Consumer Reports: 3 Best Years for the Toyota Highlander

Toyota makes some interesting and reliable SUVs, one of which is the Highlander. Since there are many variations of the Toyota Highlander on the market, which ones are the best to buy right now? The 2013, 2015, and 2020 years all have high reliability ratings from Consumer Reports. In addition, these SUVs offer high safety ratings to keep drivers safe.

The 2013 Toyota Highlander is a reliable used SUV

A red Toyota Highlander on display
The Toyota Highlander SUV is a reliable pick | John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The 2013 Toyota Highlander might be harder to find, but it also might be worth the effort. Consumer Reports says the price for one today lingers between $14,200 and $17,925. The reliability score received a full five out of five, while the owner satisfaction received a four out of five.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) scored most of the categories four out of five stars. Areas like the overall side-crash ratings received the full five out of five stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the front-moderate overlap and side crash sections the rating of “good.”

There are three open recalls for this year. The first one relates to the seats not locking into the track properly. An inaccurate label might result in drivers overloading the vehicle at the risk of a tire failure. The last but most important recall is concerning the front passenger airbags. The passenger seat occupant sensing system could be out of calibration and result in the airbag not deploying properly.

If you have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you can enter it into the Recall Look-up box to check for unrepaired recalls.

The 2015 Highlander is a reliable SUV

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In 2015, the Highlander was the SUV to get. The price of this SUV is around $18,900 to $25,325, depending on the mileage. The reliability score received the same five out of five, while the owner satisfaction received a four out of five. Some of the optional safety features are forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and anti-lock brakes.

The IIHS rated the side crash, rear crash, roof crash, and front moderate overlap as “good.” The front small driver and passenger overlap both received a slightly lesser score of “acceptable.” From the NHTSA, the overall crash rating was five stars. Only two areas, overall frontal-crash and roll over for the four-wheel-drive model received a score of four stars.

There are only two recalls for the 2015 year. The electrical system might be damaged and result in the engine stalling. There is another recall about a sudden loss of steering from the steering wheel. Both of these can result in a crash if not fixed in a timely fashion.

A newer option in the 2020 year model

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The 2020 Toyota SUV received a reliability score of four out of five, while the owner satisfaction received the same score. Since this is a newer vehicle, it has more standard safety features than the other listed years. Automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning are all standard. Since this is a relatively new model, the price is a bit higher. Consumer Reports offers a price of anywhere between $33,625 and $46,075.

All of the IIHS ratings for crash testing were rated as “good.” The overall frontal crash rating only received four stars and both the driver and passenger side ratings.

The 2020 Highlander has two recalls. An improperly mounted seat airbag could result in an injury should a crash occur. The second is related to the fuel systems. The fuel supply system might be improperly programmed, resulting in a crash if the vehicle stalls.

Overall, any of these options are a sound choice. If you find a 2020 Highlander, it might even have some time left on the warranty. If you happen upon a higher mileage Highlander, be sure to get it inspected before buying. That way, you can know what repairs might be down the line.