Highlander stand up to mostly dirt roads? - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums

Highlander 3rd Generation (2014+) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 3rd generation Toyota Highlanders.

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post #1 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Highlander stand up to mostly dirt roads?

Hi there, I am new to board and looking for confirmation that the highlander [new] will stand up to my every day drive.
I live in the bush in northern BC and 75% of my driving is on gravel roads. We get 30 feet of snow each year so the snow on the roads in winter can be quite messy [icy ruts]. My Superduty works well but my wife wants something else. Its a 1 and 1/2 drive to nearest grocery store.
You might be saying I should just get another truck but that's not in the cards. Mainly because we drive 16 hours to Vancouver to see the kids 2 or 3 times a year.
So the question is whether I should forget about the highlander. My wife has seen one in town and she likes it. The only dealers within 5 hours drive are Toyota, Chevy, Ford, Dodge.
This will be a wife car to go see the neighbors so I need reliability.
I have not gone to a dealer yet but most say the Toyotas are the most reliable. I have thought about the 4 runner but am worried I am too tall. The specs say the highlander has more head room. I am 6'5". I'm thinking I should try it but the highlander looks to be a better car to travel to Vancouver.
Any one do any back country driving. We do not consider gravel roads 4 wheeling as most down south do. Lets just say this car will not go to any spots that we don't use all the time. Lots of dust, gravel, snow.
Thanks for looking at my ramblings.
Henry
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 06:04 PM
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Well, based on the specs, it should do OK: AWD, 8 inches of ground clearance, towing capacity, engine. Compared to the 4Runner it has the latest safety technology already. You'll definitely be pushing it harder then most people who drive Highlanders, though. These days, "Crossover SUV" mostly means riding higher, more space, available AWD but not a minivan. Ultimately, it's built on a car chassis rather than a truck one.

Your best guide would be to consider what kind of vehicles people drive in your area. If it's mostly real SUVs and trucks then you should be concerned. If there are a lot of people who get by with sedans, crossovers and minivans and don't get stuck all the time then that would be reassuring.

Whether or not the wear-and-tear is easier on an SUV than a crossover is a matter of opinion. They all have plenty of plastic and lots of electronics, these days.
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2017 Highlander SE AWD

Last edited by StatCoder; 02-16-2017 at 06:19 PM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowtime9 View Post
I have thought about the 4 runner but am worried I am too tall. The specs say the highlander has more head room. I am 6'5". I'm thinking I should try it but the highlander looks to be a better car to travel to Vancouver.
Any one do any back country driving. We do not consider gravel roads 4 wheeling as most down south do. Lets just say this car will not go to any spots that we don't use all the time. Lots of dust, gravel, snow.
Thanks for looking at my ramblings.
Henry
I don't think you will have any trouble fitting in the 4Runner, but it is truck-based whereas the Highlander is car-based. If you can test drive both, you will know pretty quickly which one you prefer.

For long distance, the Highlander will definitely be the smoother, more comfortable ride. It will handle gravel roads and snow just fine and probably what your wife would prefer. If you are talking serious off-roading, then the 4Runner would be a better choice.
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Last edited by rockett1021; 02-17-2017 at 12:16 PM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 09:26 PM
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gravel is nothing.. you'll be just fine... I drive a '95 Camry on washboard sand/dirt roads daily... this is the worst you can get... so your highlander will be fine on gravel...






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post #5 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 10:09 PM
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Is your area a bit hilly or just plains? If there are a lot of slopes, you might also want to consider Pilot which should have better AWD system. I picked Highlander because of its better, more affordable safety features like blind spot monitoring and sensing that are available for XLE.

2017 Highlander XLE AWD - Predawn Gray Mica with Black Leather
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-17-2017, 11:58 AM
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For that much snow and continued off-road use, I would personally go with the 4Runner. The 4R has better hardware for winters and more ground clearance, but you will pay a price with gas mileage.

