2013 Toyota Highlander review

Research, photos, specs, and expertise

Toyota Highlander highlights

Customer rating


  • Easy to maneuver
  • Split and folding second-row seats aid access to third row


  • The third-row seats are only really suitable for children
  • Hybrid model typically comes with loftier price point

Mileage (EPA estimate)

17 city, 22 highway, 19 combined

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Likable, useful 2013 Toyota Highlander is a family-friendly large crossover

The 2013 Toyota Highlander is a compelling choice for a seven-seat crossover even in the last year of this model's life. It's slightly smaller than some of its rivals, but it still has a lot going for it. For one, its slightly smaller dimensions make it easier to live with day to day, particularly if you're parking it. The rearmost seats aren't quite as spacious as some, but Toyota's neat second-row seats, which can slide, fold, and recline, mean kids will find clambering back into the third row a cinch. This Toyota does just about everything so competently that it's an easygoing choice for daily duties.

Helping matters are two powerful engines. The standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder with 187 hp does a decent job of moving the Highlander, but the optional 3.5-liter V6 with a more potent 270 hp gives this capable family hauler brisker acceleration and better performance if you're towing. Both engines come with a standard automatic transmission driving the front wheels, though all-wheel drive is an option. The other powertrain is the Highlander Hybrid, which adds electric motors to the V6 and standard all-wheel drive for a combination of nice performance and improved EPA-estimated fuel economy. The trim levels are base, a new-for-2013 Plus level, SE, and Limited, and the Hybrid comes in base and Limited trims. The SE offers the right balance of useful equipment at a sensible price, though if you want Toyota's Entune™ infotainment system with smartphone connectivity, you'll need to spring for the Limited. A fine all-rounder, the Highlander bows out this year in its current form, and an all-new model arrives for 2014.

All Toyota Highlander years

What is new for the 2013 Toyota Highlander?

  • The Highlander is available in a new trim called the Plus.
  • Highlander trims have been upgraded with Leatherette Seats, Full Roof Rack, JBL Sound System, and Navigation System as standard equipment this year.
  • Parking Sensors and Entune features are now available as options on select trims.
  • The Base trim now comes with Bluetooth Technology as standard equipment.

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

The 2013 Toyota Highlander is a reliable, cost efficient, durable, and roomy vehicle. Customers like the size, All-Wheel drive, and handling of the vehicle. Customers also like the price and value for their vehicle.

RepairPal gave the Toyota Highlander an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks Toyota Highlander 6th out of 32 among Midsize SUVs.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander features and specs

Base 2WD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • CD Audio
  • Cloth Seats
  • Cruise Control
  • Fold-Away Third Row
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Windows
  • Quad Seats
  • Rear Defroster
  • Side Airbags
  • Third Row Seat
  • Traction Control
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Full Roof Rack
  • Rear Air Conditioning
  • Rear Entertainment System
  • Remote Start
  • Running Boards
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Tow Hitch

Drive Wheels

Front Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type


Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 43.2"/M 38.3"/R 29.9"

Head room

F 40.6"/M 40.1"/R 36.3"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity


Max towing capacity

225/1500 lbs.



2013 Toyota Highlander FAQ

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