The Toyota Highlander Doesn’t Even Crack the Top 5 for Reliability

Toyota is well-known for its reputation of reliability, resale value, and dependability. If you’re hanging your hat on these qualities, you expect Toyota SUV models at the very top of every list. Unfortunately, the Toyota Highlander doesn’t even reach the top for reliability.

Which midsize SUVs outrank the Toyota Highlander for reliability?

Front angle view of green 2023 Toyota Higlander Hybrid midsize SUV
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid | Toyota

We turn to RepairPal to tell us the most reliable midsize SUVs. The top ten models listed are:

  • Mazda CX-5
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Toyota Venza (First Generation)
  • Hyundai Veracruz
  • Mitsubishi Endeavor
  • Dodge Journey
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Dodge Nitro
  • Toyota 4Runner
  • Subaru Outback

Vehicles included in these ratings cover the 2010-2019 model years. Instead of a predicted reliability rating, which is all you can have with current model-year vehicles, RepairPal offers actual data to support its ratings.

As you can see, a few of the models in the top ten are no longer produced, but the Toyota Highlander is in the seventh position for reliability. While that’s not too shabby, you’ll be sorely disappointed if you expect a Toyota to hit the top of the list.

Where does the 2023 Toyota Highlander fall for an overall score?

A white 2023 Toyota Highlander midsize SUV is driving on the road.
The 2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

To find out where the Highlander ranks in the midsize SUV class, we turn to U.S. News & World Report. The rankings given are an overall grade for these SUVs. Unfortunately, we can’t offer only the top ten to show the Highlander; we have to go much further, as you can see below.

U.S. News Best Midsize SUVs for 2023

  • Kia Telluride
  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee L
  • Mazda CX-9
  • Honda Passport
  • Honda Pilot
  • Buick Enclave
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Kia Sorento
  • Subaru Ascent
  • Volkswagen Atlas
  • Ford Edge
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Dodge Durango

Although the Highlander appears to be in the 16th spot, it actually ties with the Pathfinder and Edge for the 14th position. Still, that’s not where you expect to see any Toyota SUV models.

Consumer Reports has the 2023 Toyota Highlander ranked higher than RepairPal and U.S. News. On the CR list, the Highlander Hybrid comes in second, and the regular Highlander takes the third spot for midsize SUVs with three rows.

What are the most common problems with the Toyota Highlander?

A red Toyota Highlander Hybrid corners hard on a back road using its AWD system.
2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid | Toyota

RepairPal also offers the most common problems faced by any vehicle. For the Toyota Highlander, these are:

  • Massive oil leak and loss of oil pressure
  • Airbag light due to a problematic center airbag sensor
  • Check engine light due to hose off of air filter housing

Although only a few owners reported these problems, they can still be serious issues for some of these Toyota SUV models.

Is the 2023 Toyota Highlander worth buying?

Front view of blue 2023 Toyota Highlander, parked in a driveway
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The latest version of this Toyota midsize SUV features an upmarket cabin that’s spacious and comfortable in the first two rows. The updated infotainment system is useful and packed with excellent tech features. This is one of the smoothest-driving Toyota SUV models, giving you a pleasant ride on any road. Consumers searching for more savings in the Highlander should consider the hybrid model. This hybrid is one of the most efficient three-row SUVs offered.

The only drawbacks of this SUV are the loud droning sounds from the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine when it’s pushed hard and the cramped space in the third row.

Next, check out where Toyota ranks among the most reliable car brands, or learn more about the 2023 Toyota Highlander in this video below:


New 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander: 6 Cool Features