Toyota Highlander
Toyota Highlander
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Toyota Highlander

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Last updated: April 17, 2018

73 Toyota Highlander Consumer Reviews and Complaints

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Verified Reviewer
Original review: April 17, 2018

Purchased 2018 SE Highlander. I have had Toyotas in the past and then went to Hondas for almost 16 years. Never an issue. The SE I just purchase that now has almost 2,000 miles on it has seats that look like they either have too much material or not enough padding. Even my friends ask me what is wrong with my seats. I took it to my dealer, Toyota of Louisville, and it was sent to an upholstery shop that they use. I was contacted and told they put more padding in where they could but many places couldn't be remedied as it "was just the characteristics of the seats." Now, this is not one of my seats, but 3 of them. The seats still look like they are missing padding. One seat was laid down for extra space when needed and it still has the indention in it from where it laid on the seat belt holder for less than 2 hours.

I was provided a loaner while this was being done and it was a 2017 Highlander XLE from Enterprise. The seats in this car looked much worse than mine but it had almost 10,000 miles on it. I took pictures of that car and mine and submitted to I was contacted and basically told they understood my concern but unless they received enough complaints, they couldn't really do anything about it. I stressed that an almost $40,000.00 vehicle should not have this issue but of course this person, who was very polite, was just the front runner to speak to and appease someone like myself to basically say they received my complaint, nothing will be done about it and was told that the problem won't be addressed or corrected unless they receive a large number of complaints and then it would be taken to a board for review.

My dealer's service department even told me that they couldn't put too much padding in the seats as it could affect the airbags. I should have gone with the Honda Pilot or Acura and will be trading my vehicle soon and will never, never, go back to Toyota. It is an obvious manufacturing defect but to Toyota, one person's voice is not heard as proven by my token response from Toyota. This problem could be easily corrected to meet the standards that this vehicle should have met before it was cleared to leave the factory line. Poor quality and honestly this shocks me from Toyota but guessing it is a sign of the times. I wonder if Consumer Reports would address this. I attached 2 pictures... The light blue/grey seat was of the rental 2017 XLE, the dark seat is just one of my 2018 SE Highlander.

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Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 21, 2018

I have owned many Toyota trucks and SUV's. I traded my Tundra in on a 2015 Highlander which I purchased in 2014. Drove for two years and loved it. No issues. I was up around 40k miles and my sales guy called and offered me a deal to trade it in and purchase a 2016 with 0% interest. I thought it was a good deal. I never make decisions on the spot but was a great deal so why not. I am one that takes very good care of my vehicles. I soon washed it and after lowering the driver side window down and then back up noticed the front third of the window was saturated. Like someone ran over it with a sponge. I immediately called the dealership and they replaced the felt but nothing changed. They also made sure the holes in the door were not plugged for drainage.

Dealership then called Toyota and they said they have not heard of the issue so there is no fix. I then called Toyota directly to which I ended up setting an appointment with the district engineer at my local dealership. Let me back up and say this never happened on any of my previous Toyotas or the 2015 Highlander. No other windows on this vehicle have an issue. I have friends that own 2016 and newer Highlanders and they don't have a problem. I was told by the district engineer that my issue is normal. We went around and around for 30 minutes before I gave up furious.

How could this be normal??? If it sits in the garage for days it will still be wet. I called Toyota back asking what were my options next and basically was told the engineer's answer was the final say. I am beyond disappointed in the lack of customer service from Toyota as I purchased Toyotas thinking they make solid products and stand behind them. Well the illusion is gone. I am so disappointed as I do like the Highlander but I am not happy living with the wet window every time I roll it down and up after washing it or it rains. Wish I could afford to get a new vehicle.

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3 people found this review helpful
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 6, 2018

There is a vibration noise in this vehicle at all times. My husband drives this and he has hearing issues (never hears off the turn signal). I hear it all the time. Found out the dealer let the car off the lot with 44 lbs of pressure in all the tires. Remedied that, but the vibration is still there. This is the vehicle we use for traveling and now WE WON’T. I want to jump out of the car. I can’t take it. How much time and money do you want to waste trying to fix this problem??? Pass up the Highlander.

