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Do you want a midsize SUV with high-level dependability? Honda has an esteemed history of reliability, including with the Pilot. Also, the Ford Explorer has been running strong for over three decades. However, a new study shows the most reliable midsize SUV is neither of those models. It’s the Toyota Highlander.

The Toyota Highlander is the most reliable midsize SUV according to owner surveys

A green 2023 Toyota Highlander, the most reliable midsize SUV, J.D. Power says
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

There are many factors to consider when choosing a midsize SUV. One of the most important is reliability. A reliable SUV translates to fewer and less severe repairs, lowering vehicle ownership costs. There’s also the peace of mind of dependably arriving at a destination. Other benefits include longevity, safety, and optimal performance.

And for midsize SUV reliability, the best choice isn’t the Honda Pilot or the Ford Explorer, according to a new study. The most reliable midsize SUV is the Toyota Highlander. 

This honor for the Highlander is based on the 2023 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, which highlights the most reliable models in each vehicle segment. The Highlander earned the top spot among midsize SUVs. Meanwhile, the Kia Sorento placed second, and the Toyota 4Runner placed third. Neither the Honda Pilot nor the Ford Explorer appears on the list.

Owners reported very few problems with the Toyota Highlander

Red seats in 2023 Toyota Highlander, most reliable midsize SUV, says J.D. Power, not Honda Pilot or Ford Explorer
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

J.D. Power named the Toyota Highlander the most reliable midsize SUV because it performed well in the 2023 Vehicle Dependability Study. The data analytics company collected thousands of surveys of owners of 2020 model-year vehicles during the previous 12 months. 

For these surveys, owners identified various problem areas. They include the powertrain, exterior, interior, driving experience, driving assistance, features, controls, seats, climate system, and infotainment.

The Highlander had fewer issues in these problem areas than other midsize SUVs, including the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer. So J.D. Power named the Toyota midsize SUV the most reliable in its class.

However, this award is not surprising, given Toyota’s reputation for high-level reliability. Along with the Highlander and 4Runner, J.D. Power honored other Toyota models for dependability. The C-HR is the top model in the subcompact SUV segment and the most reliable car for all model types.

Toyota also scored first-place honors with the Tacoma midsize pickup truck and the Sienna minivan. In addition, the Tundra was named the second most reliable full-size pickup truck, while the Corolla placed second in the compact car class. 

What’s new for the 2023 Highlander?

The 2023 Toyota Highlander has several notable changes for the new model year. They include a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine, which makes 265 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque. While the new engine has a 30-hp drop compared to the outgoing V6, its torque is a 46 lb-ft increase. Also, it gets slightly better combined gas mileage (25 mpg versus 24 mpg).

Additionally, the 2023 Highlander sees feature upgrades across the lineup. They include newly standard dual 12.3-inch multi-information display screens and power-folding exterior mirrors for the Platinum and Limited trims. Plus, the XSE and XLE trims add a hands-free power liftgate.

Furthermore, Toyota moved the wireless smartphone charger to the instrument panel shelf for easier access. Also, the Highlander offers a new exterior color: Cypress.

The Toyota Highlander is a midsize SUV with outstanding reliability. It beats all other midsize SUVs in the J.D. Power dependability study, including the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer.