What is the best year for a Toyota Highlander that's used?

After driving sedans for years, I’m finally ready to make the leap to an SUV for the added space and convenience. I really like the Toyota Highlander—I just don’t like the brand-new price. Is there a used Highlander year that’s better than the rest?

Eric Schad · Answered on Dec 27, 2022
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Welcome to the world of SUVs! The Toyota Highlander is a solid choice, but the best years for this SUV are either 2004 or 2020. It all depends on what features you want and how much you have to spend.
2004 was the fifth year of production for the Toyota Highlander, and Toyota was working on ironing out the kinks that plagued some of the earlier models. Among its features, the 2004 Highlander touts:
  • Available third-row seating
  • Choice of either a four-cylinder engine or a V6
  • Up to 80.6 cubic feet of cargo space
If you have a bit of a larger budget or can get approved for a car loan, the 2020 Highlander is much more upscale and modernized than its 2004 sibling. Some of the top specs include:
  • Available 295-horsepower V6 engine
  • Optional hybrid powertrain for up to 36 mpg city and 35 mpg highway
  • Crash-mitigation safety features, earning it a five-star NHTSA rating and a Top Safety Pick distinction from the IIHS
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