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2019 Toyota Highlander Review

The 2019 Toyota Highlander ranks in the middle of the midsize SUV class. It has a good safety score, a comfortable ride, and user-friendly features. A weak base engine and a cramped third row keep it from ranking higher.

Pros & Cons

  • Smooth ride
  • Many standard safety features
  • Punchy, fuel-efficient V6 engine
  • Snug third-row seats
  • Weak four-cylinder engine

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Toyota Highlander's #10 ranking is based on its score within the 2019 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Toyota Highlander has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 47 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 7.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
Safety: 9.2
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Toyota Highlander Overview

Is the 2019 Toyota Highlander a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the 2019 Toyota Highlander is a good used midsize SUV. The Highlander is available with a strong yet fuel-efficient V6 engine. It rides comfortably on rough roads and can seat up to eight people. The Highlander rates above average for predicted reliability and crash safety, and it comes standard with many driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control. However, its third row is on the tight side, and its base four-cylinder engine is underpowered. Still, there’s a lot to like about this SUV.

We review the 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid separately.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 47 Toyota Highlander reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability ratings and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much is the 2019 Toyota Highlander?

Based on listings for the 2019 Toyota Highlander, the average list price is $26,307. Prices range from $24,665 to $38,246 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2019 Toyota Highlander Cost to Own?

The Highlander’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, taxes, fees, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $28,400, or $5,680 per year. That’s about average for the class.

2018 vs. 2019 Toyota Highlander: What's the Difference?

You’ll need a keen eye to spot the differences between the 2018 and 2019 Highlander. For 2019, Toyota added black trim to the exterior sides of the LE and XLE models, and the SE model gained additional black exterior accents.

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Highlander »

The Highlander was last redesigned for 2014, and these are the key changes over the past few years:

  • 2016: tow package became standard with V6 engine
  • 2017: refreshed exterior styling, V6 engine gained more power, and the Toyota Safety Sense P package was made standard in all models (it was previously optional)
  • 2018: no major changes
  • 2019: minor exterior styling updates

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2016 Highlander, 2017 Highlander, and 2018 Highlander reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Reliable Is the 2019 Toyota Highlander?

The 2019 Toyota Highlander has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Read more about Highlander reliability »

2019 Toyota Highlander Recalls

There have been 3 safety recalls issued from NHTSA.

FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:DELIVERY:FUEL PUMP Recall Date: 11/03/2020
  • Summary: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling certain 2018-2019 4Runner, 2019-2020 Avalon, 2019 Corolla Hatchback, 2017-2019 Highlander, 2018-2020 Camry, 2020 Corolla, 2018-2019 Land Cruiser, 2017-2020 Tacoma, 2019-2020 RAV4, 2019-2020 Sequoia, 2017-2020 Sienna, 2019-2020 Tundra, 2018-2020 Lexus ES350, 2017 Lexus GS200t, 2017-2019 Lexus GS350, 2019 Lexus GS300, 2018-2020 Lexus LC500h, 2019-2020 Lexus LS500, 2018-2019 Lexus GX460, 2017 Lexus IS200t, 2019 Lexus IS300, 2019 Lexus IS350, 2018-2020 Lexus LC500, 2018 Lexus LS500, 2019 Lexus LS500h, 2018-2019 Lexus LX570, 2017 Lexus RC200t, 2019 Lexus RC300, RC350, 2017 and 2019-2020 Lexus RX350, 2018-2020 RX350L, 2019 Lexus UX200, 2018-2019 Lexus NX300 vehicles. The low-pressure fuel pump inside the fuel tank may fail.
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 1525742
  • Consequence: If the fuel pump fails, the engine can stall while driving, increasing the risk of a crash.
  • Remedy: Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel pump assembly with an improved one, free of charge. Owners of specific models were notified that remedy parts were available starting January 21, 2021. Owners of other models will be notified as remedy parts become available. Remedy parts should be available for all affected vehicles by late March 2021. Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-888-270-9371 or Lexus customer service at 1-800-255-3987. Note: This recall is an expansion of recall 20V-012. Toyota's number for this recall is 20TA02. Lexus' number for this recall is 20LA01.
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 20TA02, 20LA01
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 20V682000
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:DELIVERY:FUEL PUMP Recall Date: 01/12/2020
  • Summary: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) recalled certain 2018-2019 4Runner, Highlander, Camry, Land Cruiser, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra, and Lexus RC 300, RC 350, GS 350, GX 460, IS 300, LC 500, LS 500, LX 570, RX 350L, and 2019 Toyota Avalon and Corolla, and certain Lexus NX 300, and ES 350 vehicles on January 13, 2020. On March 4, 2020, Toyota expanded the recall to include certain 2014-2015 Toyota 4Runner and Land Cruiser, 2018 Avalon, Corolla, 2014 FJ Cruiser, 2017 Sienna and Lexus 2018 ES 350, 2018-2019 GS 300, 2013-2014 GS350, 2014-2015 GX 460, IS 350 and LX 570, 2014 IS F, 2018-2019 IS 350, LC 500H and LS 500H, 2013-2015 LS 460, 2015 NX 200T and RC350, 2017 RC 200T and RX 350. Toyota also removed the 2018-2019 Toyota 4Runner and Land Cruiser and 2018-2019 Lexus GX 460 and LX 570 and 2019 NX300 from inclusion in this recall. On March 19, 2020, Toyota expanded the recall to include 2015 Lexus GS350 vehicles. The low-pressure fuel pump inside the fuel tank may ...
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 1830752
  • Consequence: If the fuel pump fails, the engine can stall while driving, increasing the risk of a crash.
  • Remedy: Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel pump, free of charge. The recall began May 4, 2020. Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-888-270-9371 or Lexus customer service at 1-800-255-3987. Toyota's numbers for this recall are 20TB02 and 20TA02 for Toyota vehicles and 20LB01 and 20LA01 for Lexus vehicles.
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 20TB02/20TA02/20LB01
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 20V012000
EQUIPMENT:OTHER:LABELS Recall Date: 03/26/2019
  • Summary: Gulf States Toyota (GST) is recalling certain 2019 C-HR, 4Runner, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Prius, RAV4, Sequoia, Tacoma, Sienna, Tundra and Yaris vehicles. The text on the load capacity label may become illegible. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 110, "Tire Selection and Rims."
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 3634
  • Consequence: If the driver cannot read the label, they may unknowingly overload the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.
  • Remedy: GST will notify owners, and dealers will provide corrected load carrying capacity modification labels, free of charge. The recall began May 24, 2019. Owners may contact GST customer service at 1-800-444-1074. GST's number for this recall is 19R1.
  • Dates of Manufacture: FEB 20, 2019 to FEB 26, 2019
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 19R1
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 19V244000

