Review: 2005 Toyota Highlander

The Manufacturer

Highlanders come with three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and roadside-assistance warranties. The hybrid model's unique components are warranted for eight years or 100,000 miles.

Why would you pick a Highlander out of the Toyota sport/ute lineup, which will soon number a total of six? Simply put: It rides like a midsize wagon and has more room inside than the sprightly RAV4. In other words, it's a reasonable way to get SUV space and seating without the excess.

A 2005 IntelliChoice Best Overall Value winner, the Highlander is a great choice for many people, especially small families and recreation-minded urbanites. Consumers who plan on rock-crawling, or at least seeking adventure off the beaten path, however, should probably look into something truck-based like a Toyota 4Runner. Still, the V-6 Highlander can be outfitted to tow up to 3,500 pounds--enough to easily pull a U-Haul trailer to college.

Always a prudent choice, the Toyota Highlander is a safe, refined midsize vehicle with none of the compromises required with a traditional sport/ute.

What's Hot

  • Carlike ride and economy
  • SUV-like space and visibility
  • Lots of standard safety features

    What's Not

  • Bland styling
  • Options can quickly boost price
  • Long lines for purchasing hybrid

    The socially responsible Highlander hybrid promises improved mileage and performance while showing off the owner's save-the-planet ideology. Upgrades for all 2005 Highlanders include standard keyless entry, roof rails, and a rear tonneau cover.

    If your pocketbook can handle nearly $3,000 tacked on to the Highlander's price, we'd recommend springing for Option Combination B, which brings side and side-curtain air bags, heated outside rear-view mirrors, and a sunroof. The Tow Prep Package is useful, too.

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