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2013 Toyota Highlander Review

The 2013 Toyota Highlander ranks in the middle of the very competitive midsize SUV class. Though it has a comfortable ride, an attractive interior, and a high reliability rating, it could use a stronger base engine.

Pros & Cons

  • Quality interior
  • High reliability rating
  • Lackluster power with four-cylinder engine

Rankings & Research

The 2013 Toyota Highlander's #5 ranking is based on its score within the 2013 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Toyota Highlander has a score of 8.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 83 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 7.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Toyota Highlander Overview

Is the 2013 Toyota Highlander a Good Used SUV?

The 2013 Highlander is a good midsize SUV. It hits the right notes for a family-friendly vehicle – it has spacious seating in the first two rows, decent cargo space, and high safety ratings. However, the Highlander has a weak four-cylinder base engine and doesn’t handle particularly well around turns.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 83 professional evaluations for this 2013 Toyota Highlander review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers, and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2013 Toyota Highlander?

Based on over 500 listings on our site for the 2013 Highlander, the average price is $20,500. Prices range from about $15,500 to roughly $25,900, and they vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2013 Toyota Highlander Cost to Own?

Five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2013 Toyota Highlander are estimated to be about $26,205. That’s a bit below average for a midsize SUV.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Highlander?

The 2019 Highlander’s starting price of $31,330 is almost $11,000 more than the 2013 Highlander’s average price. However, the 2019 model comes standard with seating for eight and advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. However, a well-equipped 2013 Highlander has goodies not found on the 2019 base Highlander, including a moonroof, a full-size spare tire, remote start, and a power liftgate. For many folks, the 2016 Highlander is a better choice because it costs less and could offer more in the way of tech features.

Read about the new Toyota Highlander »

The average price of a 2013 Highlander is $20,500, which is not enough to buy a new midsize SUV.

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Which Model Year of the Toyota Highlander Is Best?

For the Highlander, 2013 was the last model year of the SUV’s second generation. Toyota completely redesigned the Highlander for 2014, giving it seating for eight, standard Bluetooth and integrated turn signal mirrors, and more cargo space behind the third row. Overall cargo volume declined by 11.7 cubic feet though. These models might be worth considering, but if saving money is your top concern, go with the 2011 Highlander or 2012 Highlander. They offer many of the same features as a 2013, but at a lower average price.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Highlander »

How Reliable Is the 2013 Toyota Highlander?

The 2013 Toyota Highlander has an above-average reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Highlander reliability »

2013 Toyota Highlander Recalls

As of this writing, the 2013 Highlander has three open recalls. One concerns the front passenger air bag either deploying incorrectly or not at all. Another recall involves the second-row seat assembly failing to lock in place, and a third recall is for inaccurate load carrying capacity labels. Make sure these recalls are addressed before buying a used 2013 Highlander.

See more information on Toyota Highlander safety recalls »

Which Used Make Toyota Highlander Is Right for Me?

The 2013 Highlander is available in four trim levels: Highlander (base), Plus, SE, and Limited. The base Highlander has fabric seats, a six-speaker stereo system, a USB port, and a 3.5-inch multi-information display. The Plus trim level adds integrated fog lights, a rearview camera, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, and second-row reading lights.

We recommend the SE trim, which offers the best combination of price and value. It comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, satellite radio, and heated sideview mirrors. The Highlander Limited’s features include tri-zone automatic climate control, perforated leather upholstery, and push-button start.

See 2013 Toyota Highlander trims and specs »

How Safe Is the Highlander?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2013 Highlander four out of five stars in the front and rollover safety tests and five stars for the side crash test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2013 Highlander a Top Safety Pick, the organization’s second-highest accolade. The IIHS also gave the 2013 Highlander the top rating of Good for the moderate overlap front, side, roof, and rear safety tests.

Although the 2013 Highlander has no standard active safety features, some models feature a rearview camera.

See Highlander safety scores »

2013 Toyota Highlander Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2013 Toyota Highlander or 2013 Honda Pilot?

The 2013 Honda Pilot has a comfortable ride and more seating and cargo space than the Highlander. However, the Toyota outshines the Honda with better interior materials, superior crash test scores, and a higher reliability rating. The Highlander is the better choice.

Which Is Better: 2013 Toyota Highlander or 2013 Mazda CX-9?

The 2013 Mazda CX-9 finishes lower than the Highlander in our midsize SUV rankings. Still, the CX-9 has athletic handling and comes standard with a V6 engine, which can run circles around the Highlander’s base engine. The CX-9 also has a more adult-friendly third row. However, this Mazda has one of the lowest safety scores in the class.

Compare the Highlander, Pilot, and CX-9 »

2013 Highlander Performance

How Does the 2013 Toyota Highlander Drive?

The 2013 Highlander has a comfortable ride, but it’s not the most agile midsize SUV on twisty backroads. The base powertrain – a 187-horsepower four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission – feels underpowered on the highway. An available 270-horsepower V6 engine improves highway passing considerably, and it comes with a five-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available with V6-equipped models.

Does the 2013 Toyota Highlander Get Good Gas Mileage?

The four-cylinder 2013 Highlander gets an EPA estimated 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, which is about average for the segment. The V6 FWD models return 18/24 mpg city/highway, while V6 AWD models are rated at 17/22 mpg.

2013 Toyota Highlander Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the 2013 Highlander can tow up to 3,500 pounds with the four-cylinder engine or up to 5,000 pounds with the V6.

Read more about Highlander performance »

2013 Highlander Interior

How Many People Does the 2013 Highlander Seat?

The seven-seat, three-row Highlander comes standard with cloth upholstery. Some models are available with leather upholstery and power-adjustable, heated front seats. The third row is cramped, but it’s easily accessible thanks to the sliding and folding second-row bench seat.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2013 Toyota Highlander?

The 2013 Highlander has two complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors.

2013 Toyota Highlander Features

The base 2013 Highlander comes with a CD player, Bluetooth, a USB port, remote keyless entry, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Tri-zone automatic climate control, a premium sound system with Bluetooth, a USB port, a voice-activated navigation system, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system can be found in some models.

See 2013 Toyota Highlander specs »

Read more about Highlander interior »

2013 Toyota Highlander Dimensions

Toyota Highlander Cargo Space

With all seats in the upright position, the Highlander has 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which is below average for the midsize SUV class. There’s 42.3 cubic feet of space with the third row folded, expanding to 95.4 cubic feet when the second row is folded as well.

2013 Highlander Length and Weight

The Highlander is 15.7 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,946 to 4,464 pounds, depending on how it’s equipped, and its gross vehicle weight rating goes from a low of 5,500 pounds to a high of 6,000 pounds.

Where Was the 2013 Toyota Highlander Built?

Toyota manufactured the 2013 Highlander in Indiana.

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