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2nd Generation (2008-2013) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 2nd generation Toyota Highlanders.

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Old 08-12-2011, 08:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The Likes/Dislikes Thread

Alrighty, so I've had my HL for roughly a year and 4 months now, and theres plently that I love about this truck, but that being said it's far from perfect...

Since a new 3rd generation is likely coming up soon, let's hear what everyone loves about the current HL's and what people wish they could change.

I'll start.

My Likes:

1. Love the exterior of the 08-10's. Completely understated yet powerful looking, and they look like an actual SUV not a swoopy crossover. Right down to the 19" rims, I dont think I'll ever find a set of aftermarket wheels I like better. Maybe just the chromed OEM wheels some people on here have.

2. The seating position. I love where the driver sits in the HL. It's a good height, and the driver can actually see the hood when driving.

3. The brakes. Completely awesome. Took me forever to get used to driving around a parking lot with them because it always looked like I was slamming on them when applying at low speeds. I've also gotten into a couple harry situations when towing a trailer, and these brakes have never left me worried feeling.

4. The layout of the entire interior dashboard, the size of the navigation screen, and the HVAC controls.

5. The powerplant. I wouldn't change a thing. I always have plenty of passing power, even when towing two atv's, and it always seems to return great fuel mileage. Last weekend I did a 2 hour trip on some back country roads with two atv's loaded up in a trailer, a/c cranked, and tackled plenty of hills, and the HL still did 10.6L/100km.

Now for the dislikes:

1. The window switches don't light up at night time. Seriously? My truck is black on black, the only way I buy my cars, and every other car I've owned has backlite window switches. For the first months I struggled to find my window switches in the dark.

2. Only the driver window is automatic. My cousin has a 2011 4runner, and I've been in a 2009 Corolla XRS, both of which have 4 automatic windows. Why not the HL?

3. The interior light switch flips over too easily. I never get it back to the 'door' setting, I always go all the way to either off or on, which isn't a big deal when I actually notice.

4. The location of the heated seat dials suck.

5. I really wish we had a full 2/3 prong electrical outlit. My buddies 06 Vibe has it, so I'm assuming Matrix's do as well, why not the HL?

Bonus: 6: I wish it were called the Kluger in N/A! I love that name haha, and I think I've called it a 'Highlander' once in the whole time I've owned it.
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Old 08-12-2011, 09:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've never seen a vehicle with 4 auto windows. Two fronts maybe.......
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have had mine since May and my disappointments would include:
  1. How flimsy the exterior is. I appreciate that weight is an issue but I expect the paint is thicker than the metal under it. And even then the paint they use is so soft a hard bug will dent it.
  2. How flimsy the various panels under the car are and how cheaply they are held in place.
  3. How little usable space there is behind the third row seats when up.
  4. How little useful information is available on the display thingmie (where the clock and temperature are).
  5. How they rate the towing capacity at 5000# and not supply an appropriate trailer package to match.
  6. How the shape of the doors make it look as if there is damage to them (at the bottom, just above the trim).
  7. How quiet the alarm is that indicates you have locked or unlocked the car via the remote.
  8. How you can not lock the vehicle via the remote if a door is still open.
There are probable more.. however over all I am impressed and like the Highlander..

I am confused though why this is called a "truck". A truck has a box that one can dump a load of manure in..
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph6410 View Post
A truck has a box that one can dump a load of manure in..
Golf clap. Agreed.

Dislikes:

Second the non-lit window buttons.
Nanny Nav is a pain when one is driving not being able to fully use it.
Not that easy to see when reversing (using eyes not camera).
Shame it's not RWD but I can live with that.

Likes:

The look of it. I was partial to the Mazda CX-9 but the Highlander just looks better.
Great engine. The 3.5l V6 rocks.
Good fuel economy. Better than the CX-9.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll play. At this point I've owned mine for 3 1/2 years. Overall, I love this vehicle and the only reason I'd buy a different vehicle is I'd prefer a true 4x4 since I don't always want to revert to my Samurai to get to those hard to reach locations. Okay, the good and the bad....


The Good:

1. The mileage! What can you say, what SUV this size class gets this kind of mileage?
2. Interior room. Again, for this class of SUV it is very large for carrying stuff.
3. Comfortable interior/seats.
4. Comfortable ride.
5. A traction control system that works phenomenally well when traction is lost.
6. LED spot light mounted in roof.


