Trucks & SUVs

The 2015 Toyota Highlander Is a Great 3-Row SUV for Under $20,000

SUVs are often a great choice, especially for larger families or anyone who needs a significant amount of cargo space. However, new SUVs can get expensive quickly. With a little research, a savvy shopper can generally find a used SUV that will meet their needs at a significantly lower cost than buying new.

The 2015 Toyota Highlander might be one of your best bets for a used SUV, according to Kelley Blue Book, who ranked the vehicle as No. 1 on its list of 10 Best Used Three-Row SUVs Under $20,000.

Why did the 2015 Toyota Highlander top the list?

Related: It’s Hard to Go Wrong With a Used Toyota Highlander

Kelley Blue Book praises the 2015 Toyota Highlander’s fuel efficiency and reliability. It is also impressively spacious, seating up to eight passengers in its comfortable cabin. 

In addition to these advantages, the Highlander is immensely versatile and will likely appeal to many people. These factors, combined with the fact that the Highlander has an abundance of great safety features, led Kelley Blue Book to call this vehicle “a good place to start your search” for a high quality used SUV.

Specs and advantages of the Highlander

The base 2015 Toyota Highlander comes with a 2.7-liter I4 that makes 185 hp. According to Kelley Blue Book it gets an estimated 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway. However, if possible, Kelley Blue Book recommends going with the optional 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 270 hp, stating that it is more powerful than the I4 while still achieving a very similar fuel economy.

This used SUV can range in price greatly depend on different factors like milage. According to Consumer Reports, the price typically ranges from $17,650 – $25,425. This means if that if your budget is a strict $20,000, you might have to do a little shopping around.

Reviewers note the Highlander’s incredibly comfortable seats and intuitive controls, as well as the enormous center console that offers high amounts of storage space, ideal for large families.

The Highlander has many excellent features, but two, in particular, stand out: the in-dash shelf, which holds a smartphone and helps you easily manage cables, and the flip-up rear hatch window, which provides more convenient access to the rear of the car.

Standard features include a rearview camera, a 6.1-inch touch screen, and voice recognition. The Highlander also boasts a decent number of standard safety features, including anti-lock brakes with brake assist and stability/traction control. It is an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

If you’re willing to spend a little more money, the Highlander has a wide selection of convenient optional features. These include dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure warning, a heated steering wheel, and a panoramic moonroof. The Highlander also offers Driver Easy Speak, which amplifies the driver’s voice to help passengers hear from the third row.

Finally, Kelley Blue Book praises the quiet cabin and convenient size of the Highlander. It is well-proportioned, making it easy to maneuver in tight spaces.

Where the Toyota Highlander falls short

RELATED: The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s Weaker Engine Is Actually a Major Plus

Ironically, one of the biggest cons of the 2015 Toyota Highlander is its popularity. For anyone who wants a more unique vehicle, opting for such a familiar and common SUV might be less than appealing.

The Highlander may also not be the right choice for drivers who plan to do a significant amount of off-roading or towing. While it is well-equipped to handle various road surfaces and some simple trails, this SUV will struggle with anything too extreme or adventurous. If you plan on towing more than 5,000 pounds, a more powerful vehicle will likely be a better option.

Despite these minor downsides, though, the 2015 Toyota Highlander will likely appeal to many people shopping for high quality used SUVs. Its comfortable cabin, reliability, and abundance of standard and optional features definitely make this vehicle stand out.