The second-generation 2008 Highlander is larger and more powerful than before, which gives the midsize SUV more breathing room between it and the automaker's recently enlarged RAV4 compact SUV. The gas-powered Highlander gets a new 3.5-liter V-6; a gas/electric Highlander Hybrid is also offered and is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.
Five- and seven-seat models are available, and Base, Sport and Limited trims are offered. Competitors include the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-9. The 2008 Highlander hits dealerships in July 2007.
The 2008 Highlander is sleeker than its predecessor and features smooth sides. It retains the upright D-pillar of the prior model and the liftgate — which can have optional power operation — can also have glass that opens independently. Standard wheels measure 17 inches in diameter, but 19-inch wheels are available.
The 2008 Highlander is about 4 inches longer, 3 inches wider and an inch taller than the outgoing model. Ground clearance measures 8.1 inches.
The Highlander has front bucket seats and sliding and reclining second-row captain's chairs that can be configured to handle three people with Toyota's Center Stow seat. The Center Stow seat provides decent comfort and can be removed and stored when not needed. Seven-seat Highlanders have a two-person third-row seat that can fold flat into the floor.
Optional features include Smart Start and Entry keyless access, a navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system with a flip-down 9-inch screen, leather-covered seats and a six-CD JBL stereo.
Under the Hood
The Highlander is powered by a 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine that teams with a five-speed automatic transmission. Front- and four-wheel-drive models are offered, and the Highlander has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds with the optional tow package.
Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags for all three rows of seats, a knee airbag for the driver, active head restraints and an electronic stability system are standard.
Measures to enhance the safety of those outside the Highlander include an optional rearview camera. Toyota also says the hood and front fenders are made to buckle if a pedestrian is struck, in order to dissipate collision energy.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Kelsey Mays||Cars.com National||August 8, 2007|
|Mike Hanley||Cars.com National||April 25, 2007|
|G. Chambers Williams III||Star-Telegram.com||June 21, 2008|
|Sara Lacey||Mother Proof||March 24, 2008|
|Colette Fischer||Mother Proof||August 21, 2007|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||August 12, 2007|
|G. Chambers Williams III||Star-Telegram.com||July 5, 2007|
|Scott Burgess||The Detroit Newspapers||July 4, 2007|
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