 Nm) of torque. The Cadillac SRX is powered by a 3.6 liter direct-injected V-6 engine that will deliver a total of 300 HP and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The Dodge Durango, on the other hand, is offered in two engine versions: a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or a 5.7-liter V8.
Great fuel economy for the four-cylinder engine
Impressive list of equipments
Both 2WD and 4WD version
Competition might be more powerful
Not enough cargo room when all three rows of seats are in use
The third row of seats can only accommodate children