2018 Toyota Highlander

MSRP $33,280 - $46,860

Ranked #12 in Suv

7.3

Overall Rating

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2018 Toyota Highlander Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 23, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


For long minivans have been the first choice for buyers with a large family but the looks of a minivan have been a turn-off for many. Carmakers like Toyota realized this opportunity and came up with the three-row crossover the 2018 Highlander. The Highlander, a soft-roader that looks more like an SUV and offers a good amount of cabin and cargo space with comfortable ride quality and satisfactory handling.

2018 Toyota Highlander

The 2018 Highlander comes in six trims where the base LE trims offer the choice of an inline-4 engine or the V6 whereas the higher trims come with V6 as standard. The Toyota Highlander received a major facelift last year and this year it is a carryover model. Thus there has been a minimal $600 price increment and now the 2018 Highlander comes with a starting price of $31,230 and goes up to $46,860 for the Limited Platinum trim with a V6 and AWD. 

2018 Toyota Highlander Latest Updates

  • Oct' 16, 2021 : Updated 2022 Toyota Highlander Launched With A New Hybrid-Only Bronze Edition Read More »
See detailed review »

Pros

Standard safety features

Punchy V6 engine

Upscale cabin

Fuel efficient V6 engine

Cons

Cramped third row seats

Underpowered base engine

Infotainment isn't easy to use

Exhibits lot of body roll

What's New?

The 2018 Toyota Highlander is a carryover model.


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$34740

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

8

top speed

115 mph

drivetrain

all wheel drive

engine type

displacement

211 cu.in.

horsepower

295 hp @ 6600 rpm

torque

263 lb.-ft. @ 4700 rpm

transmission

8 speed Automatic

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

capacity

passenger volume

144.9 cu ft.

cargo volume

83.7 cu ft.

towing capacity

5000 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.2 sec.

zero to 100 mph

18.4 sec.

rolling start 5-60 mph

7.5

standing 1/4-mile

15.5 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

181 ft.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

19/22/26 mpg

highway range

499.2 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

LE$33,280 onwards

Limited$42,280 onwards

LE Plus$35,660 onwards

SE$40,290 onwards

Limited Platinum$45,400 onwards

XLE$39,120 onwards

Colors and Styles

2018 Toyota Highlander in blizzard pearl color
blizzard pearl

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.0

Engine and Performance

6.0

Fuel Economy

6.0

Interior

7.8

Exterior

5.0

Safety

8.0

7.3

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.3

Overall Rating


The 2018 Toyota Highlander is a carryover model with prices starting at $31,230. The 2018 Highlander offers two engine options a 2.7-liter inline-4 engine and a 3.5-liter V6 engine. The former is only available on the base LE trim while the latter is optional on the base trim and standard on all the trim above the base. The four-pot engine is best avoided due to low power and mediocre gas mileage. The V6 on the other hand matches the gas mileage of the four-pot and delivers better performance and pulling power. A well-equipped Highlander powered by V6 can tow up to 5,000 lbs.

2018 Toyota Highlander Front Three-Quarter View

The cabin of the Highlander is among the best from Toyota in terms of quality and comfort. The Highlander courtesy of its soft suspension setup offers a comfortable ride quality but lackluster handling. The standard features list of the Highlander offered at a price that is similar to its lesser equipped rivals is the main talking point here. Except for a couple of driver-assist features, all the safety features are standard right from the base trim which further sweetens the pot for the customers. That said, the Toyota Highlander falls in a fiercely contested segment rivaling the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.


8.0/10
Features

6.0/10
Engine and Performance

6.0/10
Fuel Economy

7.8/10
Interior

5.0/10
Exterior

8.0/10
Safety


2018 Toyota Highlander Features

8.0/10

The 2018 Highlander is a three-row SUV from Toyota which comes in as many as six trims namely LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited, and Limited Platinum. The base LE trim starts at $31,230 for the 2.5-liter inline-4 engine while the LE trim powered by the 3.5-liter V6 engine starts at $33,230. The inline-4 engine can only be had as FWD while the V6 engine has an option of having FWD or AWD configuration. The standard safety features like adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam, lane departure alert are bundled in Toyota Safety Sense while features like forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking are bundled in Toyota's Pre-Collision System. Both the bundles are standard right from the base trim.

2018 Toyota Highlander Side View

The LE Plus trim priced at $35,660 adds a power tailgate and driver's seat with upgraded upholstery. Moving to the higher trims you will add more creature comfort features while the XLE trim starting at $39,120 adds a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. The SE trim is the sporty version based on the XLE trim and commands a price of $40,290. The Limited trim is priced at $42,280 and adds mostly creature comfort and luxury features. The topmost trim Limited Platinum starts at $45,400 and maxes out at $46,860, it is based on the Limited trim and adds a surround-view camera, larger sunroof, and a few more features.

