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In love with my Highlander, but a couple of things

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 7/30/2015 Bee Dee

I'm a car owner that keeps my cars for years so when it was time to start shopping for my next car my first consideration was a car with a reputation for longevity, ease of ownership and quality. I'd honestly never thought of Toyota because it's so soccer mom-ish but I began to love the new styling every time I saw the new body style. I had heard that buying a Toyota would keep me in the car for at least 5 years headache free.I've got almost 5000 miles on the car now and loved every minute I've spent in the car! My few less than positive comments follow:1. The braking is almost too soft. I find myself pressing on the brake and startled when I'm coming too close to the car in front of me and then quickly pressing much harder to actually stop the car. I've done this several times now and can see it's a problem in the event I have to react to split second stopping. I feel like I need to take it to a empty parking lot and practice emergency stops so I can adjust to the really soft brake pedal.2. I find the car has that lag when you stomp on the gas to accelerate into traffic from the on ramp. It almost feels like it LOSES energy when I step on the pedal then doesn't follow up with rapid acceleration but slogs into traffic which is frustrating. I don't know about torque and rpms and such but a V6 should have more power than this at a low speed to rapid acceleration, I thought.I live in Colorado. When driving into the mountains it has plenty of power to climb the hills and the transmission is smooth and perfectly silent. I love the ability to take it out of auto D and switch the gears to slow my descent which is a necessity here.I bought it in May so hope that this car is solid on snowy roads, that's why I went back into an SUV from a sedan. Last winter, I'd rent a AWD/4WD when driving to the mountains because I had a FWD sedan so when I needed a winter car I'd rent one. So, I compared the Nissan Pathfinder, the Buick Enclave and the Ford Explorer in true winter conditions. The Buick is a tank and grippy. I actually relaxed during a tricky winter drive in the Buick. Next in line was the Explorer which has the control to switch to "snow" and when I put that into play, it felt solid and reliable on slick, snow packed roads but still had a "tinny" feel, the opposite of a tank. The Nissan would hit a patch of snow pack and slide sideways making for a sickening experience among other really questionable build issues that convinced me this car is a non starter. Bottom line, I hope my Highlander feels solid like the Buick this winter.The Buick has a pretty interior, lots of accent lighting and finishes in the cabin to make you feel like you're in a very expensive high end vehicle. The Highlander has a utilitarian interior cabin with just a few details to make it feel more like a car than a truck but it stills looks utilitarian. The center compartment is huge and I find I access it a lot like my purse...the tray has the things I need daily, and the "bottomless" part catches all the stuff that I leave in the car so I reach deep into it and rake through stuff to find what I'm looking for. It literally can conceal a large purse or your laptop case (and probably an airline carry on!) so it's useful for concealing things left in the car.The sound system is just adequate, the range of sound is in the middle range and a narrow range at that, just adequate. The road noise is noticeable but acceptable.The doors have a hollow sound when you shut them which is surprising.The bluetooth speaker system tied to my phone is a muffled sound and coupled with road noise, it's underwhelming.I chose the Highlander over the Buick because I felt like the Highlander is going to take me much further down the road with fewer repair/maintenance headaches but it was a close call between the two. The Toyota care program tilted my decision in it's favor. I'm all for someone else taking care of and paying for the regular maintenance for the first two years.In town driving on mostly 35mph streets gets around 22; getting into stop and go drive time on interstate roads gets 24 and all out interstate driving at 75mph gets over 30. This is almost the same as my little 4cyl FWD sedan!Bottom line, I'm hoping the car doesn't disappoint in true winter driving and I'm prepared to switch to winter tires to get the performance I need but I hope I don't have to spend the money and the time to switch tires twice a year. Everything else I'm overall content with and happy with my purchase.

Average Rating : 5

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