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It is V6 in Toyota. In VW it is VR6, that is where difference is.
First of all, Toyota makes V6 same like other manufacturers: Nissan, Mitsubishi, Honda, GM, etc.
They packed it in what it is a Camry on steroids. It is really not friendly environment under the hood as it is limited space. Now if you think HL is bad, come check under the hood of my Sienna.
Others who use V6 in platforms derived from regular cars (transverse application) have same issues. It is not only spark plugs. Try changing master cylinder that is as robust on Toyota as butter. But, you would face more or less same issue on other vehicles.

Now going to VW. Their VR6 is different design and more expensive one, but it delivers better performance and worse mpg.
It has only one head as pistons are under 10.6 degrees angle. Basically it is V engine length wise but almost inline six, hence VR designation where R is “Reihenmotor” or inline engine.
The reason why they did this is to fit V engine in Corrado in 1991. Transverse application but very small vehicle. Now, forget the fact that it was understeer monster as it was superheavy for such vehicle. But, they kept concept and Audi, Porsche and VW all used this 3.6 since 2006 when it was introduced.
It is probably most reliable engine in this category of family SUV’s as it is on the market for a long time. And yes, it is much easier to work on. It delivers much better torque as it develops max torque already at 2,750rpms compared to 2GR-FKS which is at 4,700rpms.
Also, bcs. cylinders are in narrow angle it has ridiculously good sound.
But it is thirsty engine. Don’t hope for more than 20-22mpg on hwy.


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I have a 2014 as well and found out about the difficult issue of changing out the plugs a few years go. I had a WTF moment as well because I was going to change them out myself. I don't have the time or will to do them myself anymore because of its difficulty, but its part of the cost of proper maintenance. I'm at 97K trouble free miles now and planning to get them done soon at a local toyota independent shop, along with all the fluids (except oil), and check/replace belts. I was quoted at around $967 parts/labor. I don't think thats bad at all! I've never owned a VW but did own a BMW and you're complaining about maintenance now? Good luck.

Or this way…

Wow.. this is the best video i've seen to replace the plugs. It's a lot of work but very doable as DIYer if motivated lol.
 

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I have a 2014 as well and found out about the difficult issue of changing out the plugs a few years go. I had a WTF moment as well because I was going to change them out myself. I don't have the time or will to do them myself anymore because of its difficulty, but its part of the cost of proper maintenance. I'm at 97K trouble free miles now and planning to get them done soon at a local toyota independent shop, along with all the fluids (except oil), and check/replace belts. I was quoted at around $967 parts/labor. I don't think thats bad at all! I've never owned a VW but did own a BMW and you're complaining about maintenance now? Good luck.
I have VW and BMW in garage, and both together cost less to maintain then Sienna I have.
So, everything depends what model you get.
I also have Land Cruiser in Europe and costs to maintain like Ferrari, but it definitely doesn’t drive like one.


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After learning that Toyota designed the Highlander's tune-up process to include 1 not so easy to reach spark plug and that a simple tuneup (change of spark plugs) would cost $642.00, it made me a Volkswagon Atlas fan immediately. In my opinion this was done intentionally and the reason that no Toyota dealership in Illinois will quote you without taking their time to warm you up to the idea of $642.00- $675.00 to change 6 plugs. 5 of which are easy to get to. I should be able to change spark plugs the same way I do on my 8cyl Sequoia. Very sad the Japanese felt they had to design the engine this way. It's a nice car but over-priced and the maintenance is ridiculous. So, I was a 4 car Toyota owner and shortly I will be building my stable with Volkswagons. The Germans were always better engineers.
Your saving wont be @ the maintenance but your insurance might be cheaper as none of the VWs made it to the most stolen list.
 

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Your saving wont be @ the maintenance but your insurance might be cheaper as none of the VWs made it to the most stolen list.
There is really no difference in insurance. I own Toyota, VW and BMW, and it doesn’t matter.
Also, Atlas won’t be any more expensive to maintain. It will probably be opposite.


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It is not like you need to change Spark Plugs every 10K miles. Wait until the 100K miles plus the manufacturer recomendation and them the entire car may need other work or maintenance and the cost of the tune up will appear insignificant by compatrison. If it aint broken don't fix it! Note to Self: Specially NEVER try to remove the Transmission Oil pan on the 2008 Highlander. It is not needed and it cost $1800 to put it back together. Leave it alone!
 
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