• (4.4) 22 reviews
  • Available Prices: $3,658–$9,422
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 20-24
  • Engine: 155-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
  • Seats: 5
2002 Toyota Highlander

Our Take on the Latest Model 2002 Toyota Highlander

2002 Toyota Highlander Reviews

Vehicle Overview
Introduced early in 2001, the car-based Highlander is the newest of Toyota’s sport utility vehicles. It’s the fifth member of Toyota’s SUV lineup. Though structurally related to the Lexus RX 300, the Highlander is a little larger and has a different squared-off appearance. Fender creases are prominent, and fewer features are standard than on the RX 300, which costs considerably more. Both models are offered with front-drive or all-wheel drive.

Due to its debut after the 2001 model year began, changes are few for 2002. They include a new standard console, rear-seat armrest and cabin air filter. Slightly longer and 5 inches wider than the truck-based 4Runner, the Highlander promises SUV versatility along with carlike ride and handling. Toyota expects to sell about 70,000 units annually, the vast majority with V-6 power.

Despite the styling differences between the Highlander and RX 300, the two models share the same, basic design. The Highlander rides a 106.9-inch wheelbase and is 184.4 inches long overall — 4 inches longer in both dimensions than the RX 300. Fitted with a rear liftgate, the four-door SUV is 71.5 inches wide and just over 66 inches tall. In addition to prominent fender creases, the Highlander features squared-off styling instead of slanted roof pillars found on the RX 300.

Seating for five occupants includes two front buckets and a split rear bench that holds three and folds down. The automatic transmission lever mounts at an odd angle below the dashboard, which is actually a convenient location. The Highlander and RX 300 dashboards are similar in layout, but the Highlander’s has different audio and climate controls.

Under the Hood
Both the 155-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and the 220-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 were borrowed from the Camry sedan and team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. The Highlander is available with front-wheel drive or permanently engaged all-wheel drive, which has no Low range. Three different automatic transmissions are used, depending on the engine type. A limited-slip rear differential is optional.

Antilock brakes and Brake Assist are standard. Options include seat-mounted side-impact airbags and Vehicle Skid Control, Toyota’s electronic stability system.

Driving Impressions
An exceptionally smooth ride coupled with confident and capable handling are high points of the Highlander picture. Seldom does this SUV lose its composure, even when the pavement gets somewhat rough. Body lean is minimal in fairly tight curves — within reason. All told, the Highlander is extremely easy to drive, with just the right steering feel and a balanced sensation on the highway.

Though acceleration is strong from a standstill, an extra push on the pedal may be needed at midrange speeds, which can produce some awkwardness or unpleasant noise at times. Inside, similarities to the RX 300 are more evident, led by the console-mounted gearshift lever.


Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2002 Buying Guide

Consumer Reviews


Average based on 22 reviews

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Most comfortable, reliable car!

by Mrs E from Springfield mo on August 16, 2017

This car was the perfect example of Lincoln Town Car quality. We had over 150,000 before even minor repairs were needed. No other car even come close to comfort and ease of driving. The ride was smoot... Read Full Review

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6 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2002 Toyota Highlander trim comparison will help you decide.

Toyota Highlander Articles

2002 Toyota Highlander Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports


There are currently 2 recalls for this car.

Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $5,000 per year.

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