Car Review: 2013 Toyota Highlander Limited 4WD

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We drive a lot of cars, and sometimes, redesigned aren’t always much better than outgoing models, but that’s not the case with the 2013 Toyota Highlander Limited 4WD. The first-generation Highlander pioneered the midsize crossover utility vehicle segment, ushering in car-like performance, comfort and fuel efficiency with SUV-like roominess and versatility. The current, second-generation Highlander amplifies those attributes and is among the leaders in the segment in standard active and passive safety features. Toyota has really taken serious steps forward with the Highlander as this is one very impressive vehicle.

EXTERIOR

The Highlander now has that wow factor that you don’t regularly see in an SUV, but it’s real. Designed at Calty Design Research in Newport Beach, Calif., the second-generation Highlander conveys a contemporary, dynamic presence via clean, sculpted lines, a wide, stable stance and muscular contours. The Highlander grade could be mistaken for an upgrade model with its six-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels, color-keyed power outside mirrors and silver-painted front grille.

The Highlander Limited as tested has a luxurious appearance with sporty 19-inch alloy wheels, chrome door handles and roof rails, puddle lamps and rear spoiler. The 2013 Highlander Hybrid is distinguished from the gasoline model by its own unique grille and bumper design, color-keyed rockers with chrome accents, plus vertically stacked fog lamps. The projector-beam headlights and taillights feature blue lens covers. Our classic silver metallic test model looked refined and upscale with an overall sleek look.

INTERIOR

Continuing with that upscale feel, the 2013 Toyota Highlander Limited really hit a homerun with the cabin quality, design and fit and finish. All Highlander models feature a standard 50/50 split third-row seat and rear climate control. Generous standard features on the Highlander grade include front and rear air conditioning; eight-way adjustable driver’s seat; power door locks and windows with driver’s window jam protection and auto-up/down feature; manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel; cruise control; multi-function keyless entry system; UV-reduction windshield and rear privacy glass; digital clock; conversation mirror; illuminated entry system; scheduled maintenance indicator light; full-size spare tire and more.

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