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2003 Toyota Highlander Sport Utility Crossover

4dr V6 4WD Limited (Natl)

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 22 MPG Highway

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  • $31,095 original MSRP
Printable Version

2003 Toyota Highlander Sport Utility Crossover

Printable Version

2003 Toyota Highlander Sport Utility Crossover

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2003 Toyota Highlander

Source: New Car Test Drive

Introduction

Toyota Highlander is among the easiest of motoring companions. Getting in and out of it couldn't be easier. Highlander offers lots of flexibility when it comes to carrying people and things. It totes four people comfortably, five less so. The rear seats can be folded down for cargo carrying. Highlander offers plenty of utility, with more total cargo space than a 4Runner.

On street and highway, Highlander performs decorously, pretending to be a car. Yet it can swallow impromptu flea-markets buys with ease, and tote them home despite sudden worsening of the weather. Highlander offers much of what made the Lexus RX 300 so popular without the high payments.

The four-wheel-drive V6 model offers impressive all-weather capability. The base model with front-wheel drive and a four-cylinder engine performs brilliantly around town and on the open highway, delivering responsive performance when merging into highway traffic.

Model Lineup

Highlander is available in two trim levels, each with either full-time four-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. There's also a choice of engines: A 2.4-liter inline-4 comes standard, and is rated 155 horsepower. A 3.0-liter V6 that produces 220 horsepower is optional. All Highlanders come with automatic transmissions.

Prices start at $23,880 for the four-cylinder model with front-wheel drive. With full-time four-wheel drive, the four-cylinder Highlander lists for $25,280. V6 models are priced at $25,460 with front-wheel drive and $26,860 with four-wheel drive.

Even the base trim level is well-equipped, and includes air conditioning, power windows and door locks, cruise control, cloth upholstery, and anti-lock brakes. Some of the Limited's standard features are offered as options on the base Highlander, either by themselves or grouped into packages.

Highlander Limited ($29,935 with 2WD, $30,795 with 4WD) comes with the V6 as standard equipment, and adds automatic climate control, an eight-speaker JBL sound system, eight-way power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support, aluminum wheels, roof rack, fog lights, rear privacy glass, heated mirrors, remote keyless entry with security system and engine immobilizer, wood-grain interior trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and other amenities. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, and an in-dash six-disc CD changer are optional.

With either trim level, and especially with the V6, we highly recommend the optional Traction Control with Vehicle Skid Control ($850). We also recommend the seat-mounted side-impact airbags ($250).

Walkaround

Toyota Highlander looks smart and trim, falling somewhere between the edgy high style of the RAV4 and the intense purposefulness of the 4Runner. The Highlander is actually roomier than the outgoing Lexus RX 300. The family resemblance to the Lexus is evident, but the Highlander is dressed down, rather like wearing faded jeans and a favorite windbreaker instead of dry-clean-only lunch-with-the-ladies attire.

Entry, both for cargo and for people, is easier than in truck-based SUVs. With its more car-like step-in and lift-into, the Highlander is even friendly to wearers of tight skirts. Not so the usual truck-based SUV.

Interior Features

When it comes to ingress and egress (getting in and out), Toyota Highlander has no peers. Neither climbing up nor stepping down is required. Simply slide into one of the comfortable front seats. This makes Highlander one of the most convenient vehicles on the planet for running daily errands. This product will never annoy you.

Highlander comes with reclining front bucket seats in front, and a three-passenger 60/40 split fold-down reclining bench in the rear. The seats are supportive and comfortable and adjust to suit various-size drivers. Part of the appeal of SUVs is the ease of seeing out at every angle. And so it is here. The sloping hood of the Highlander makes the forward view even more encompassing.

Once seated, you'll find everything in its place. Power window buttons are right there on the doors. Ventilation ducts are right where you would expect to find them. Radio and heater controls use simple dials and amply sized buttons and operate intuitively. Instruments are readily visible through a panoramic space in the comfortable four-spoke steering wheel. The whole layout bespeaks thoughtful appraisal and wise choices. V6 models come with aluminum interior accents. Wood and chrome touches warm and brighten the Limited edition.

The shifter is uniquely positioned more as a part of the dash than on a central console. This opens up the space between the front seats. It also lends an open, unconfined air to the cockpit. The interior is outfitted with dome, door courtesy, glove box and cargo-area lighting. Map pockets, visor mirrors, and front and rear auxiliary power outlets are provided.

Driving Impressions

Toyota Highlander is easy to drive and operate. It feels instantly familiar with no fumbling for controls. The Highlander is quieter than truck-based SUVs both in engine and road noise. It rides smoothly on a variety of surfaces, true to the car side of its SUV heritage. The appeal of the Highlander continues to grow over time, gradually blossoming into a sense of general well-being and satisfaction.

The standard front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder Highlander with traction control makes for a superb wagon for the city and suburbs. It's far easier to deal with on a daily basis than a truck-based sport-utility. Though you ride a little taller, you look eye to eye at Volvo wagon drivers. This is a quick, sprightly car with the four-cylinder engine, and it's smooth and quiet. It also gets better fuel economy (22/27 mpg city/highway vs. 18/22 for the 4WD V6). The steering is sedan-like with an appropriate feel. Braking is certain and smooth. Acceleration is nimble. We expected this in the V6 test car, but found the four-cylinder version to be a happy performer as well. We didn't feel like we were missing something by not having the V6.