The Bad:

1. Interior plastic that is easily scratched and/or damaged.
2. A rear bumper with no protective lip to prevent the paint from getting damaged when putting cargo in and out.
3. Limited interior storage spaces/cubbyholes.
4. Window switches that don't light up.
5. An air filter housing that is a bitch to remove and service.
6. No outside temperature sensor/display.
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Old 08-12-2011, 09:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Some have already been mentioned, but here's my list after 2.5 years with my 09.

Likes:

1. Exterior looks, including the 19" wheels (I agree with OP that I cannot find a sharper looking wheel, including after-market)
2. Seats - comfortable and high seating position
3. Engine - powerful
4. Dash layout
5. Back up camera without having to throw money away for Nav
6. Power lift gate
7. Lift gate glass opens separately
8. Room - incredible 2nd row leg room and 3rd row is better than any comparable SUV (at least when I shopped around for my 09)
9. The 2nd row middle seat/console swap with storage in centre console

Dislikes:
1. Cheap quality of interior materials ( silver scratches easily, hard plastics)
2. HID not an option
3. lack of illuminated switches
4. Lack of split 3rd row (addressed in 2011)
5. Slow engagement of reverse camera - I find myself half way reversed out of a space by the time the camera engages or I have to wait for it to engage...a real pain.
6. No option for 2nd row heated seats and cooled/ventilated front seats
7. Lack of turn signals in side mirrors - vehicles under $20K have them.
8. Lack of lighter sockets in 2nd row for chargers etc (I have to run an extension from the cargo area to the 2nd row for my son's ipod, blackberry etc)
9. Lack of 120v 3 prong socket for chargers etc.
10. Lack of stainless exhaust tips - minor, but dual exhaust tips would have added a more sporty/aggressive look to the vehicle.
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Old 08-12-2011, 09:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luck123 View Post
Some have already been mentioned, but here's my list after 2.5 years with my 09.

Likes:

1. Exterior looks, including the 19" wheels (I agree with OP that I cannot find a sharper looking wheel, including after-market)
2. Seats - comfortable and high seating position
3. Engine - powerful
4. Dash layout
5. Back up camera without having to throw money away for Nav
6. Power lift gate
7. Lift gate glass opens separately
8. Room - incredible 2nd row leg room and 3rd row is better than any comparable SUV (at least when I shopped around for my 09)
9. The 2nd row middle seat/console swap with storage in centre console

Dislikes:
1. Cheap quality of interior materials ( silver scratches easily, hard plastics)
2. HID not an option
3. lack of illuminated switches
4. Lack of split 3rd row (addressed in 2011)
5. Slow engagement of reverse camera - I find myself half way reversed out of a space by the time the camera engages or I have to wait for it to engage...a real pain.
6. No option for 2nd row heated seats and cooled/ventilated front seats
7. Lack of turn signals in side mirrors - vehicles under $20K have them.
8. Lack of lighter sockets in 2nd row for chargers etc (I have to run an extension from the cargo area to the 2nd row for my son's ipod, blackberry etc)
9. Lack of 120v 3 prong socket for chargers etc.
10. Lack of stainless exhaust tips - minor, but dual exhaust tips would have added a more sporty/aggressive look to the vehicle.

Geez...how could I forget....I hate the OEM wimpy horns!!!
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Bad:
- No 7 pin wiring harness for a vehicle that can tow 5000#
- Cost of OEM hitch and 4 pin harness
- Thin metal and paint make for a panel that is easily dented and scratched
- When the power window lock is engaged, the driver should be able to control all windows (anyone with kids who love pushing buttons know what I mean)
- Unplugging anything from the 24V jacks in the front pulls the whole jack out if you are not careful.
- No split third row
- lack of the option for the cargo box in lieu of the third row seats (at least in the 2009 Canadian V6 model)
- no illuminated door switches
- no protective lip on rear bumper
- Not able to change things like the units (Metric to English) on the MFD yourself on the fly
- Lack of a decent GPS, like a built-in Garmin (so I am told, which is why I didn't opt for the NAV package)
- sound of the horn
- OEM tires
- Small size of the gas tank (especially if you tow)
- TPMS that does not show actual pressures (for those without the Hybrid)
- Heated seat controls should push on/off.
- Having to pay extra for satellite radio. It should have everything installed with one year free subscription, like other manufacturers (Chrysler)


Good
- Mileage
- Engine
- Look (I love my 19" wheels)
- Power lift gate
- Separate glass opening on lift gate
- ceiling mounted LED for centre console
- soft ride
- Winter performance/traction control (at least with dedicated winter tires)


I am sure that I left out a few from both categories. Overall, I really like this truck () alot. Seriously, though...I call it my truck. Crossover SUV is just too many syllables.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zembonez View Post
I've never seen a vehicle with 4 auto windows. Two fronts maybe.......
^I just had a 2010 Camry SE rental car with 4 door auto, it exists, just rare when not in the luxury brands haha

Likes:
Engine
MPG
Easy Modibility
more "aggressive" look when compared to 2011's
19' rims
fairly good sound system stock (JBL) , easily upgradable
Easy controls on steering wheel and nav
stock 150amp altenator, no need to worry about having enough power for my 2 amps I added.

