Crossover & Midsize

Toyota Highlander: The 1 Stat That Reveals Everything You Need to Know

Some folks will buy an SUV for its interior. Other folks are looking for practicality in their SUVs. Others want a powerful and fast SUV. But no matter how you phrase it, there’s only one stat that ultimately matters when you’re looking for an SUV to buy, and that’s owner satisfaction. Here’s why the Toyota Highlander is one of the most beloved SUVs out there.

What other sites say

The 2020 Toyota Highlander at the 2019 New York International Auto Show
The 2020 Toyota Highlander | Xinhua/Wang Ying via Getty Images

While ultimately, owner satisfaction is the only stat that truly matters, it’s also important to know what other car review sites think about the Highlander to give it some context. For example, U.S. News only gave the Highlander an 8.2 out of 10 score. U.S. News praised the Highlander for its safety and reliability, two traits that can be expected from any Toyota. 

However, U.S. News gave mediocre scores to the Highlander for its performance and its interior. In those categories, U.S. News only gave the Highlander a 6.9 out of 10 and a 7.4 out of 10, respectively. These middling grades ultimately makes the Highlander seem like a worse SUV than its owners actually think it is. 

What Highlander owners actually think

As CarFax reported, the Highlander is tied for third place in terms of its owner satisfaction rating among every other vehicle on the market. CarFax says that owners gave the Highlander a 96 out of 100. Funny enough, the Highlander was tied with two other Toyota models for third place in terms of owner satisfaction, the Toyota Yaris and the Avalon.

This high satisfaction for Toyota’s vehicles is a recurring trend in CarFax’s list of the cars with the highest owner satisfaction rating. In fact, 6 of the 10 cars with the highest owner satisfaction rating are Toyota models.

The only two cars that had a higher owner satisfaction rating than the Highlander were both Subaru vehicles. The Forester took second place and the Outback took first place. Still, a 96 out of 100 score for owner satisfaction is a great grade to have. On top of that, this high grade shows that SUV owners love the Highlander far more than every other SUV on the market that isn’t a Subaru. 

For reference, popular SUVs from other automakers, like the Ford Explorer or the Chevy Blazer, failed to make CarFax’s list at all. This makes a lot of sense, as the Explorer has been a problematic SUV that’s plagued its owners with problems. But it also shows that the Highlander has been the complete opposite of that. 

A history of satisfaction 

While not many people use CarFax’s rating feature, the Highlander has consistently received good ratings from its owners throughout the years. Not a single model year of the Highlander, according to CarFax, has had a rating that was below 4 out of 5 stars. 

Consumer Reports, which said that the Highlander was the fifth-best SUV in its segment, has similar thoughts about the Highlander. Throughout the multiple redesigns and over 20 model years of the Highlander, not a single one of them had an owner satisfaction rating that was below 4 out of 5 stars.

The Highlander’s ability to maintain such a high owner satisfaction rating for so long is proof that regular people simply love it. Toyota has its fans, and they certainly love the Highlander too, but this consistently high owner satisfaction rating means that non-Toyota fans also love the Highlander. 

This vote of confidence by the owners of the Highlander also shows that Toyota has once again made a car that is safe, reliable, and of high quality. The Highlander may not be the fastest SUV on the market nor is it the most futuristic, but its owners are definitely extremely satisfied with what they’ve bought, and that’s what matters most.