7 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 23, 2018

When I drive in slush or snow all four door sills of my 2017 Sport Highlander fill solid with inches of slush. The door panel wraps around the bottom of the vehicle, so the whole area is packed with snow. Pant legs get covered in dirt when entering or exiting the vehicle. Took it to London, Ont Toyota town where I bought it. Was told there is a design fault in the vehicle, just like in the Lexus, there is nothing they can do but send a note to Toyota Canada. I asked about extra rust protection or something, as the salt and water sitting trapped in there is a concern. Service manager said it is protected by paint like the outside of the vehicle. If you drive on wet or snow covered roads DO NOT buy this vehicle!!

7 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 10, 2018

I bought a 2017 Toyota Highlander XLE Hybrid. So far I made over 6000 miles. I have 3 things to share: 1) Gas mileage! One can never get the specified 29 MPG (city), 28 MPG (hwy). In reality one can average, at best, 24 MPG (combined). I complained to Toyota and they concluded that I push the brake pedal and then the gas pedal too often. Stupid!!! I live in DC, the stop signs are everywhere, the traffic is bumper-to-bumper. Isn't the hybrid suppose to take advantage of the braking?! Why I paid the premium for a hybrid?

2) Navigation! It is old, slow, stupid... Worse than your 1995 GPS display that you used to stick to the dashboard. If you do not select "toll roads" it sends you somewhere and you would get lost. If you select "toll roads" it especially starts looking to toll roads and does not show the other ones. Also, I live in DC, not somewhere in the bush! But it hardly can find that way to my home, or to my office. Always sends me to some weird roads that I would never go. It selects 3 road options, and all 3 are weird! OK, DC is maybe too complex for this device! But I drove to Florida, mostly on I-95. Same thing, it lost me several times. In overall, the navigation system is useless, altogether. Use your Google Map.

3) I could not understand how this emergency brake system operates. Several times the car almost hit the car in front of me with no sense that there is a car ahead. Sometimes it suddenly starts beeping, but mostly when the distance is safe. I also think that this option is useless. In general I think that the Highlander XLE Hybrid is a LEMON.

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15 people found this review helpful
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 3, 2018

I purchased a brand new Toyota Highlander 2017 and I'm very displeased the way the vehicle makes noise inside like an old car. Sounds like something is loose. Not tight. Maybe it's in the cargo space or even the third row. What can I do.

36 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Dec. 20, 2017 Looking at Toyota's website (and brochures), you would come away with the conclusion that a properly equipped 2017 or 2018 Toyota Highlander would be a great vehicle to pull a small Recreational Vehicle (RV) trailer up to 5000 lbs. But, not so fast as that interpretation appears to be wrong.

OK, the user manual states that the Highlander requires any trailer over 1000 lbs to have trailer service brakes... So far so good... RV's all have electric brakes which means that the Highlander would need a brake controller... Still sounding doable as that's exactly what was done with earlier model Highlanders.

However, just wire up any brake controller in the standard way all brake controllers are wired in vehicles that are not pre-wired and you will be severely disappointed as the Highlander will display "Pre-Collision System Malfunction" when you press the manual switch on the brake controller. Ask Toyota for advice and you find a company unwilling to offer any concrete recommendations. Instead they make random irrelevant assertions like "get a trailer with surge brakes" (no RV trailers have surge brakes, that is for rental utility trailers) or "why didn't you buy a Tundra or 4Runner".

My opinion is that it is unrealistic to expect the brake controller manufacturers to understand the complexities of Toyota’s Pre-Collision System even if they were given access to the engineering design artifacts; thus, I believe that the burden should be on Toyota to provide a recommendation on a path forward. If Toyota is not willing to provide the necessary support needed to resolve how a Highlander should be wired for a brake controller, then their advertising is very misleading.

(Note: Models prior to 2017 do not have this issue because they don't have a Pre-Collision System).