See more information on Toyota Highlander safety recalls »

Which Used Toyota Highlander Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Toyota Highlander comes in five trims: LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, and Limited. The entry-level LE and LE Plus trims are good choices for most shoppers. Both are packed with standard tech and safety features. Consider upgrading to an XLE or higher trim if you want amenities like leather upholstery and heated seats.

  • Toyota Highlander LE: The base model Highlander LE has a four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. A punchier V6 engine and all-wheel drive are available. Standard features include a 6.1-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, five USB ports, a CD player, six speakers, a rearview camera, remote keyless entry, cloth upholstery, eight seats, heated side mirrors, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Toyota Safety Sense P package (TSS-P) also comes standard, and it includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist.
  • Toyota Highlander LE Plus: The uplevel Highlander LE Plus trim comes standard with the V6 engine. This trim gains an 8-inch touch screen, HD Radio, satellite radio, tri-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, fog lights, and a power liftgate.
  • Toyota Highlander XLE: The midrange Highlander XLE trim has a seven-seat layout with second-row captain’s chairs. This trim adds a navigation system, an in-car intercom, proximity keyless entry, leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear sunshades, and a moonroof. Available features include a second-row bench seat and a Blu-ray player.
  • Toyota Highlander SE: The sporty Highlander SE trim adds dark exterior accents, LED daytime running lights, a stiffer suspension, and 19-inch wheels. Available features include a Blu-ray player and a Nightshade Edition package with additional dark exterior accents.
  • Toyota Highlander Limited: The ritzier Highlander Limited trim gains a 12-speaker JBL stereo, ventilated front seats, a cargo area cover, and rear parking sensors. Available features include a second-row bench seat and a Blu-ray player. Also available is the Platinum Package, which includes a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, a panoramic moonroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a surround-view parking camera system.

See 2019 Toyota Highlander trims and specs »

What Does Toyota's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Toyota offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 85,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Toyota provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty on all its certified pre-owned vehicles, and it extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the initial sale date or 100,000 miles. Each CPO Toyota must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits like a CarFax vehicle history report, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Toyota warranty page carefully.

Toyota’s CPO program is about average for an affordable carmaker, according to our research. Hyundai and Kia both have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Highlander?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Highlander an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Highlander a 2019 Top Safety Pick. The SUV received the highest rating of Good in five tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test. The Highlander’s headlights received an Acceptable rating for how well they illuminate the road ahead.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. The Highlander earned the top rating of Superior for its standard front crash prevention features.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Available advanced safety features:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Surround-view parking camera system

See Highlander safety scores »

2019 Toyota Highlander Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2019 Toyota Highlander or 2019 Honda Pilot?

The 2019 Honda Pilot has a lot going for it. It offers a comfortable ride, a big cargo area, and many standard safety features. Unlike the Highlander, the Pilot supports the popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration systems, and its third row is roomy enough for adults on short trips. The Highlander earns a better predicted reliability rating than the Pilot, but both midsize SUVs are good options.

