Toyota is the automaking powerhouse of Asia and has earned a global following thanks to its proven record of reliability and quality vehicles.
The Company continues to invest in staying in step with its European and American competitors, spending over $1 million every hour on research and development. This has yielded numerous successes, such as the world's first 7-cylinder swash plate type variable displacement compressor (7SB), or the introduction of the Prius in 1997.
Toyota continues to gain momentum into the US and other markets in the Americas. The Highlander is part of that success, competing well against the likes of the Hyundai Palisade, Honda Pilot and Kia Telluride
A glimpse at Toyota Highlander Sales data [USA]:
- Average sales since launch : 80 000 – 200 000 per annum
- Highlander Sales in 2022 year to date: 202 558 as at 31 November
- Previous full year sales: 264 128
- Toyota total revenue in 2021: $276.57 billion
- Toyota Highlander Price: starts at $35000 MSRP but can reach almost $50,000 when loaded
The history of Highlander sales
The Toyota Highlander originally came out on the same platform as the Lexus RX, it’s luxury cousin. It offered both front wheel drive and all wheel drive options, aiming for on-road comfort combined with off-road capability.
This first-generation Highlander started selling in 2001 and has seen 4 generations since then.
- 2001 – 2007 (1st Generation)
- 2008 – 2013 (2nd Generation)
- 2014 – 2019 (3rd Generation)
- 2020 – date (4th Generation)
The biggest development during the first generation was the introduction of the hybrid model Highlander in 2005. It was the first 7 seat hybrid vehicle in the US. Although this contributed to long term sales, the immediate sales benefit didn’t materialise.
The second-generation Highlander launched in 2008. Interestingly this model was not sold in Toyota’s home country, Japan.
It took buyers a while to warm to this generation with sales only reaching 2007 levels in 2013. Part of this could be attributed to lack of imagination in updating the trims and the price point relative to the features ( aside from being a hybrid).
Generation 3 came online in 2013 and started stimulating sales almost immediately. It was both longer and wider than its predecessor and it moved away from its box shape to a more sleek SUV look.
The extra space meant the Highlander could now accommodate up to 8 passengers which widened its appeal. Generation 3 also took care to modernise the media centre to include touchscreen as standard and improvements to Bluetooth and radio technology.
The fourth and most recent generation of Highlander debuted in the US in April 2019. It has been built to create even more cargo space. While the US market was offered gasoline and hybrid models, the European market only received the hybrid model.
Right hand drive models for the UK market only became available in 2021. Similarly, the Chinese and Australian markets only received stock of the “Kluger” (as it is known there) in 2021. The Highlanders have done reasonably well in China and Australia. Their global appeal is a testament to its versatility.
Toyota Highlander buyers cite the following top reasons for choosing the Highlander:
- Exterior Styling
- Drive Dynamics
- Safety and Visibility
- Interior Design
Critics have also cited the hybrid’s fuel efficiency as a selling point. They point out that there is still daylight between the Toyota Highlander and other three row family SUV’s when it comes to features. Cars.com reviews score the Highlander a 4.2 out of 5, while caranddriver.com gives it a 8/10.
Reliability and Safety
Consistent high sales figures for the Toyota Highlander are a sure indicator of general consumer satisfaction, something that is also borne out in a large number of consumer reports. There's little doubt that it is one of Toyota’s most reliable vehicles.
The Highlander was awarded a “great” rating from J.D. Power, an assessment that concluded that it had fewer problems than most SUVs. Meanwhile Withclutch rated the Highlanders reliability at an impressive 86.15, against a 57 average for other SUV's. RepairPal rated it 4 out of 5, placing it 7th out of 26 other rated SUVs.
Reliability implies durability and the Highlander is certainly among the most durable vehicles on the road, with numerous reports of individual vehicles clocking up in excess of 300 000 miles without major maintenance and replacement issues. That said, if you're looking for a dependable used Highlander, there are a few years to avoid according to industry consensus: 2003, 2004, 2014 and 2015. Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 system was introduced as standard in 2022. Safety tools include active safety systems such as automatic braking in certain circumstances, forward collision warning, and lane safe assistance. Other features, such as Blind Spot protection are optional.