2003 Toyota High-lander on 2040-cars
Little Mountain, South Carolina, United States
Introduced early in the 2001 model year, the car-based Highlander is the fifth — and newest — member of Toyota’s sport utility vehicle lineup. It is structurally related to the Lexus RX 300, but the Highlander is a little larger and has a different squared-off appearance. Fender creases are prominent on the Highlander, and fewer features are standard than on the RX 300, which is considerably more expensive. Both models are offered with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), but the Highlander may be equipped with a four-cylinder engine or a V-6.
The Highlander is slightly longer and 5 inches wider than the truck-based 4Runner. It promises SUV versatility with carlike ride and handling. Like the RX 300, the Highlander uses an unconventional gear selector for the automatic transmission, which protrudes from the lower dashboard. Toyota expected to sell about 70,000 units annually, but Automotive News reports sales of 86,699 Highlanders during 2001 — that signifies quite an impressive debut season. Little is likely to change for 2003, but Toyota has not yet released details about the upcoming model year.
Despite styling differences between the Highlander and RX 300, the two models share the same basic design. The Highlander rides a 106.9-inch wheelbase and stretches 184.4 inches long overall — that’s 4 inches longer in both dimensions than the RX 300. The four-door SUV is fitted with a rear liftgate and measures 71.9 inches wide and nearly 68 inches tall. In addition to prominent fender creases, the Highlander features squared-off styling instead of slanted roof pillars like those found on the RX 300.
Seating for five occupants includes two front bucket seats and a split, folding rear bench that holds three. The automatic-transmission lever mounts at an odd angle below the dashboard, which is actually a convenient location. The Highlander and RX 300 dashboards have similar layouts, but the Toyota design has different audio and climate controls.
Under the Hood
Both the 155-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and the 220-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 were borrowed from the Camry sedan and team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. The Highlander is available with FWD or permanently engaged AWD, which has no Low range. A limited-slip rear differential is optional.
Antilock brakes and Brake Assist are standard. Options include seat-mounted side-impact airbags and Vehicle Skid Control, Toyota’s electronic stability system.
An exceptionally smooth ride coupled with confident and capable handling are the high points of the Highlander picture. Seldom does this SUV lose its composure, even when the pavement gets somewhat rough. Body roll is minimal in fairly tight curves — within reason. The Highlander is extremely easy to drive, and it has just the right steering feel and a balanced sensation on the highway.
Acceleration is strong from a standstill, but an extra push on the pedal may be necessary at midrange speeds, which can produce some awkwardness or unpleasant noise at times. Similarities to the RX 300 are more evident on the Highlander’s interior, which is led by the distinctively positioned gearshift lever.
Toyota Highlander for Sale
- Low miles dealer trade clean must sell
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To the general public, Toyota is often thought of as a maker of bland but dependable cars, crossovers and SUVs that get their owners and a whole herd of whatever from Point A to Point B. Generally speaking, they're fuel efficient, comfortable and affordable. What the general public may not realize, however, is that Toyota enjoys a very strong history of going off road, too. The legendary Land Cruiser arguably established the trend, helping explore remote parts of the globe, while various guerilla warfare outfits and world military branches have unwittingly joined up with the boys from Top Gear to help cement the Hilux pickup's reputation for invincible performance. Now, though, Toyota is launching a new line of trucks and SUVs in the US that are even more explicitly targeted at hitting the trails. Meet the TRD Pro Series.
Featuring the 4Runner, Tacoma and Tundra, each Pro Series vehicle features TRD-tuned springs with Bilstein shocks, a TRD front skid plate, a TRD shifter, black wheels, branded floor mats and a "TOYOTA" grille badge, the latter of which harkens back to classic models. TRD Pro Series vehicles will be offered in the new Inferno paint color shown above, as well as Black and Super White.
The Tundra benefits from softer TRD springs that also provide a two-inch lift and a better ride in the rough, while the truck itself rides on 18-inch wheels with Michelin ORP tires. Each truck gains an extra two inches of wheel travel in front and 1.25 inches in back, while a TRD dual exhaust should generate a nicer sound than the trucks's standard V8 engine. Finally, a unique interior with red contrast stitching freshen up the cabin. We wouldn't go so far as to call this a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor fighter - far from it, in fact - but it's a bit more off-road oriented than your average pickup.
After Sunday's big game, YouTube will be the place to watch every commercial that you missed when you left your seat for an emergency guac refill or, as we say in Cleveland, took the Browns to the Super Bowl. That makes YouTube the nation's water cooler on Monday, and it's got some preliminary stats to share in the lead up to kickoff.
As you know, Super Bowl advertisers, particularly automakers, like to endlessly tease their big budget commercials in the weeks before the game, many times revealing them outright days in advance. Because of this, YouTube can tell us which commercials have been viewed the most so far, and their top five list is all automakers.
Kaley Cuoco appears to have been a good investment for Toyota, as her ad for the RAV4 has garnered the most YouTube views - six million and counting - among Super Bowl commercials so far. Second place goes to Mercedes-Benz, though not its actual Super Bowl commercial, but rather the teaser for it. You know, the one with Kate Upton and the car washing, which is up to 5.6 million views. Third place is Audi's Prom commercial (3.3M views), fourth goes to Volkswagen's slightly controversial Get In, Get Happy ad (3.3M views), and the fifth and final spot is bookended by the teaser video for Kaley Cuoco's commercial (3.2M views). You can watch all five in order below.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles "to act immediately" to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Infiniti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.
While NHSTA doesn't specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota's own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven't already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there.
We don't need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be - even in a stationary vehicle - but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to shrapnel being sprayed into the cabin.