Dislikes:
the biggest annoyance is the freaking back bumper lip that scratches like crazy. Just got a OEM protector to cover that spot.
pathetic OEM horns (quickly replaced)
stock interior lighting brightness (upgraded to LED's)
Lack of choice to refuse having the 3rd row, instead of having it standard (I've never used it and would love to have the cargo bin.)
The choice in OEM tires (weird size), plus the ones that came on mine (Bridge-stone Duelers H/L 400's) are crap.
nanny nav
19.2 gallon tank (too small, especially when my car reads empty with zero miles left cruising range with 16 gallons used...)

Wishes (not dislikes):
no HID's stock (quickly fixed haha)
wish it had a 6 speed tranny instead of the stock 5
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Last edited by sweeneyp; 08-13-2011 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Likes: all of the exterior (2009)

Dislikes: interior rattles on dash when it is cold outside
plastics in interior scratches easily
NO MEMORY SEATS!!!
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I love my new Highlander but wish they improved the following:
- top of the line model does not include memory seats
- no auto folding side view mirrors
- no AC outlet in the front cabin
- lousy location for USB /iPod plugs - they should be in the center console.
- horn $ucks
- cheap carpet floor mats & the rubber all weather mats aren't designed to hold a lot of snow or crud - they are practically flat with no capacity to hold filth-muck
- single DVD screen for rear viewing

A couple of pleasant surprises:
- 2nd row seating with removable middle seat so the kids don't have to touch & they each get their own arm rest.
- full size spare
- operation of the 3rd row is a huge improvement over my XC90
reclining 2nd row seats so the kids can kick back and chill
- lots of storage
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I just bought a 2011 Sport after having my 2008 Sport for a little over a year. Believe me i seriously considered buying the 2011 Ford Explorer LTD, due to the std features, the size, the torque, looks, etc however that's for another post!

My dislikes:

  • OEM tires in an odd size, that are just useless if its not dry pavement, got the toyo open country A20s on mine and changed to toyo open country HT which are way better and handle just fine in snow!
  • The paint that chips way too easily, its almost like they never intended to painted the car or had a change of thought in the middle.
  • Rear Back bumper lip that scratches like crazy
  • The cost of the factory trailer hitch and accessories (about $900 CA) installation not included
  • No memory on the power seats and mirrors, toyota is so cheap they made only one seat power adjustable on the Sport model, lol!!
  • Cheap H4 two filament headlights (updated on the 2011), still no HIDs on any model.
  • No power folding mirrors.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I've had a 2011 Limited for 3 months now and agree pretty much with everything said in previous posts. I am still surprised that nobody mentioned the lack of HD radio in any of the trim lines especially when cheaper suv's include it as standard. It would negate the need to pay subscription fees for sat. radio service. Does anyone have any info on whether there are any aftermarket HD radio modules for the Highlander without replacing the entire head unit. I have the JBL system and my XM time will probably run out any day now.
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:07 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I'd only add that if Toyota doesn't address these issues in the 2014 redesign of the Highlander, I'll be disappointed enough in Toyota to consider them out of the running for my next couple of vehicles. Toyota corporate talks big about reconnecting to its customers and addressing complaints and feedback, but you sure don't see any of that by the lack of fixes implemented in follow-on model years of the Highlander.
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:14 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rootsman View Post
I've had a 2011 Limited for 3 months now and agree pretty much with everything said in previous posts. I am still surprised that nobody mentioned the lack of HD radio in any of the trim lines especially when cheaper suv's include it as standard. It would negate the need to pay subscription fees for sat. radio service. Does anyone have any info on whether there are any aftermarket HD radio modules for the Highlander without replacing the entire head unit. I have the JBL system and my XM time will probably run out any day now.
I have the 2011 Sport Trim which came with HD radio and XM Satellite (Still working regardless of no subscription). Not sure about whats included in the USDM offerings but the Canadian market models seem to include a few more features, correct me if i'm wrong!!
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