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13 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 27, 2017

We are in a touch and go traffic on a normal street, car ahead of us, moved and we followed. As soon as the car stopped (suddenly), I was trying to stop, but the Collision avoidance system kicked in, took control of my brakes, but the car didn't stop, This happened at around 10-15 mph speed, ended up rear-ending the car and now dealing with my first accident ever. I called Toyota immediately, but it was Thanksgiving time, so office was closed. I called today and gave them a very clear explanation of what exactly happened. They are looking into this and said someone from Toyota will call me and talk about the next steps. The whole point of buying a brand new 2017 Toyota Highlander SUV loaded with safety features is because you don't want to deal with these kind of headaches, but the car didn't stop when it mattered or didn't let me stop. Both are worse. I hope Toyota fixes the problem and also takes care of the damage occurred to my car.

38 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 6, 2017

We have a 2010 Highlander model and take care of our vehicle with regular maintenance and recommended follow up visits. The car has served us very well; the materials are long-lasting; the only problem we had was that over the years [16] the headlights looked dull and took away from the presentation. We replaced them buying headlights online and having a street mechanic install. Voila! The car not only runs very well but now looks exceptional.

12 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 1, 2017

My Highlander satisfaction does not yet match that of my 1999 4Runner but still solid. I've 2 episodes over the last 6 months with the car overheating and needing coolant refills. 3 days ago I was leaving for church only to see a pool of antifreeze under my car. I refilled and drove it to NTB yesterday. I was told there was a crack in the radiator so I paid $850 to have the radiator replaced. So far the car is working fine. I just don't understand why a 2015 highlander with 46,000 miles should need to have its radiator replaced.

My 4Runner has 217,000 miles and has very few problems. I expect great parts quality out of Toyota, but in this case I believe there may be a defect. The car has not had any accidents except for minor parking lot backup damage over a year ago. Also, quick access for shops to aftermarket replacement radiators does not seem to exist for such a low mile Toyota, so they have to use Genuine replacement parts which in this case was nearly 4 times the cost of an aftermarket equivalent.

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17 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 30, 2017

It's great on gas, the body is strong and the engine is great. As for the tranny, one can't feel it shift. Its air condition and heat is wonderful. Overall, it's a great SUV.

15 people found this review helpful
Original review: June 16, 2017

In 2015 I purchased a 2014 Highlander and began having electrical problems from day 1. The back hatch wasn't working and soon began having dead battery problems. I then had steering wheel problems. The wheel would jerk back and forth as if it was locking up. The dealer replaced the battery about three times in a year and half time frame. I finally dropped the vehicle off and told them I didn't want it back until it was fixed. I didn't feel safe in it and certainly could not trust it on long distant trips. I was told it had to be locked up because things were still running after it was turned off.

In a year and half the vehicle had 3 batteries. I was told sorry but it doesn't do it when we test drive it. Fortunately the owner of the dealership drove it and felt the steering wheel problems. I guess after so many times a vehicle comes in they can get the "big boys' help." So at some point a technician came from Los Angeles and the computer that controls the steering wheel was replaced. I was told the vehicle has six computers in it. That problem was solved and soon I was having radio problems. It would cut off and on.

Once again I was back and forth with all the same stories. They don't want to replace radios or computers because they are so expensive. Feeling I had little recourse in 2016 I traded it for a 2015 Highlander. I wouldn't sell it locally, not wanting to pass problems on to someone else. The CarFax reports showed service every 3 months, so that would be a red flag to another dealer.

Now I am having similar problems with it. Five months ago I had a dead battery. The dealer said it was the connector terminals on the battery. So those and the battery were replaced. Now a second dead battery and they "think" it's the switch. Another band aid fix. I've had the radio cutting on and off like the last one. When the battery goes dead I no longer charge and drive it in. I use my Toyota roadside service and have it towed in. So they always get it dead, and can't say it doesn't do it here! I was told that depending on your drive time the battery is probably dead.

