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2010 Toyota Highlander Review

The 2010 Toyota Highlander’s outstanding safety scores, perfect reliability rating, smooth ride, and quality interior make it a top pick in the midsize SUV class.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent safety and reliability ratings
  • Smooth ride
  • Fuel-efficient base engine
  • Versatile interior
  • Underpowered four-cylinder engine
  • Below-average cargo space with all seats in use
  • Small third row

8.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.6
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2010 Toyota Highlander Overview

Is the 2010 Toyota Highlander a Good Used Car?

The 2010 Toyota Highlander is among the best midsize SUVs. It offers a fuel-efficient base engine and a comfortable ride. The Toyota’s cabin features luxury-like materials, and it’s well-insulated from outside noise. It has a convenient sliding and reclining second row of seats. The Highlander is also one of the few models in the class to receive a perfect reliability rating.  

Still, the Highlander isn’t perfect. Its cargo capacity is below average when the back seats are in use. You need to purchase higher trims to get more features, a third row of seats, and an engine capable of hauling several people without strain. Finding an ideally equipped 2010 Highlander can take time, and it certainly costs more than lower trims.

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Why You Can Trust Us

Our used car rankings and reviews are based on our analysis of professional automotive reviews, as well as data like crash test scores, reliability ratings, and ownership expenses. We researched 70 Toyota Highlander reviews to help you decide if it’s the right used car for you.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, our staff never takes expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2010 Toyota Highlander?

Our site has more than 230 listings for the 2010 Toyota Highlander, with an average price of $14,000. Prices range from $10,000 to $18,900, depending on vehicle’s trim, condition, mileage, location, and features. Rivals like the 2010 Toyota Venza, 2010 Nissan Murano, and 2010 Mazda CX-9 have lower average list prices by a few thousand dollars.

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How Much Does the 2010 Toyota Highlander Cost to Own?

The 2010 Toyota Highlander’s five-year estimated costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs are about $27,180. That’s slightly below average for the class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Toyota Highlander?

The 2019 Toyota Highlander starts at $31,330. That’s about $12,400 more than the price of the most expensive 2010 Highlander listed on our site. The 2019 Highlander is a superior vehicle. It comes with a touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth, five USB ports, and Toyota Safety Sense, which is a suite of advanced driver assistance features that includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. If you’re constrained by a budget, the 2010 Highlander is still a very good selection.

Read about the new Toyota Highlander »

You won’t find any new midsize SUVs that are priced comparably to a used 2010 Toyota Highlander. Even new subcompact SUVs cost more than the high-end list prices of a 2010 Highlander.

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Which Model Year of the Toyota Highlander Is Best?

The 2010 Highlander is a part of a generation that spans the 2008 through 2013 model years. The Highlander is a great model and our pick for 2011 Best Midsize SUV with 3 rows for Families. Third-row seating and rear climate control became standard that year, and the front end was restyled. Both the 2012 and 2013 models received few changes.  

You should also consider the redesigned 2014 Highlander. Among its improvements are a redesigned dash with quality materials, more third-row legroom, and less cabin noise. For 2016, the towing package became standard in models with the V6 engine. The 2017 model gained standard Toyota Safety Sense.

Compare the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Highlander »

How Reliable Is the 2010 Toyota Highlander?

J.D. Power gives the 2010 Highlander a perfect reliability rating of five, which is one of the highest reliability ratings in the class.

Read more about Highlander reliability »

2010 Toyota Highlander Recalls

As of this writing, the 2010 Toyota Highlander has 11 reported recalls. These include problems with the power window switch, seat heater, occupant sensing system, driver’s side air bag, and accelerator pedal. Make sure that these issues have been addressed before you buy a 2010 Highlander.

See more information on Toyota Highlander safety recalls »

Which Used Toyota Highlander Model Is Right for Me?

The 2010 Highlander is available in three trims: base, Sport, and Limited. Skip the base trim because it comes with few features or options. It has a six-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Additionally, only upper trims offer a third row of seats.

The Toyota Highlander Sport trim is a good mid-point between austerity and luxury. It comes with the base model’s features, plus dual-zone automatic climate control, a second-row one-touch fold-flat lever, upgraded upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a four-way manually adjustable passenger’s seat, and a multi-function 3.5-inch display. The Limited trim includes leather upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a four-way power-adjustable passenger’s seat, keyless entry, push-button start, and upgraded interior accents.

