Toyota Nation Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
2001 Highlander
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Our 2001 Highlander is getting up there in miles...183K and going. Just had the timing belt, accessory belts, and water pump changed out (maintenance purposes only). Car is consuming some oil but not enough to be a problem...otherwise it runs well.

We plan on getting a replacement in the spring. May go with a new Highlander, but we want a vehicle with better towing capacity because we currently tow a heavier pop-up camper, and we may get a hybrid or small travel trailer in the next several years.

Our plan was to just trade the Highlander in and get whatever we could for it...but our 18YO son should be getting his license in a few months (yes it's on the older side) and he will likely want a car to get around.

Any opinions on how suitable our Highlander would be as a first "beater" car for our son? I'm not concerned about reliability because, while anything could go wrong, the car has served us well so far and we have no reason to think anything major will break. The main concern is in how safe it is to have a new driver with a crossover SUV...and if a smaller car like a Civic or a Corolla would be a better choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
260 Posts
I would say it depends on who's paying for gas and insurance. Think about it from a cost perspective, because in terms of reliability all 3 are about the same.

The Civics and Corollas are also safe, but think of it like this: would you want your son in a Corolla with someone else's teen in a Highlander? Even when not at fault, being on the losing end of a fender bender with an SUV is never good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
639 Posts
I would say it depends on who's paying for gas and insurance. Think about it from a cost perspective, because in terms of reliability all 3 are about the same.

The Civics and Corollas are also safe, but think of it like this: would you want your son in a Corolla with someone else's teen in a Highlander? Even when not at fault, being on the losing end of a fender bender with an SUV is never good.
If you can afford it, have him drive a vehicle with at least front and side airbags. I would avoid really small cars like a civic because the laws of physics are immutable, any lightweight car is going to get crushed by larger cars and trucks. In terms of an SUV - they are all way easier to roll than a car - especially by a new driver that is still making mistakes. Rolling a car typically produces severe injuries. However I think the avg SUV protect its own occupants a little better in normal collisions with other cars. So its a calculated risk.
 

·
Registered
2001 Highlander
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
If you can afford it, have him drive a vehicle with at least front and side airbags. I would avoid really small cars like a civic because the laws of physics are immutable, any lightweight car is going to get crushed by larger cars and trucks. In terms of an SUV - they are all way easier to roll than a car - especially by a new driver that is still making mistakes. Rolling a car typically produces severe injuries. However I think the avg SUV protect its own occupants a little better in normal collisions with other cars. So its a calculated risk.
The whole rollover risk is what I've initially been concerned about. The Highlander isn't as "tippy" as the Ford Explorer it replaced but it definitely would be more prone to rolling if the wheel were suddenly jerked.

If a Civic or Corolla wouldn't be good then what would be recommended? Would an Accord or Camry be a better choice? What other cars would be reliable/durable enough for a teen?

Cost is a bit of a consideration since we'd have to purchase a different car and keep it maintained...we are hoping, however, that our son would have a job that could at least pay the insurance and cover gas expenses.
 

·
Premium Member
2008 Highlander Base
Joined
·
35,703 Posts
Any opinions on how suitable our Highlander would be as a first "beater" car for our son? I'm not concerned about reliability because, while anything could go wrong, the car has served us well so far and we have no reason to think anything major will break. The main concern is in how safe it is to have a new driver with a crossover SUV...and if a smaller car like a Civic or a Corolla would be a better choice.
Teens are notoriously heavy on the accelerator, and I think it would be a huge mistake money-wise as he'll most likely go through tanks of gas like water. A Civic or Corolla would be a much better choice. If he feels he needs something more versatile to haul something then a light pickup would be a good compromise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
I think it would be a great vehicle! A little more for gas and insurance but there are some good trade offs. The Highlander has a great view of the road, comes with ABS, 4WD for winter, a few air bags, and not to mention good reliability. I don't consider this to be a tippy vehicle. You would have to do some serious maneuvers to roll this thing over. A corolla is ok but you already have this vehicle in your possession and I assume you don't owe anything on it so why bother going through the hassle. And, when your son doesn't need it, you can still use it without using a can opener to get in it when you need to.
 

