2003 Toyota Highlander Base 3.0 V6 from North America


Toyota seems to be going downhill a bit


The car has a rumbling sound at low speed 30-60 km/h, especially when taking your foot off the gas pedal. Vibrates when at stop and in gear. No vibration when in neutral or park.

Gas mileage is poor 7 km/L during winter mixed city/highway driving in Canada, which is probably related to the rumbling sound and vibration problems.

When going downhill and taking your foot off the gas pedal, you can feel a little bit of drag. Researched on the Internet, but couldn't find an answer for the above problems.

Transmission a bit rough when cold.

General Comments:

Nice ride, good visibility, proper size, good looking.

Still original brake pads front and back after 110,000 km, roof rack with crossbars is a nice feature, reliability seems to be good. Previous owner never got stuck.

However, it is not the Toyota quality that I expected, due to the above mentioned problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 14th January, 2012

2003 Toyota Highlander Base 3.0 V6 from North America


A good reliable ride


Replaced the battery.

General Comments:

I bought this one for my wife. A month after we bought it, she lost control on ice and slammed into a tree. $3000 in damage. She was going about 10mph. It turned out it was the crappy Hankooks the previous owner put on. It was terrifying to drive with those tires on. I switched to Michelin Ice Radials and the difference is amazing in the winter. It is now solid and stable on the road.

Gas mileage is disappointing. 16 City and 22 Highway tops. I think it should be higher considering the size of the vehicle.

Ride in the city is great. It is nimble, gutsy enough when you need it to be, and has a nice sense of visibility.

It is not quite as fun on the highway. The roof rack drives me nuts with all the rattling and creaking from the cross bars. Every time I go on the highway, I have to stop, slide the bars all the way to the back, and then it seems fine. It is not the most comfortable or reassuring ride on the highway. I am used to my Camry on the highway.

Overall it is a keeper, as far as it being a nice ride for my wife. If it was me, I likely would prefer a 4 Runner for an SUV == a little more macho looking. My wife loves it, and hey, after all, as long as she is happy, I am happy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2010

4th Jan 2012, 14:37

Original Poster here. Vehicle now has 160,000 km on it.

Continues to be rock solid reliable. Only regular maintenance needed. I believe I will easily see 300,000 trouble free km out of this vehicle.

26th Mar 2013, 09:48

Original poster. Vehicle developed a vibration in the driveshaft at about 170,000 Klm. Turned out it was a bad u-joint. Problem is it is a one piece unit at a cost of 2300.00 including labor and tax. Shopped for a used one and saved 2/3 the cost. Here is the good news, the gas mileage jumped by 2-3 MPG. There used to be a slight vibration at highway speeds. It is now gone. I am guessing this has been a lingering problem for quite some time. This is the first repair beyond regular maintenance in 4 years and 90,000 Klm. No complaints here!

2003 Toyota Highlander Base 4 cylinder from North America


Average reliability, expected more from Toyota/Lexus


At 120K.

Cylinder misfire (probably coil pack or wire/plug)

Leaking oil from pan gasket

Electrical short (all interior lights/panel out)

CD player not operating

Transmission slips from 2nd to 3rd gear

Power steering pump leaking

Right front power window capacitor failing

Water pump leaking

General Comments:

Held up pretty well for first five years, but started to fall apart over the last year or so. For a vehicle made in Japan by Lexus (the Highlander is essentially a Lexus RX with a different body and trim), I expected much more. Shouldn't be having tranny problems at 120K. The local dealer has been terrible also.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th May, 2008