They even said "we start our vehicles on the lot everyday." Really? Good for you. Shouldn't a person expect a vehicle to start if you leave it at an airport for a week! We also have a 2001 Toyota Camry and have been really pleased with it. But now with 130,000 miles on it is also at the dealership for a valve repair/replacement. It's been there for 2 months and still don't have it back. I think 3 lemons are unreasonable.

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27 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 20, 2017

We have a 2012 Toyota Highlander. The radio cuts out intermittently. Our dealership doesn't know what the problem is and so they are calling it an internal failure. Lots of $$$ for a new one. As I read reviews it seems there are a lot of problems with the radios Toyota is installing in their vehicles. When does it become their responsibility to replace faulty equipment. Toyota used to be a better company.

25 people found this review helpful
Original review: April 30, 2017

Toyota Highlander 2013-For the second time my breaks failed, the first time I parked on a hill, applied the breaks and the car commenced to rolling down the hill, there was no damage because the oncoming bus driver saw me coming and stopped about a yard from me. Today I wasn't so fortunate, I was turning around, stopped and put the car in reverse. The car seemed to lead over the sidewalk and I couldn't control it. I ended up jumping the sidewalk and hitting someone's house. This really happened. I am a personal driver. I need a reliable, dependable car. I thought that it was in the Toyota brand, it is not. DISAPPOINTED, DISSATISFIED.

26 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 24, 2017

I own a 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum AWD. Soon after I bought it, I started to notice problems. Here is a rundown of the problems and their status: Navigation System: It does not update automatically like an app in your phone. It needs a replacement of the Map Card. The card in my vehicle is from early 2015. The vehicle was manufactured in early 2016, I bought the vehicle in May 2016. The card was obsolete from the get go. To replace it, Toyota wants to charge $200 for the card plus labor and taxes. They claim an update only comes out once a year and that the salesman should have told me about the map card being obsolete. It is a finger pointing game right now.

Chromtec wheels: They are advertised as alloy wheels. They may be alloy wheels on the inside, but what you see is a plastic hubcap painted chrome that has been glued to the actual wheel. If you damage the hubcap you need to replace the entire wheel. This is false advertising and fraud. Toyota claims that the salesman should have told me that they were fake wheels. It is a finger pointing game right now.

Parking brake: A parking brake is supposed to stop your vehicle from sliding when you apply it. Think about trying to change a tire and applying the parking brake to stop it from moving. No dice. Or being on a hill and applying the brake to prevent it from sliding, and not forcing the transmission. No dice. Vehicle will slide on both instances. Toyota claims that the weak brake is working as designed.

Remote starter: Most of the time the remote starter does not start due to several reasons. The remote control sequence is to push the open button three times and then hold for several seconds until the engine remote start sequence is engaged. The problem is that to hit the right sequence and timing is close to impossible. In addition, the remote control is not that remote. After many complaints, Toyota has indicated that the range of the remote control works only up to 15 feet. By design. Furthermore, if you manage to start the engine with the remote control, the engine will shut off as soon as you touch the door handle. Forcing you to restart the engine after you get in the vehicle. Again, Toyota claims is by design as a safety feature. Totally useless.

Rear Lift gate: You cannot open the rear lift gate if the engine is running. Not the vehicle moving, just the engine running. So if you want to start the engine while you load your suitcases for a trip, or while you load anything else, the rear lift gate will not open. The rear lift gate button in the remote control becomes disabled, the button inside the cabin by the steering wheel becomes disabled, and the button on the actual lift gate becomes disabled. Toyota claims another safety feature and that is working as designed. Impractical and annoying.

Flickering Cruise Control: At night or when it is dark, you will see the cruise control stalk flicker or go off completely. If you don't drive that much at night you may not have seen it, but I do. A lot. And it happens most of the time. This seems to be a problem going around since the 2014 model came out, but Toyota has refused to issue a recall or correct the defect in recent models. It has been recorded as an electrical short. After three visits to North Park Toyota in San Antonio for the same problem, the problem is still there, and they managed to turn off the stalks for the lights and the windshield wipers. The dealer's claim was that they "could not reproduce".