Which Is Better: 2019 Toyota Highlander or 2019 Ford Explorer?

The 2019 Ford Explorer falls short of the Highlander. It doesn’t rate very well for crash safety, and its interior looks and feels rather cheap. The Explorer comes with few standard features, so you may have to hunt for a model with the specific options you want. While the Explorer does have stronger engine performance than the Highlander, it comes at the cost of fuel economy. Stick with the Highlander.

Which Is Better: 2019 Toyota Highlander or 2019 Toyota 4Runner?

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner tops the Highlander when it comes to off-road performance. In all other areas, though, the Highlander remains the better pick. It’s far more comfortable to drive, it gets great fuel economy, and it rates higher for crash safety. The Highlander’s interior quality is better than the 4Runner’s as well.

Compare the Highlander, Pilot, and Explorer »

2019 Highlander Performance

How Does the 2019 Toyota Highlander Drive?

The 2019 Highlander is a fine everyday cruiser. Its suspension soaks up bumps and dips in the road nicely, yielding a smooth and comfortable ride. The Highlander feels fairly stable around turns, it’s easy to maneuver and park in tight areas, and the brakes have firm stopping power. It isn’t an off-roader per se, but its 8 inches of ground clearance are more than enough for tackling a rutted dirt road. Some critics aren’t fond of the Highlander’s light steering, but it’s pretty typical for an SUV of this size.

The Highlander is available with two engine options - a four-cylinder or a V6 - but only the V6 is worth considering. It hustles the SUV around town confidently and provides ample passing power on the highway. By comparison, the four-cylinder struggles to accelerate the Highlander up to speed, and its fuel economy ratings are actually lower than the V6’s. An eight-speed transmission comes with the V6, and it gets largely positive reviews for its smooth gear changes. However, throttle response can feel quite delayed at times.

  • Base engine: 185-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder
  • Available engine: 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed automatic; available eight-speed automatic
Does the 2019 Toyota Highlander Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Highlander gets good fuel economy for a midsize SUV.

  • Four-cylinder, FWD: 20/24 mpg city/highway
  • V6, FWD: 21/27 mpg
  • V6, AWD: 20/27 mpg

If you’re looking for even better fuel economy, consider the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

2019 Toyota Highlander Towing Capacity

The Highlander V6 can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. The four-cylinder model has a much lower tow rating of 1,500 pounds.

Read more about Highlander performance »

2019 Highlander Interior

How Many People Does the 2019 Highlander Seat?

The Highlander is a three-row SUV with eight seats. A seven-seat configuration is available, and it trades the second-row bench seat for a pair of captain’s chairs. The Highlander’s front seats are nicely cushioned, and they provide sufficient head- and legroom, even for taller adults. The driving position is comfortable, and it offers a good view of the road ahead. The second row is similarly roomy and can accommodate adults in reasonable comfort. The third row is very cramped and only suitable for kids.

The Highlander’s interior styling isn’t the freshest in this segment, but it is hard to find fault with its fit and finish. Most of the cabin materials have a quality look and feel. The interior filters out most wind and road noise at higher speeds, resulting in a hushed ride.

Standard seating features:

  • Cloth upholstery
  • Manually adjustable front seats

Available seating features:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Power-adjustable front seats
  • Heated front seats
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Heated second-row seats
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2019 Toyota Highlander?

The 2019 Highlander has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the second-row outboard seats, as well as upper tethers for the second- and third-row middle seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the highest rating of Good for ease of use.

2019 Toyota Highlander Features

The Highlander has a simpler control layout than many of its competitors. The standard 6.1-inch touch screen and available 8-inch screen both have an intuitive menu structure and large icons. The screens are complemented by physical buttons and knobs, making it easy to adjust the audio and climate controls on the go. Unfortunately, neither screen supports Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 6.1-inch touch screen, five USB ports, Bluetooth, a CD player, and six speakers
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, HD Radio, satellite radio, a 12-speaker JBL sound system, an in-car intercom (Driver Easy Speak), and a rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray player and a 9-inch screen
  • Additional standard features: remote keyless entry
  • Other available features: tri-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, a moonroof, rear sunshades, and a power liftgate

See 2019 Toyota Highlander specs »

Read more about Highlander interior »

2019 Toyota Highlander Dimensions

Toyota Highlander Cargo Space

The Highlander has 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats, 42.3 cubic feet with these seats folded, and a total of 83.7 cubic feet with all rear seats folded. That’s pretty spacious for a midsize SUV, but it still trails rivals like the 2019 Chevrolet Traverse and 2019 Volkswagen Atlas.

2019 Toyota Highlander Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet, 1 inch
  • Curb weight: 4,134 to 4,508 pounds

Where Was the 2019 Toyota Highlander Built?

Toyota built the 2019 Highlander in Indiana.

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