·
Joined the dark side. :D
Joined
·
8,838 Posts
Teens are notoriously heavy on the accelerator, and I think it would be a huge mistake money-wise as he'll most likely go through tanks of gas like water. A Civic or Corolla would be a much better choice. If he feels he needs something more versatile to haul something then a light pickup would be a good compromise.
Easy, the vehicle is a gift to him. Let him pay for gas and pay for his own stuff. :D
 

·
Premium Member
2008 Highlander Base
Joined
·
35,703 Posts
Easy, the vehicle is a gift to him. Let him pay for gas and pay for his own stuff. :D
That does help lighten the lead foot, as long as one parent or the other doesn't knuckle under to the begging for more gas money....:lol:
 

·
Registered
'06 Highlander
Joined
·
8 Posts
When I got my licence when I was a teen, my Dad said, "don't ever get a vehicle". Of course, after abusing Mom's old Dodge Colt with friends in my early teens, I went and bought that '77 FJ40 where all the signs said don't buy this one when I was 19. I went through a lot with that truck, and still go through a lot with it decades later! I've been through a few other vehicles along the way, notably a good old '93 Asuna Sunrunner (Chev Tracker) I bought new and used hard for 15 years only ever changing the oil and filter (oh and wheel bearings after bogging it down in mud, traversing a wide Alberta river crossing, followed by 100 clicks on the highway without draining the axle boots - oops). But I did a lot of research last spring that led me unquestionably to buy our 2006 Highlander that'll serve our family well for years. I truly understand Dad's advice after adding up all the blood, sweat, tears, stranded-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-at-5am-on-the-coldest-bloody-winter-morning-with-a-failed-rad-hose, and expenses of fuel, maintenance, and insurance... but that's my problem, not my Dad's.

At 18, I would've loved a hand-me-down vehicle like a 2001 Toyota Highlander. In fact, I plan to pass on such a good solid, safe, reliable, dependable, capable, good looking, reasonably efficient vehicle to my future teenager one day.

Besides, once the vehicle is your son's, he's free to do whatever he likes - he'd get more for it selling it himself than you ever would trading it in - he could trade it in himself if it doesn't suit him - he can do so much more in it than merely testing physics (if he's got half as good a head as you gauging opinions here, then he's way too smart to roll it) - plus he'll know the vehicle's history intimately, which carries more value than any price tag on any used vehicle.

My opinion ultimately is, if you can afford it, pass him the Highlander and save him some vehicular hassles he doesn't need at his time in life. Job or no job, at 18 if he wants a vehicle, make the vehicle costs his responsibility, period. That's far less expensive for him than starting out on his own and buying his own used vehicle from scratch.

Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
639 Posts
We have lived thru 3 teens getting cars so far with 1 more to go as he is currently 13. My advice to maximize safety and minimize driving and insurance cost is something like a 4 cyl 2005 Accord or Camry. Both models can be purchased pretty cheap on used car market and they both can be had with front and side airbags - an important safety feature - if you can get stability control on them even better. A well used four door 4 cylinder Accord or Camry for a teen is going to be safe, reliable, and about the least expensive car to maintain, gas, and insure. You can buy these used models inexpensively with 75-95k miles on them and they are still reliable and have good useful extended lives if they have been well cared for.

Its important to realize that insurance is typically a huge cost associated with teen driving. Its surprising that any 2 door car or lots of small cars (like a civic) can be significantly more expensive to insure than a slightly larger family style sedan. And stick with a 4 cyl if possible - teens do not need more horsepower and insurance companies charge way more for teens with 6 or 8 cyl engines in the car.

You don't need to buy a cosmetically perfect car - 2 out of 3 kids had 1 or more fender benders on their cars within the first year. The third kid totaled her car after 3 years (accident not her fault). So expect some first year bumps no need to buy a perfect first car.
 