To make matters worse, they kept my vehicle for 12 days and added 1,400 miles to it. When I brought this to the service manager's attention, he tried to alter the service ticket to reflect the same miles coming in as coming out. I would not let him. That is fraud. Toyota now claims that there is a TSB but this dealer on three visits was unable to find it. Toyota and the dealer are pretending that nothing is wrong and that nothing happened, ignoring the evidence in their own service tickets. The problems are still there. I am not letting them get away with this.

Seats are brutal: I agree with another poster. For long trips, the seats are not the most comfortable. If you increase the lumbar support, something hard like a spear will be hurting you. Noise from the rear when you brake: Sounds like the suspension or the brakes. Waiting to have this looked at. Brake warning light appears unexpected: I agree with another poster about the brake light appearing unexpectedly. It was turning on a road at below the speed limit, with no cars in front of me or any other obstacle. The brake warning light came on on the dashboard. Fortunately the brakes did not engage. It has happened once more. As Toyota will be quick to claim that "cannot reproduce", I am holding this one for later.

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54 people found this review helpful
Original review: Jan. 24, 2017

I have a 2015 highlander xle and have lots of problem since I purchased. Steering wheel make whining noise. I went 4 times to dealership to fix the problem but still makes noise. Passenger door weather seal rubber touches and stuck to the frame when open the door and makes rubbing noise. I went to dealer and they put some grease.. Omg still make noise. Radio and navigation touch screen freeze at least once a day and I have to turn power off and turn on. Radio power turns off all of sudden and turns on... NO MORE TOYOTA.

37 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 22, 2017

I have always owned a Honda Pilot but since my husband leases a Toyota Camry, I thought I might try the 2016 Toyota Highlander. They were offering a lease at a terrific price and it was a great looking car built on a Camry Chasse. I test drove it and everything was fine, but, I realize now why everything seemed fine. The guy who took me out had me make right turns only.

When I drove the car after leasing it and started making left turns, I noticed how uncomfortable it was and dangerous to execute a left turn with the permanent positioning of the left view mirror. It is a great obstruction and has almost caused several accidents. I am 4'10 inches in height and I am directly looking at the mirror attachment when I turn. The only way to get around this is to bend the mirror shut which means I cannot see a car behind me or to raise myself off the seat. It is very dangerous at night especially if I am turning left from a two-way street onto a two-way street. If the person in the opposite lane of the street that I am turning onto inches up he is in my obstructed view and I almost turn into him.

My daughter hates this car. She is several inches taller than me and she had the same experience. When my daughter and I looked at the car from the front, it is noticeable that the left mirror is higher than the right mirror. This has never ever happened with my Honda Pilot and I am so sorry that I leased this car. I am going to report this to the Corporate offices of Toyota.

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44 people found this review helpful
Verified Buyer
Original review: Jan. 19, 2017

Purchased a 2015 Toyota Highlander XLE late in 2014 and 2 months later had starting problems. Dealer told me this vehicle needed to be driven, at least every three days, to fully charge the battery; too many electronic devices (computer) to drain the battery. Starting problem occurred a few months later, and was given the same speech. Prefer driving my 2011 Highlander during the winter months to keep the 2015 looking new. Anyone else told the same story? Just curious.

29 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 7, 2017

I'm a loyal, longtime Toyota owner and am sorry to write this negative review. In 2015, I very hesitantly traded my reliable, much-loved 2000 4Runner for a new 2015 Highlander Limited. What a huge mistake. Other people have commented here that the steering wheel goes crazy when you accelerate - especially from a full stop. I, too, have that problem. You must have a firm grip on the wheel to keep the vehicle under control and stay in your lane. It's hard to control even when you expect it to happen. I've also seen complaints here about the Highlander's brakes. I've had many close calls when someone in front of me stopped suddenly. When I hit the brakes hard, it feels like the pedal goes all the way to the floor. The ABS does not engage.

My vehicle also has trouble going up steep inclines; the rear tires spin - even in dry weather. And when the road is wet, there's almost zero traction. It seems particularly bad when it's misting and the road is barely wet - oil & other buildup really impact traction. Also, the back end fishtails in wet weather - especially when going around a curve or turning a corner - even at low speed. There's a steep, curved drive into my office parking garage that I can barely navigate when it's wet.

