• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

New Car Review Video

2013 Toyota Highlander: New Car Review - Video

RELATED READING
See all Toyota Highlander articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Infiniti cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION
2013 Toyota Highlander

author photo by Jessica Shea Choksey July 2013

It's easy to get lost in the wide world of midsize crossovers. But the 2013 Toyota Highlander remains a real standout against some very capable competition. The Highlander hasn't seen any earth-shattering changes for this model year, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" definitely applies in this case.

The Highlander shares the same platform as the Toyota Camry, which means it's well-built and delivers a secure driving experience. Unlike with some crossovers, the exterior styling is conservative. And there's a new trim level this year called Plus that's slotted between the Base and SE. At the top end of the range is the Highlander Limited. As with any other vehicle or model, the higher the trim level, the more standard features you get.

Toyota's slick Entune mobile-app interface is only available, for instance, on the more expensive SE and Limited models. But we applaud Toyota for making Bluetooth technology and USB with iPod connectivity standard on every Highlander, along with a new, high-def 6.1-inch touchscreen.

In terms of cabin quality, the Highlander's interior materials are mediocre, with too many hard plastic surfaces. However, the Highlander offers plenty of space and versatility for people-moving. A practical feature is the Center Stow middle seat that easily converts the second row from a bench to two captain's chairs with an aisle in between. There's also a third-row seat in the Highlander, but it's intended for kids, not adults. With the third-row seat in place, cargo room is limited, but with the second- and third-row seats folded, there's more than 95 cu ft of storage space.

The Base and Highlander Plus get a standard 2.7-liter inline 4-cylinder that's good for 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission available for these trims is a 6-speed automatic driving the front wheels. If you can, go for the available 270-hp 3.5-liter V6 with a 5-speed automatic. It's smoother than the inline 4-cylinder, has a lot more power, can tow up to 5,000 pounds and comes with optional all-wheel drive.

Like most crossovers, the Highlander drives like a car. It offers a soft, comfortable ride and a suspension that's more suitable for soaking up bumps than rugged off-road excursions.

Surprisingly, the more powerful V6 actually yields fuel economy comparable to the inline 4-cylinder: 18 miles per gallon city/24 mpg hwy with the V6 versus 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy with the 4-cylinder. The all-wheel drive V6 drops to 17 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.

The Base Highlander costs around $29,000 before options. At the other end, the Limited model starts at almost $38,000. But try the Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Sorento before making a decision. They all compare well to the Highlander.

The 2013 Toyota Highlander is roomy, well-equipped, easy to drive and now loaded with standard technology on the upper trims. If you take our advice and choose that silky-smooth V6 while reserving the third row for the little ones, the Highlander will definitely earn your vote.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Toyota Highlander 4WD V6
Used 2012 Toyota Highlander
$25,983
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2003 Toyota Highlander 4WD V6
Used 2003 Toyota Highlander
$9,873
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Toyota Highlander 2WD Limited
Used 2012 Toyota Highlander
$29,593
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2009 Toyota Highlander 4WD V6
Used 2009 Toyota Highlander
$13,997

Find a Toyota Highlander for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Close 
2013 Toyota Highlander: New Car Review - Video - Autotrader