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Highlander 3rd Generation (2014-2019) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 3rd generation Toyota Highlanders.

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post #1 of 366 Old 10-31-2016, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Edited by TrailDust




I thought I'd introduce myself here since I've been lurking for a while during the research period of my new Highlander. I picked up a 2016 Highlander XLE in gray with black interior and captain's seats. I paid $37.7k for it here in Massachusetts a couple weeks ago. I was able to work out a deal with the dealer to sell the stock Michelin tires back at their stock price. I had Pirelli Scorpion Verde tires put on at the recommendation of Tire Rack.

I've modded it so far by adding the HID headlights from xenon depot. I did the H11 kit with Philips 4300 bulbs. They went in fairly easily once I stopped trying to put them in the high beam plugs . I installed the Kenwood DX9903s receiver based on the feedback I received about the built in navigation. I think the audio quality of the built in radio isn't bad and I think it's UI is fairly decent. It suffers from the same issues that most non-carplay receivers have when integrating with iPhones. It likes to play the very first song on the iPhone and doesn't always start playing music when you press play on the phone.

The Kenwood install wasn't too bad with help from Crutchfield. It's challenging because I installed it with the Maestro unit. You end up with several sets of instructions and it's hard to know which ones to follow. A few calls to Crutchfield helped solve these issues. The hardest parts were taking the dash apart, making about 20 wiring connections, and fitting it all into the dash.
My immediate reactions with the Kenwood unit is that the screen is smaller than the OEM version. However, the UI is better designed and the Carplay integration is flawless. I can start/stop music while listening to the radio without issue. The driving directions from Apple Maps come through perfectly. I was able to program the Maestro so that the up/down arrows go through my presets in the desired direction and the voice button activates Siri. I was skeptical about having an aftermarket bluetooth microphone. Clipping it right next to the bottom right corner of the odometer has proven to be unobtrusive. I've already forgotten that it's there and it works great. I don't think the satellite radio antenna is connected correctly. There were a few wires that didn't end up getting connected to the Kenwood unit that were connected to the OEM radio. I also wonder if I'm not getting quite as good FM radio reception. My gut tells me it's about 85-90% for some reason but I didn't drive around long enough without it to have a good baseline.

The other vehicles I considered when buying were the Honda Pilot and a BMW X3. My plan was to go for 3 year old BMW with 30k miles and pay about the same as the new highlander. In the end, there were none in the area that fit the profile I wanted so I went with the Highlander. I have to say, I wasn't real excited walking out of the Toyota dealership. However, after owning for a month now, this is a really nice vehicle. I was coming from a 2012 Nissan Murano SV. I like the handling of the Highlander better. The acceleration is better. I had no problem with the CVT in the MO and I expected going back to regular gears would not be as smooth. I definitely don't feel that way with the Highlander. The cargo capacity is impressive and I don't feel like I'm driving a bus. I'm looking forward to taking it out in the New England winter to see how it does in the snow.

I think the cost on this vehicle is extremely reasonable. I paid $37k for it and I project that after 4 years and 60k miles it'll be worth $18-20k. That puts my cost at about $5k per year which is very reasonable for a vehicle of this luxury.

My wife has one of the polluting VW diesels. We're getting a killer deal from VW to sell it back to them. Now, I have to decide if I want to put my wife into a Highlander or a Subaru Outback.

Last edited by TrailDust; 11-12-2016 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Sticky thread details added
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post #2 of 366 Old 10-31-2016, 04:44 PM
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new ride!

Looks like you have done quite a few "upgrades" on yours already. I thought all XLE are come with Bench seat instead of Captains. That's interesting.

I definitely see multiple Highlanders in a single family. My neighbour has three(3) 2016 highlanders in their garage...two LE and one XLE all in white color. And none of them work for Toyota.

