2024 Update: Best and Worst Toyota Highlander Years

best and worst toyota highlander years

The Toyota Highlander is a popular midsize SUV that has been in production since 2001. Over the years, Toyota has made several updates and changes to the Highlander, resulting in some model years being better than others. In this article, we will take a closer look at the best and worst Toyota Highlander years, updated for 2023.

For those in the market for a used Highlander, knowing which model years to avoid and which ones are worth considering can be helpful. Factors such as reliability, safety, and performance can vary between model years, so it’s important to do your research before making a purchase. This article will provide an overview of the best and worst Highlander years based on expert reviews, owner feedback, and industry data.

Best Toyota Highlander Years

When it comes to the best Toyota Highlander years, there are a few standout models that have consistently received praise from industry experts and customers alike. Here are some of the top-performing years for the Toyota Highlander:

2017 Toyota Highlander

The 2017 Toyota Highlander is a midsize SUV that offers a smooth ride, spacious interior, and excellent safety ratings. It comes with a standard 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine, but there’s also an available V6 engine that delivers more power. The Highlander’s cabin is well-built and features plenty of high-quality materials, making it a comfortable and inviting place to spend time.

2019 Toyota Highlander

The 2019 Toyota Highlander is another great option for those in the market for a midsize SUV. It offers a roomy and comfortable cabin, a smooth ride, and a long list of standard safety features. The Highlander comes standard with a 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine, but there’s also an available V6 engine that provides more power. Overall, the 2019 Highlander is a well-rounded SUV that’s worth considering.

2021 Toyota Highlander

The 2021 Toyota Highlander is a top-performing SUV that offers a comfortable ride, spacious cabin, and impressive fuel economy. It comes standard with a 295-horsepower V6 engine, which provides plenty of power for most driving situations. The Highlander’s cabin is well-designed and features high-quality materials, making it a comfortable and luxurious place to spend time.

Worst Toyota Highlander Years

When it comes to the worst Toyota Highlander years, several model years stand out due to various issues and problems. Here are some of the worst Toyota Highlander years to avoid.

2014 Toyota Highlander

The 2014 Toyota Highlander is one of the worst model years of the Highlander due to several issues. According to industry reviews, this model year has a poor reliability rating and has several complaints about its transmission and engine performance. The Highlander’s handling and steering also leave a lot to be desired, making it difficult to maneuver on the road.

2015 Toyota Highlander

The 2015 Toyota Highlander is another model year that should be avoided. Like the 2014 model, the 2015 Highlander has a poor reliability rating and several complaints about its transmission and engine performance. Additionally, this model year has several complaints about its electrical system, which can cause various issues with the vehicle’s electronics.

2016 Toyota Highlander

While the 2016 Toyota Highlander is not as bad as the 2014 and 2015 models, it still has several issues that make it one of the worst Highlander years. One of the main complaints about this model year is its poor fuel economy, which can be a significant issue for drivers who want to save money on gas. Additionally, the 2016 Highlander has several complaints about its transmission and engine performance, as well as its electrical system.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Toyota Highlander Year

When choosing a Toyota Highlander year, there are several factors to consider. Safety features, fuel efficiency, and technology features are some of the key considerations that can help you make an informed decision.

Safety Features

Safety is a top priority for most car buyers, and the Toyota Highlander has a reputation for being a safe vehicle. When choosing a Highlander year, it’s important to consider the safety features that come with each model. Some of the safety features to look for include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision warning
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Automatic emergency braking

The IIHS and NHTSA safety ratings can also be useful when comparing different Highlander years.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is another important consideration when choosing a Toyota Highlander year. The Highlander has a range of engine options, including hybrid models, that offer varying levels of fuel economy. Some of the Highlander years with the best fuel efficiency include:

  • 2022 Hybrid: 36 mpg combined
  • 2021 Hybrid: 36 mpg combined
  • 2020 Hybrid: 36 mpg combined
  • 2016 Hybrid: 28 mpg combined
  • 2014 Hybrid: 28 mpg combined

It’s important to note that fuel efficiency can vary depending on factors such as driving conditions and vehicle maintenance.

Technology Features

Finally, technology features can be an important consideration when choosing a Toyota Highlander year. Some of the technology features to look for include:

  • Infotainment system with touchscreen display
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Wireless charging
  • Navigation system
  • Premium audio system

It’s important to choose a Highlander year that has the technology features that are important to you, as these can significantly enhance your driving experience.


In conclusion, the Toyota Highlander has proven to be a reliable and popular SUV over the years. While there have been some model years that have had more issues than others, overall, the Highlander has maintained its reputation for quality and durability.

When looking at the best and worst years for the Highlander, it is clear that the 2017 and 2018 models are among the top choices for buyers. These years offer a great balance of features, reliability, and value, making them a smart choice for anyone in the market for a Highlander.

On the other hand, the 2008 and 2009 models are among the worst years for the Highlander. These years had a higher number of complaints and issues reported, particularly with transmission problems. While these models may be more affordable, buyers should be aware of the potential issues they may face.

Ultimately, the best year for the Toyota Highlander will depend on the individual buyer’s needs and preferences. By doing research and carefully considering factors such as budget, features, and reliability, buyers can make an informed decision and find the perfect Highlander for their needs.


How many passengers can the Toyota Highlander seat?

The Toyota Highlander can seat up to eight passengers, depending on the trim level and configuration. The base model can seat up to seven passengers, while higher trim levels can seat up to eight passengers.

Does the Toyota Highlander have third-row seating?

Yes, the Toyota Highlander has third-row seating in most of its trim levels. The base model has a second-row bench seat, which can accommodate up to eight passengers. Higher trim levels have captain’s chairs in the second row, which reduces the seating capacity to seven passengers.

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