·
Registered
2011 Camry Hybrid
Joined
·
9 Posts
Excellent Teen Car

My daughter has use of my 03 V6 LTD with 85K on it. She is now 19 and away at college, but I'm confident that she is in reliable and safe transportation. It's all about WEIGHT. If she were to get in a wreck, I want her in a set of wheels that is well over 3,000 lbs vs. a much lighter Corolla or similar economy car.

Plus, I've learned the hard way that kids in high school, park in high school lots. Dings, dings, dings. Why not the set of 8 year old wheels then?

Good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
I'm 21 and I've been driving my highlander for about 4 years now. I like it and it is very safe and reliable so my parents like it.

You would have to be doing something seriously dangerous to flip it, I wouldn't be concerned about that. Maybe it's a few more dollars in gas but if an suv makes the difference in a crash, it's worth the few extra dollars.

I drove an explorer for a year before I got the highlander and I used to get yelled at to slow down in my neighborhood. (my mom and gma have also been told to slow down, and I was once yelled at for going 20mph). This happened a few times a month but as soon as I switched to the highlander I wasn't yelled at again, and my driving hasn't changed.
Just a side bonus to the highlander I guess.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
This is my second Kluger (highlander) -- however I got my first when I was 20. I had the 3.3 V6. It's a great car for a teenager -- higher vision, AWD... I would recommend this over a front wheel drive civic or corolla. Also, as for lead foot -- i'd only be concerned about the cost of petrol and maintainance rather than speed/power, as the corolla and civic are equally as zippy due to their power to weight ratio.
 

·
Registered
2001 Highlander
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
It looks like we are going to let our son use the Highlander...once he get his license (he has finally scheduled his driving test for this Saturday). We will have to dump some $$ into it...new set of tires and most likely a new catalytic converter. There is some concern about paying for the repairs since it has so many miles (190K) but we've had the car since new and I know how it's been maintained. I'd be concerned about going out and getting a beater car that I don't know about.

For a new vehicle, it looks like we are going to get a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. We did test drive the new Highlander and while it seemed like a decent car it really didn't feel much different than our 2001 Highlander...and we'd like something different. I realize that we may be taking chances on reliability, but the Grand Cherokee is a nice ride (we rented one for a few days on our last vacation) and I expect it will be a better tow vehicle for our pop-up camper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
639 Posts
Based on Consumer Reports auto surveys there are very few cars less reliable than a Jeep Grand Cherokee. But they are very nice looking and driving SUVs. Hopefully reliability has improved and you will have good luck with yours.
 

·
Registered
2001 Highlander
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Based on Consumer Reports auto surveys there are very few cars less reliable than a Jeep Grand Cherokee. But they are very nice looking and driving SUVs. Hopefully reliability has improved and you will have good luck with yours.
Thanks...just hoping that my repair experience will be better than the average. The 2011s are supposed to be a significant improvement over previous years, at least when it comes to driveability and materials quality.

Last replacement we had was a Subaru for a Volvo...had the same concerns about reliability but the Subaru was by no means perfect and cars in general are more reliable than they were 10 years ago. So far my Volvo has been fine...have had two warranty repairs (angle gear seal and LED brake light) in the first 29K miles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
639 Posts
Hammer - Agree, cars have radically improved their reliability over the last 20 years or so. Typically we are talking about relatively small differences in reliability these days in terms of rankings and ratings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,539 Posts
You consider a 2001 model year car a "beater"? My "beater is a 1974 Impala. It will be fine for your kid. Just be sure to have good insurance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
im another 21 year old chiming in here. my second car was the highlander (2003) its an awd 3.0 v6 , and i absolutely love the girl , i got her at 19 i believe, i was much more reckless then not to say im much better now but hey im safe most of the time. the car . isnt rollover prone from my experience, i take corners harder than she likes , at least i used too,ive tested most of her limits. i say its a great car for a beginner. i drive it hard but gas consumption keeps me easy on it , shes fun off road. no breakdowns and she has 130k+ miles on her. i still have it and will continue to keep her, i bought a different car for fuel consumption and fun (crossfire) but that highlander also inspired me to start a business. you have no idea the impact a good gift can make on someone.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top