Another extremely dangerous issue is that the vehicle feels like it lifts up & floats when it hits a wet spot on the road. The first time I drove it in the rain was on a busy rural highway. I hydroplaned into the opposite lane with a livestock semi coming toward me. I had no control for several seconds. When I was able to steer back into my lane, I must’ve hit another puddle because the rear started fishtailing - fortunately toward the shoulder on my side of the road. It was an incredibly frightening few moments - and the cattle truck was blowing its horn at me the whole time. I was not speeding or driving recklessly before the incident. I'm so very lucky the truck wasn’t closer and that there were no other cars around me.

I've always been a confident, competent driver. However, now I hesitate to drive when the roads are wet because I do NOT feel safe. I wonder if anyone else has had traction issues or if there's something wrong with my vehicle. I've had the tires checked - they're good and not under-inflated. My 2015 Highlander is such a disappointment. It’s really nice-looking and well-appointed. I love all the bells & whistles (except the driver-side vented seat doesn't work consistently). HOWEVER, I do not trust it and I've discouraged several people from buying one. It's just too dangerous.

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48 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 23, 2016

My car engine started on its own after being turned off. I went shopping at Walmart on 12/22/16 and parked my 2016 Toyota Highlander XLE in the parking lot (only had 640 miles at the time). I put the car in park and pushed the engine start/stop button to turn off the car. My family and I exited the car and I used the keyless entry pad to lock the doors. We shopped for approximately 45 min. When we returned to the car, I used the keyless entry pad to unlock the doors so I could put our purchases in the trunk. As I got close to the vehicle I heard an engine running, but thought it was the car next to us. I bent down and listened under the front end of my Highlander and to my surprise, I realized my car engine was running. When I opened the driver side door and looked at the dashboard, I noticed a small triangular yellow caution light was flashing but I don't remember what the message said other than caution.

If my car randomly starts on its own while it's in a garage, it could cause toxic fumes to fill my garage if left on long enough, and could cause harm or death to someone who breathes it in. After reading about the brake/wire recall on some 2015-2016 Highlanders (breaks failing to work while driving!!), coupled with the recent issue I had at Walmart, I am nervous about driving my car. I wish I had read about these issues before buying my car 30 days ago. I thought I had done my homework and read several websites before buying the car, but I will read recall reports before buying a car from now on.

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41 people found this review helpful
Original review: Nov. 15, 2016

Toyota had me sign a contract that was on a computer and never disclosed the surrender fee. It was not until I received a copy of the lease agreement from Toyota. I have had problems with the vehicle stopping. I must apply the brakes much sooner than my Nissan or my Ford Mustang. There is rust on the hood of the vehicle. Paint is flaking off the hood down to the primer. I repeatedly advised Toyota of the brake issue which was the traction light coming on and having to reset itself when the brakes were applied. The vehicles was put in park and started rolling backwards.

TJ Toyota repeatedly told me that could not recreate the problem. I demanded it be kept until they did. I was told by the Service Manager that it is normal for the traction light to come on. If that were the case why was I not told two visits prior. They never recreated the problem with the vehicle in park. It only happened twice but had I not had quick reflexes, students walking home from school would have been run over. I will never lease nor buy a vehicle from Toyota again.

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26 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 6, 2016

I had an accident on the freeway. Traffic was stopping ahead of us, it was raining. I had plenty of time to stop, but the alarm on the Highlander came on and no matter how hard I pushed on the brakes, it would not slow down. It sounds like the ABS system "takes over" to prevent you from sliding. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow me to stop. This could have been SO much worse, but this is a serious problem that must be fixed by Toyota.

