This car was a good purchase. It is comfortable and reliable. I have taken it in for routine maintenance, but never needed to take it in for problems. The bluetooth feature is great. The navigation software leaves much to be desired. It functions properly, but I bought a Garmin because it is easier to follow. I use the auxiliary feature for my iPod so I can access the car speakers. Tire were not in great shape at time of purchase; had to replace them in first 3 months of purchase. This is not a Toyota problem; just something in carmax to be aware of when shopping.
I've had the Highlander Hybrid for about a month, and I'm sorry but I don't really have many good things to say about it. I traded in a 2004 VW loaded Touareg with a V8 and air suspension, so moving to this vehicle was a major downgrade. Disappointingly, I've already had the Hybrid system fail on me leaving me stranded out in the middle of nowhere. The car went completely dead. I suppose I hoped that if the hybrid system failed, I could use the regular engine to get to safety. No such luck. I got the vehicle towed to the nearest Toyota Dealer, which was in the opposite direction that I lived, so it was more than an inconveniece. Toyota fixed the problem without any charge, but was without the car for a couple of days, and I had to drive over an hour back to the dealer to pick it up on my own time. I have also not received the posted MPG's for City or Highway, and average around 22 since getting the car. I've tried to alter my driving methods to maximize the hybrid system, and even drive with Econ mode a lot, but don't get near what I should. I am extremely disappointed that the sales person did not tell me that the Navigation system is completely locked down while the car is moving. Since my previous vehicle did not do this, I was unaware that this was something that Toyota mandates. Basically, I wasted $4,000 on getting the Navigation update, because it is completely useless unless you are stopped. Even if I have a passenger in the car with me, it still requires that I'm stopped to add an address or use the phone directory. I'm sure that their answer will be that you can use voice commands to do many things, this is just ridiculous. Maybe it's my fault for not noticing this during the test drive, but I definitely would not have purchased this car if I would have know this restriction. I also don't like that I can't lock the car with the car running if I have both sets of keys. I have a dog that I like to take with me, and on hot summer days, keeping the air conditioning running while I run into a store quickly is convenient. I've also noticed the car "jumping" a lot, where it feels like the car is throbbing, and can't decide to use hybrid or conventional engine. I've started to get use to it, but my wife complains the entire time we're driving around. Maybe the only thing that I really do like is the Bluetooth connectivity with my phone, and it quickly sync's as soon as I turn on the engine. I would not recommend this vehicle to others in a similar situation as myself.
In early July 2010, I purchased a Highlander Hybrid 4WD and am happy with it. I had read some on-line reviews of the vehicle and knew what to expect in advance of test driving the vehicle. The Highlander rides well and is very comfortable much like a Camry rather than the stiff ride of a pickup. It has lots of legroom even in the backseat and can easily accommodate 4 six-footers. My primary reason for buying this vehicle was cargo space and gas mileage as I have two boys heading off to college. I am happy with the cargo space as can accommodate 5 large suitcases and 3 overnight bags without resorting to the luggage rack. I also moved to a new house and the vehicle, with the back seat folded down, allowed me to many things in advance of the movers arriving. My only disappointment has been with the gas mileage. My Highlander Hybrid was rated for an estimated 30 mpg for highway and 34 for city. My best combined mileage has been 24.7 thus far and I had been hoping for the 26-27 mpg range. This is common with hybrids in that they deliver well under the EPA estimated mileage which I discovered after buying. To fully optimize your results, you need to avoid jackrabbit starts, use your cruise control whenever possible, drive between 45-60 mph, etc. Overall, I am very happy with the vehicle and would most likely buy it again. I would consider purchasing a 2WD version rather than the 4WD for better gas mileage.