2016 Blizzard Pearl Hybrid Limited
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post #3 of 366 Old 10-31-2016, 05:39 PM
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I'd be interested in CarPlay functionality by installing an aftermarket receiver but I'd be worried about losing some kind of functionality like steering wheel controls, backup camera, Driver Easy Speak, etc. Did you lose anything by removing the stock unit?
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post #4 of 366 Old 10-31-2016, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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The only thing I lost is data on the compass option between the tach and the speedometer. I also no longer see what song is playing when I'm listening to my iPhone. However, the kenwood unit has a compass and the song is clearly visible on the kenwood unit. The screen between the tach and the speedometer does get the AM/FM information as well as the HD radio information. I think these things net out to zero and CarPlay is a huge win.
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post #5 of 366 Old 10-31-2016, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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I do miss the big screen but I think I would have grown tired of the OEM navigation and lackluster iPhone integration over time. Oh, one thing I did lose is this kenwood unit can only play one HD stream per station from what I can see. The OEM unit can do two.
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post #6 of 366 Old 10-31-2016, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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As a matter of fact, the kenwood let's me turn the backup camera on anytime and it turns on in reverse automatically.
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post #7 of 366 Old 11-02-2016, 08:10 AM
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Congrats on your Highlander, and welcome to TN!

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Past: 2013 Rav4 Limited AWD, Multiple 4Runners and Camrys
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post #8 of 366 Old 11-02-2016, 08:45 AM
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New Member Intro

Hello Toyota Nation!

I'm a new member here and wanted introduce myself. My name is Ken and I purchased a 2015 Higlander XLE AWD in Blizzard Pearl last October. I came from a Lexus GX470 and am missing it a lot but practicality pushed me to buy the Highlander. The main feature that got me to the Highlander was the rear cargo space when the 3rd row seat is up. We're a family of 5 and taking trips with extended family becomes an issue with limited cargo space. I'm a current member of Club Lexus and have contributed to posting mods and helping others out. I'm a big "do it your selfer".

Looking forward to the discussions, getting help and providing help when ever I can.

Best,

Ken
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post #9 of 366 Old 11-02-2016, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcl00 View Post
As a matter of fact, the kenwood let's me turn the backup camera on anytime and it turns on in reverse automatically.
Thanks for the Car Play installation info. I'm definitely going to be looking to do this upgrade eventually. How about a photo?
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post #10 of 366 Old 11-02-2016, 09:44 AM
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Welcome Ken! Great choice on your purchase. There's lots of information her for the do-it-yourselfer.

2014 Highlander XLE AWD
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post #11 of 366 Old 11-02-2016, 09:44 AM
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Welcome, and congrats! I'm an ex CL-er myself, too.

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post #12 of 366 Old 11-02-2016, 10:10 AM
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Vinny68 and Gecko,

Thank you for the warm welcome!

Ken
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post #13 of 366 Old 11-02-2016, 10:21 AM
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Actually I have 2 mods that I am interested in doing, the first is simple the second not so simple.

1) Looking to get a rear bumper sill guard. I'm not fond of the one toyota offers because it doesn't cover the entire length of the sill of the bumper.

I did some research and am considering the following item that's currently on ebay.


2) I was surprised and disappointed after I picked up the vehicle, the XLE model didn't come with memory seats. To me it's mind boggling that the vehicle comes with NAV and rear back up camera but no memory seats? So I'm going to be looking into the cost of installing memory seats with toyota OEM parts.

Below is a picture of my 2015 Highlander, it was detailed with Zaino after I took the picture a few weeks ago. I'm in love with Zaino!
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post #14 of 366 Old 11-02-2016, 10:32 AM
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Just came across this bumper sill guard which is exactly what I want but unfortunately is only available on the previous generation 2 model.
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post #15 of 366 Old 11-02-2016, 10:43 AM
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Welcome phuken Ken!

Yes, that last one would be great. I too wanted a rubbery or black plastic one, but got the standard. It does the job, since its rare if ever you will have contact towards the sides. But I like stealth, so the chrome to me is a turn off.

_____________
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