44 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 24, 2016

After nine months of ownership, the touch screen radio broke. A simple push of the finger on a 106F day and a crack went across screen. Dealer refuses to repair or replace "due to outside influences". Which I can only take to mean ISIS or aliens. This is a $3500 replacement. I also find out I was duped into buying a cheap Panasonic and not the JBL I thought I was getting. After numerous attempts with dealer I was told to call Toyota Customer Care. After an hour on the phone with Toyota Corporate, they turned around and called the dealer. Again I was told it was caused by "outside influences". Toyota customer care is a joke, and the dealer network is worse. To stick a customer with a $3500 cost on a nine month old vehicle is insane. They have not returned calls, or followed up on claims I submitted. They did not test or exam the radio, they only took a picture. I cannot recommend a Toyota. I will never buy another Toyota.

40 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Sept. 15, 2016

I purchased a brand new 2015 Toyota Highlander Limited vehicle, and within the first 90 days of ownership, the plastic front and side panels that cover the machinery at the bottom of the driver's seat came apart. Immediately, I scheduled a service appointment to have it repaired. It took approximately four long months and numerous attempts on my part to schedule the repair appointment. It was finally repaired, only to break within 48 hours of retrieving it from the dealer. Subsequently, I contacted the dealership numerous times over approximately a six months time frame to schedule the second repair. I was always told they were waiting on the FTS person to arrive in the area to address it.

Dealership service personnel reported they could not repair the seat despite the car being less than a year old and under warranty until instructed otherwise. To reiterate, the decision rested with a person identified as the FTS (an engineer) from Glen Burnie, MD, their regional division. Irritated and knowing my car was almost a year old, I contacted several divisions of Toyota (in writing & via registered mail) and advised them the car had to be repaired or replaced. I asked whether they no longer stood behind their products. Were they going to ignore the fact that the car was under warranty? I reminded them according to law, a customer had rights regarding the lemon law. After dealing with a callous, non-empathic case worker out of California, on several phone calls, he agreed to repair the seat a second time.

Finally, months later, the seat's plastic front/side panels were going to be repaired or allegedly replaced. Toyota kept my vehicle from September 6th until Monday, September 12th, 2016 for the second repair of the seat, trunk, and the Voice command. On the 12th, I arrived to retrieve my car. A slim, short, young mechanic drove the car from the back of the service garage to the front where I stood with my service representative. He opened the door and hopped out. As he did so, the two of us observed and heard the plastic panels pop apart again. The service representative shook her head and the foreman arrived to join us at looking at the car.

During this time, they both turned to look at me and informed me that Toyota instructed them to not repair my seat a third time. So, I took my lemon back home in the exact manner I took it to the dealership to be repaired. Obviously, it was NOT repaired as far as I was concerned. Can you say irritated? After all, I spent over $45,000 for the car.

Upon my arrival home, I called my Toyota HQ case worker, who did absolutely zilch to resolve this in an acceptable manner in my opinion. He gleefully reported he called the dealership and despite the seat breaking under the weight of the mechanic it would not be fixed a third time and no further action would be taken by Toyota despite the warranty. The reason being because the FTS (engineer) decided the seat should not be repaired due to my being a full figured woman. Staff and documentation indicated my weight was the problem. Now, did I mention that I also own a 2004 Highlander? I still own and drive this one and its seats have never broken. Did I mention that I was a loyal Toyota customer and this was my fourth purchase?

I also had numerous problems with the trunk door failing to open 80% of the time and the Voice Command worked about 5% of the time for me. This might be due to my somewhat deep, but feminine voice. The bottom line, I truly believe the car is a lemon, but Toyota will not stand behind this product the way the company should. In my opinion, Toyota has become so big that customer satisfaction does not matter to them.

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48 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 30, 2016

I bought a 2015 Highlander brand new. I am very unsatisfied with my choice. I am getting 15 mpg in the city. On the highway... the best I've been able to average is 17mpg. Took the car to the dealer and the best they got it up to was 16mpg. I've had to had the driver's side window seal replaced 3 times due to squeaking when I roll up the window, and it needs to be replaced again for the same problem. The driver's side door panel chrome is now aligned properly and needs to be replaced. The rear arm axles (or something with the suspension) went out and had to be replaced at 10,000 miles. When I turn corners, the car makes an almost listing noise. Imagine the noise you would hear in a boat swaying over waves in the ocean. The dealer hasn't been able to find where this noise is coming from. I have 13,000 miles on the car now and I'm ready to trade it in.