Current: 2016 4Runner Limited 4x4 (Attitude Black/Redwood)
Past: 2013 Rav4 Limited AWD, Multiple 4Runners and Camrys
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-17-2017, 12:25 PM
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And you have internet that far into the boonies?!! Whoa!

HL will likely do just fine though. And you'll appreciate the difference in ride quality and gas millage on your long trips.
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-17-2017, 12:55 PM
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Here's a thread about tall drivers and the 4Runner:

http://www.toyota-4runner.org/5th-ge...l-drivers.html

A video comparing the HL and 4R:

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post #9 of 13 Old 02-17-2017, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Guys.
Your answers are welcome. We only go to town once every 2 weeks so I will not be seeing a highlander or 4 runner for another week or so.
Some answers. First internet is by sat. There's no cell here and probably never will be due to the mountains and big trees. Of course we have lots going on the ranch with a salmon river just 1/4 mile from main house and amazing amount of wild life. We got power system, wind and solar in 95 and so we feel like we are in heaven with power. Nothing like running water.
I am a retired guide [72] and we only keep chickens now days. My wife and I have enjoyed a wonderfully invigorating life here for the last 45 years. I am not going to start telling stories as that is never ending.
When we get to town and check out the Toyotas I will get back to you. One thing to know about me is I hardly ever use my email [kids give me trouble over that]
and so only use the internet to research purchases. This morning we were skiing up to the falls about 3 miles from our back door. This is the time to ski warm and sunny with deep snow.
Thanks again for your responses, Henry
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-17-2017, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowtime9 View Post
Thanks Guys.
Your answers are welcome. We only go to town once every 2 weeks so I will not be seeing a highlander or 4 runner for another week or so.
Some answers. First internet is by sat. There's no cell here and probably never will be due to the mountains and big trees. Of course we have lots going on the ranch with a salmon river just 1/4 mile from main house and amazing amount of wild life. We got power system, wind and solar in 95 and so we feel like we are in heaven with power. Nothing like running water.
I am a retired guide [72] and we only keep chickens now days. My wife and I have enjoyed a wonderfully invigorating life here for the last 45 years. I am not going to start telling stories as that is never ending.
When we get to town and check out the Toyotas I will get back to you. One thing to know about me is I hardly ever use my email [kids give me trouble over that]
and so only use the internet to research purchases. This morning we were skiing up to the falls about 3 miles from our back door. This is the time to ski warm and sunny with deep snow.
Thanks again for your responses, Henry
Your lifestyle sounds amazing! Wish I could visit!

Please let us know what you end up getting. Best of luck!
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-18-2017, 07:32 AM
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If you can fit in the 4-Runner, there would not even be a discussion about Highlander to me. The 4-Runner body-on-frame construction will hold up much better than a Unibody over the years. That once, twice, or three times in the next decade when you NEED the capabilities of the 4-Runner to get you through a really tough situation (run off the road dodging a moose, for example), will pay for itself in the increased likelihood that the 4-Runner will hold up to the event better, and potentially get you out of the trouble.

Sit in the 4-Runner. If you fit, get it!

My situation is the opposite of you, the Highlander is plenty for someone that rides around town, down the highway, and on a gravel road occasionally to trout fish. I drive in wimpy circumstances. You, my friend, do not.
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post #12 of 13 Old 03-07-2017, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Well I said I would get back to everyone. I sat in a 4 runner and its a no go with the moon roof.
So I ordered an SE highlander. They didn't have the red that we wanted so I will have to wait for delivery.
The salesman will get back to me in the next few days to let me know the delivery day.
I do have a Superduty for when the road is tough going
Waiting. Henry
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post #13 of 13 Old 03-07-2017, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowtime9 View Post
Well I said I would get back to everyone. I sat in a 4 runner and its a no go with the moon roof.
So I ordered an SE highlander. They didn't have the red that we wanted so I will have to wait for delivery.
The salesman will get back to me in the next few days to let me know the delivery day.
I do have a Superduty for when the road is tough going
Waiting. Henry
Congratulations, Henry!

.

Last edited by rockett1021; 03-07-2017 at 09:36 PM.
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