Toyota Highlander review

Category: Large SUV

Section: Costs & verdict

Toyota Highlander 2021 infotainment
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 front
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 rear cornering
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 dashboard
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 rear seats
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 infotainment
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 rear right tracking
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 right tracking
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 alloy wheel
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 left static boot open
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 interior front seats
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 interior rear seats
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 boot open
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 front
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 rear cornering
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 dashboard
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 rear seats
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 infotainment
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 rear right tracking
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 right tracking
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 alloy wheel
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 left static boot open
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 interior front seats
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 interior rear seats
  • Toyota Highlander 2021 boot open
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Here’s where it all starts to go wrong for the Toyota Highlander. You see, even the cheaper of the two trim levels (called Excel) is priced way above the most expensive hybrid versions of the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento. The Peugeot 5008 is massively cheaper to buy too. 

That wouldn't be such a deal-breaker if the Highlander held on to its value exceptionally well, but it's actually predicted to depreciate more quickly than its two Korean rivals. Compared with those cars – and the 5008 – the Highlander is also astronomically expensive to buy on PCP finance.

Range-topping Excel Premium trim just adds some fancier alloy wheels, a head-up display, ventilated front seats and gesture control for the tailgate, but only makes the Highlander seem even more optimistically priced.

We don’t yet have any reliability data for the Highlander (it's too new), but Toyota finished an impressive third (out of 31 brands) in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey. Even if something does go wrong, there's a five-year (100,000-mile) standard warranty to fall back on.

You get plenty of safety technology, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert to warn of approaching dangers as you reverse. Euro NCAP is yet to crash test the Highlander, though.

Toyota Highlander 2021 infotainment

Overview

The Highlander isn’t a bad car. It’s relatively frugal for something so big, offers seating for seven – albeit with limited head room – and should prove reliable. Sadly, one thing makes it very hard for us to recommend: Toyota’s pricing. It isn’t nearly good enough to wear the price tag it does, and it’s also astronomically expensive for those buying on PCP finance.

  • Lots of kit
  • Huge boot
  • Should prove reliable
  • Way too expensive
  • Head room could be better
  • Wallowy handling