We review the Toyota Highlander Hybrid separately.

See 2010 Toyota Highlander trims and specs »

How Safe Is the Highlander?

The Highlander was named a 2010 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it earned a top rating of Good in four crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not give the 2010 Highlander overall safety ratings. However, the Highlander received five out of five stars in the front driver-side test and both side-crash evaluations. It also received four stars in the front passenger-side and rollover tests.

Standard safety features include air bags, anti-lock brakes, enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, brake assist, and electronic brake-force distribution. A rearview camera is available.

See Highlander safety scores »

2010 Toyota Highlander Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2010 Toyota Highlander or 2010 Mazda CX-9?

If you’re disappointed by the Toyota Highlander’s limited number of standard and available features, you might appreciate the 2010 Mazda CX-9. Its standard amenities include Bluetooth phone connectivity and tri-zone automatic climate control. The CX-9 has a well-built interior with first-rate materials and attractive finishes. The Mazda is one of the sportiest SUVs in the class when it comes to performance. There’s only one engine choice with the CX-9, but it puts out more horsepower than the Highlander’s available V6. The CX-9 is a compelling choice, but the Highlander has better safety scores, a higher reliability rating, and superior fuel economy.

Which Is Better: 2010 Toyota Highlander or 2010 Chevrolet Traverse?

Choose the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse if you’re looking for family-friendly space. The Traverse is one of few midsize SUVs that has a third row with enough space for adults. It also has one of the largest maximum cargo capacities in the class – about 21 cubic feet bigger than the Highlander’s. Unlike the Highlander, there’s also plenty of storage space when the back seats are in use. Still, the Highlander holds several advantages over the Traverse, including its perfect reliability rating, sharper handling, and higher-quality cabin.

Compare the Highlander, CX-9, and Traverse »

2010 Toyota Highlander Performance

How Does the 2010 Toyota Highlander Drive?

The front-wheel-drive 2010 Toyota Highlander comes with a 187-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine gives the Highlander modest acceleration, particularly when the SUV is at full capacity. For a power boost, a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine is available. It’s mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The Highlander delivers a comfortable ride and car-like handling. However, its steering lacks feedback.

Does the 2010 Toyota Highlander Get Good Gas Mileage?

The EPA estimates that the base 2010 Highlander with the automatic transmission returns 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Those are great numbers for the class.  

2017 Toyota Highlander Towing Capacity

The base Toyota Highlander has a towing weight of 1,500 pounds. That increases to 3,500 pounds with the tow prep package. The V6-powered Highlander with a tow package can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Read more about Highlander performance »

2010 Toyota Highlander Interior

How Many People Does the 2010 Toyota Highlander Seat?

The 2010 Toyota Highlander comes with two rows of seats for five passengers. Upper trims add a third row for a total of seven seats. The Highlander’s third row is cramped, but getting back there is easy thanks to the sliding and folding second-row bench seat. Leather upholstery and heated front seats are available. The Highlander earned praise for its quiet, upscale cabin.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2010 Toyota Highlander?

There are two complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in the second row. There's a top tether for the middle seat (in models equipped with the bench seat) and another tether anchor for the third-row middle seat.

2010 Toyota Highlander Features

The base Highlander comes with power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. It also comes with a conversation mirror, which allows front-seat occupants to easily check on children seated in the back rows. Bluetooth, a voice-activated navigation system, a moonroof, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system are available in all but the base trim.

See 2010 Toyota Highlander specs »

Read more about Highlander interior »

2010 Toyota Highlander Dimensions

Toyota Highlander Cargo Space

The Highlander has just 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. With the third and second rows folded down, it has 42.3 and 95.4 cubic feet of cargo space, respectively. That’s an impressive maximum cargo capacity, but most rivals offer more space with the back rows positioned upright. 

2010 Highlander Length and Weight

The 2010 Toyota Highlander measures 15.7 feet long. The base model has a gross vehicle weight rating of 5,500 pounds. Highlanders with the V6 engine have a gross vehicle weight of 5,800 pounds for two-wheel-drive models and 6,000 pounds for four-wheel-drive models.

Where Was the 2010 Toyota Highlander Built?

Toyota assembled the 2010 Highlander in Indiana.

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