Highlander feels at home around town, amidst traffic lights and parking seekers. It's a good size for city streets and soaks up potholes and irregular pavement well. Rolling into suburbia, the Highlander fits right in. It's a natural mall-crawler, maneuverable and quick to nose into a parking slot. Steering effort is very light at low speeds, so it's easy to turn in tight quarters. It cruises well on major highways, offering good stability and a smooth, quiet ride.

Highlander deals with mountain roads like an expert speller in the early stages of a championship bee. Snow melt, muddy ruts, icy patches on shadowed curves were easily handled by a 4WD V6 model. On a meandering backroad, the Highlander cut up hills through eight inches of newly fallen snow like a snowplow on a rescue mission.

Highlander is intended primarily as a highway and street vehicle with all-weather capability. It is not meant for boulder bashing and serious off-road driving. That said, we found the Highlander more capable in demanding situations than Toyota publicizes. After all, Toyota has the 4Runner for serious off-road duty.

Summary

Toyota Highlander is an excellent choice as a no-hassle wagon. It is a jack of all trades. Its ease of operation and convenience features make it eminently easy to live with. Highlander carries four people in comfort, hauls a lot of stuff, and will roll through any storm. Toyota's reputation for quality, durability and reliability should mean trouble-free ownership and a strong resale value.

Toyota is determined to have the best-outfitted SUV stores on the planet, with an array of both truck and car-based models ranging from compact cute-utes to hulking Suburban fighters. Five different sport-utilities are now available from Toyota, and that's not counting the two from Lexus. Clearly, Toyota's goal is to meet every need, want, taste and whim of the SUV shopper. Highlander meets the needs of what most people want from a modern, on-road sport-utility.

 


Model Line Overview

Model lineup: 4-cyl 2WD ($23,880); 4-cyl 4WD ($25,280); V6 2WD ($25,460); V6 4WD ($26,860); Limited 2WD ($29,395); Limited 4WD ($30,795)
Engines: 155-hp, 2.4-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4; 220-hp, 3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve V6
Transmissions: 4-speed electronic automatic w/Snow Mode
Safety equipment (standard): dual front airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist
Safety equipment (optional): side-impact airbags; traction control; skid control
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Kyushu, Japan

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Toyota Highlander 4x2 ($23,880)
Standard equipment: air conditioning, digital clock, mini overhead console, cruise control, electric rear window defroster, power windows, power door locks with rear child-safety locks, remote fuel-filler release, AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo with six speakers, retained accessory power, dual visor mirrors, dual power outside mirrors; six-way adjustable driver's seat, tilt steering wheel
Options as tested (MSRP): Vehicle Skid Control and traction control ($650); side airbags ($250); QO Quick Order Package ($630) includes remote keyless entry, tonneau cover, privacy glass; HE Preferred Package ($645) includes 8-way power driver's seat, Homelink garage door opener, illuminated sunvisor vanity mirrors, immobilizer pre-wire for alarm; floor and cargo mat set ($170); aluminum wheels ($520); color-keyed mudguards ($80); heated folding outside mirrors ($30)
Destination charge: ($510)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $27,365
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine: 2.4-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 155 @ 5600
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 163 @ 4000
Transmission: 4-speed electronically controlled automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 22/27 mpg
Wheelbase: 106.9. in.
Length/width/height: 184.4/71.9/66.1 in.
Track, f/r: 62.2/61.6 in.
Turning circle: 37.4 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 40.0/55.1/40.7 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 39.8/54.9/36.4 in.
Trunk volume: 81.4 cu. ft.
Payload: Lbs.
Towing capacity: 3000 Lbs.
Suspension, f: independent MacPherson strut with L-shaped lower arm and stabilizer bar
Suspension, r: independent dual-link MacPherson struts and stabilizer bar
Ground clearance: 6.9 in.
Curb weight: 3485 lbs.
Tires: P225/70R16
Brakes, f/r: ventilated disc/disc with ABS, EBD and Brake Assist
Fuel capacity: 19.8 gal.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of January 16, 2003.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-GO-TOYOTA - www.toyota.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.


 

 

Printable Version

2003 Toyota Highlander Sport Utility Crossover

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2003 Toyota Highlander Sport Utility Crossover

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Warranty*
7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty**
1-year of Roadside Assistance***
160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection
CARFAX® Vehicle History Report"****

Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates*****

*Whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.)

**Whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles.

***From date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery up to 3 gallons and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details.

****Beginning December 1, 2005 CARFAX® Vehicle History Reports" are a required part of every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle. See your local dealer for details.

*****Rates mentioned are for standard new car rates, and do not include new car specials or subvented rates. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing available through Toyota Financial Services for qualified buyers only.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 7 years / 85,000
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection All TCUV vehicles must pass a comprehensive checklist that includes a 160-point inspection. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Toyota is in perfect condition. To see full inspection list visit http://www.toyotacertified.com/inspection.html
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 1-year of Roadside Assistance from date of TCUV purchase.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2003 Toyota Highlander Sport Utility Crossover

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