2004 Toyota Highlander Reviews

2004 Toyota Highlander 2WD, 4cyl from North America

Model year2004
Year of manufacture2004
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission Automatic
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance60000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Passat

Faults:

Car caught fire at 60,000 miles. I was driving it when it started smoking. Witnesses said it was on fire under the car for 2 miles before I realized and pulled over. The car was well taken care of, oil changes on time, most all services done at the dealer. Had major engine problems at 50,000. Now I'm without a car, still owe money on this one, waiting for insurance settlement which probably won't be much money.

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

Review Date: 19th June, 2007

17th Oct 2007, 14:02

I also own a 2004, 4cyl Highlander. Do you know why it started on fire? Mine has a transmission leak that leaks onto the manifold.

3rd Dec 2007, 17:21

I own a 2004 4cyl Toyota Highlander and love it. It is the best car I have ever owned. It gets nearly 27 mpg with every tank. I drive it nearly 100 miles per day and have never had one problem. I would buy another in a heartbeat, but unfortunately Toyota doesn't make 4 cyl anymore... which is really stupid considering gas prices. Needless-to-say, I will be looking elsewhere other than Toyota when its time to replace my Highlander.

8th Mar 2008, 22:18

"I will be looking elsewhere other than Toyota when its time to replace my Highlander"

Why? Toyota also offers the RAV4, Camry, and Scion xB with that 4 cylinder engine, with comparable interior space to your Highlander.

2004 Toyota Highlander 4x4 4 cylinder. gas engine from North America

Model year2004
Year of manufacture2004
First year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 4 cylinder. gas engine Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired5 miles
Most recent distance35554 miles
Previous carSubaru Forester

Summary:

My Highlander is a huge disappointment

Faults:

Many parts have been replaced under the 36,000 mile warranty:

Replaced floppy visors, 2005, 2005.

Replaced rear window scarred by wiper, 2004.

Replaced slow-retracting driver's seat belt, 2006.

Replaced catalytic converter, 2007.

At the time the catalytic converter was replaced, I asked the service dept. to check the wiper scarring of both the windshield and rear window. The service department said the windows are not scarred, merely dirty. I plan to return to talk to the manager of the service department because I want this damage recorded before the warranty runs out.

General Comments:

I bought the 2004 Highlander because of Toyota's reputation for reliability and Consumer Report's rating on high owner satisfaction. I will never buy another Toyota, but will go back to Honda.

This vehicle, like my old Forester, makes painfully loud thrumming noise if any or all windows are open more than an inch, as others have reported.

The Highlander, built on a Tacoma chassis, handles like what it is, a truck.

The recessed instrument panel is dark and very difficult to read unless the headlights are turned on, also lighting up the dash. If I wear sunglasses, the unlit dash is impossible to read and therefore dangerous.

According to Toyota's parts manual, a rear spoiler is supposed to help prevent accumulation of dirt. For about $400 I had one installed, and it is worthless for prevention of dirt accumulation.

The flat, cheesy upholstery stains much more easily than velour upholstery I have had in past vehicles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd January, 2007

2nd Jan 2007, 20:27

Should have gotten leather and an extended warranty.

3rd Jan 2007, 07:08

I thought the Highlander was front wheel drive based AWD cross over vehicle, not a rear wheel drive based 4x4. I read somewhere it is based on the Camry, not a truck. Anyone else have a reference to this?

3rd Jan 2007, 11:03

You are correct, the Highlander is a car-based, FWD biased.

That is how Toyota, Honda, and other foreign makes got their edge. The majoriy (like 99%) of SUV buyers use them instead of cars, not for off roading. So rather than turn a truck into a station wagon they turned a car into a truck, with significant results.

As is usual for American manufacturers, they had to play catch up, which is why new SUV/Crossovers like the Ford Edge are car-based, not truck based. Even that bastion of off roading, Jeep, introduced the FWD car-based (Dodge Caliber underpinnings) Jeep Compass.

Average review marks: 6.2 / 10, based on 6 reviews