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2013 Toyota Highlander Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Highlander not that high by sasolomon

sasolomon

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Introduction

Had a fairly base V6 FWD Highlander in New Orleans as a rental, a little over 5000 miles. Some nice features and engineering and some real misses as well. Depends on your priorities.

Reviewed: 2013 Toyota Highlander

4dr SUV 270-horsepower 3.5L V6 5-speed shiftable automatic FWD

Why the 2013 Toyota Highlander?

Audio & nav systems

I was pretty impressed as Toyota's systems in the past I have found lackluster. The bluetooth quickly paired up with my iPhone and streamed Pandora without a hitch, even with the title / track info. The touch screen was very legible and responsive (generally, I despise touchscreens). Sound quality pretty good.

Ride smoothness

New Orleans streets are notorious for being like the third world. The Highlander was quite smooth and took most of the bouncing away - even big potholes that slam most cars and trucks, the Highlander did not feel like it was crashing around. Pretty impressive.

Rear seat room & comfort

Perfect for two car seats. Really neat trick - the middle seat for the 2nd row rolls up into the center console. I did not remove it nor attempt to sit in it but that does make the 3rd row more likely to be used for those with car seats. I did not attempt to sit in the 3rd row (looked at it before folding into the floor for cargo space for the entire trip) so cannot opine on it. Use at your own risk.

Why Not the 2013 Toyota Highlander?

Fuel economy

A complete pig. Yes, we were doing mostly urban assault driving but 14.8 MPG (according to the trip computer I reset when we drove away - did not calculate actual mileage since it was a rental and do not know how full the tank was when we received it) is pretty deplorable.

Controls and instruments

The rear HVAC controls are completely controlled by the back seat occupants. The only thing the driver / front passenger can do it turn it on or off (or contort yourself to reach behind the seat to manipulate the controls). If you have kids in back, they are not going to reach up to control the rear HVAC controls. Stupid design.

Handling

Steering heavy without much feel (still better than Honda though). Almost feels like Toyota went out of their way to make it seem like this Camry station wagon (even more so than the Venza) "feels" truckish and heavy. Some buyers interpret this as "solid", but it is purely marketing (although it is a heavy vehicle).

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