27 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: April 29, 2016

Purchased my 2014 Highlander LX new. Twice now the plastic driver's plastic seat trim which covers the seat electronic controls has broken. The first time was within a year of purchase and dealer replaced it. At that time, the service rep said if it broke again, I would have to pay to have it replaced. That certainly raised a red flag and sure enough, less than a year later, the same thing happened. I called the service manager who told me he has never heard of the trim breaking. Odd, since they had already replaced mine.

In any event, I see on this site alone that others have reported exactly the same problem and experienced refusal by Toyota to acknowledge the part failure. This is my 5th Toyota product and I've never had this problem before. I know there are others with this problem. I encourage others with this issue to post here and elsewhere so Toyota can't continue to assert that there is no problem with their cheap, flimsy seat trim. Meanwhile, I am driving around with the seat trim hanging out every time I open my door as there is no way to adequately secure it - not exactly great marketing for Toyota.

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30 people found this review helpful
Original review: Jan. 16, 2016

My 2015 Toyota Highlander Limited V6 produces horrible torque steer under the slightest brisk takeoff and even if I am starting off with slight accelerator pressure with a damp service the vehicle has a difficult time finding grip. The car is a FWD model and when I have attempted to press the vehicle to get out into fast traffic it decides which way I should be steering. This thing is horrible, embarrassing when I gave guest aboard, and is dangerous if you are not completely ready for its torque steering shenanigans.

40 people found this review helpful
Original review: Jan. 16, 2016

I was driving to work in my Toyota Highlander when I came upon a red light (where other cars were already stopped). I pushed down on the brakes and quickly realized the car was not responding. I had no control of the vehicle. To avoid the car in front of me, I directed the car into the opposing lane (because there were no cars) and tried to apply the breaks again, but still nothing. Finally after the third try of hitting the brakes the car came to a stop. I was petrified, and immediately pulled the Highlander to the side of the road.

I was afraid, but I had to continue my drive to work. I work the overnight shift, so the next morning I drove my car from work straight to the dealership to have it looked at. I was helped by a representative who must have dealt with this complaint before as he at the ready with quick precise answers, before even hearing me out. "There is no problem" he responded, "this is just your ABS brakes jumping in to help you out in a slide." But I was not sliding. I said to him, "I was going 30mph on a dry road, and the brakes were not helping me do anything."

I explained to him that when I went into the opposing lane I passed the grey car in front of me that was in my lane. If another car had been in the opposite lane, I would have had to hit the car in front of me. He responded, "well it sounds like you tried to pump your brakes and you cannot do that in a Highlander." I was astonished that these were his answers. I ONLY PUSHED THE BRAKES SO MANY TIMES BECAUSE THE BRAKES WERE ALREADY NOT RESPONDING!! He continued, saying the next time this happens push down as hard on the brakes as I can without removing my foot and see if this works better. "The next time? I don't ever want to experience this again! I don't want there to be a next time." I told him.

Because I refused to leave without the car being inspected, he finally agreed to have it looked at. He said "it will be hours, so if you're willing to leave it here." This has been an unforgettable experience. I am concerned about driving this car. I just got the Highlander 2 months ago. I have four children I drive on a daily basis (whom, luckily, were not in the car).

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77 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 26, 2015

I purchased my first Toyota expecting great trouble-free ride. I have 5,400 miles on the car in 6 months. The alarm has gone off 3 times on its own. I have called the dealer and they said that was an old problem that Toyota corrected so not sure what is wrong. I am back home up north for about a month and my poor relatives are keeping my car in their driveway in Florida. They are not real happy or are their neighbors.

22 people found this review helpful
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 22, 2015

Just want Toyota and other consumers know how brutal the front seats are when traveling LONG distances. It is unbelievable how bad it hurts in these front seats!!! I will never purchase another Highlander!

59 people found this review helpful

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