Trims LE LE Plus XLE SE Limited Limited Platinum
MSRP I-4 (FWD) $31,230 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
MSRP V6 (FWD) $33,280 $35,660 $39,120 $40,290 $42,280 $45,400
MSRP V6 (AWD) $34,740 $37,120 $40,580 $41,750 $43,740 $46,860
Features 18-inch alloy wheels Adds or upgrades to 'LE' Adds or upgrades to 'LE Plus' Adds or upgrades to 'XLE' Adds or upgrades to 'XLE' Adds or upgrades to 'Limited'
  Toyota Safety Sense Foglights Keyless entry and ignition Sports suspension Rear parking sensors 360-degree parking camera
  6.1-inch touchscreen w/ six-speaker sound system 8-inch touchscreen Heated front seats 19-inch alloy wheels 19-inch alloy wheels Front parking sensors
  Heated mirrors Power liftgate w/ height adjustability Sunroof Sporty interior and exterior trims Heated and ventilated front seats Panoramic sunroof
  Rearview camera Power-adjustable driver's seat Blind-spot monitor w/ rear-cross traffic alert LED running lights Heated second-row captain's chair Automatic wipers
  Toyota's Pre-Collision System Upgraded upholstery and interior trims Leather upholstery (first two rows) and simulated leather upholstery (third-row)   12-speaker JBL audio system Heated steering wheel
  Height adjustable driver's seat Three-zone automatic climate control Auto-dimming rearview mirror      

We Recommend:

For the starting price of under forty grand, the XLE trim is the most value-for-money offering in the 2018 Highlander's trim lineup. So we suggest picking the XLE trim which not only comes with the powerful V6 engine but also adds the nifty blind-spot monitor and rear-cross traffic alert system which is a must for an SUV this size. 

2018 Toyota Highlander Engine and Performance

6.0/10

The base engine’s 185 horses haven’t kept up with the Highlander’s growing dimensions. Trust us, if you carry more than two people, need power for passing and merging or pull a small trailer, the V6 is the engine you’ll want (and need)” – KBB

2018 Toyota Highlander Engine and Transmission

The 2018 Toyota Highlander gets two engine options. The 2.7-liter inline-4 engine is available only on the base LE trim and puts out 185 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and is available only as an FWD model. The other engine offered on the Highlander is the 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out a meaty 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and comes standard with FWD while AWD is available as an option.

2018 Toyota Highlander V6 Engine

The four-pot engine isn't cut for this heavy three-row crossover and neither offers power and performance nor is fuel-efficient. The V6 engine on the other hand is high in power and performance and matches the fuel economy of the base engine. Thus this should be the default choice for most buyers.

Models 2018 Toyota Highlander 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2018 Ford Explorer
MSRP $33,280 $33,330 $30,895 $32,140
Engine 3.5-liter V6 3.5-liter V6 3.6-liter V6 3.5-liter V6
Power 295 hp @ 6600 rpm 280 hp @ 6000 rpm 295 hp @ 6400 rpm 290 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque 263 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm 260 hp @ 4800 rpm 255 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

Clearly, the Toyota Highlander is the most powerful among all the V6-powered SUVs here while the Jeep Grand Cherokee that puts out similar power and slightly lower torque is the cheapest V6 powered SUV among all.

2018 Toyota Highlander Acceleration

The 2018 Toyota Highlander powered by the V6  engine can do 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds flat while it covers the quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds. On the other hand, the inline-4 engine powered Highlander does the 0-60 mph run in a lousy 8.5 seconds and takes another 9.3 seconds to cover the quarter-mile.

Models 2018 Toyota Highlander 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2018 Ford Explorer
0 – 60 MPH (sec) 7.0 seconds 6.2 seconds 7.1 seconds 7.7 seconds
Quarter-mile (sec) 15.6 seconds 14.8 seconds 15.4 seconds 16.0 seconds
Engine 3.5-liter V6 3.5-liter V6 3.6-liter V6 3.5-liter V6

The less powerful yet the lightest Honda Pilot is the fastest accelerating SUV among all. The Pilot does 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds, taking 0.8 seconds less than the Highlander, while it covers the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds which is again 0.8 seconds less than what the Highlander took.

2018 Toyota Highlander Ride and Handling

The three-row crossover Highlander is tuned for a comfortable ride quality which remains the major criteria for most of the buyers in this segment. Although the softer suspension setup lets the handling go for a toss. Around the corners, the Highlander experiences a lot of body roll and needs constant steering correction at highway speeds.

2018 Toyota Highlander Driving

Speaking of the steering, it lacks any form of feel and feedback although it remains light for most of the part, and combined that with its smaller turning radius piloting this big SUV from tight spaces or taking a U-turn is very easy. That said, there is an SE trim with sports-tuned suspension which does offer improved handling but stiffens up the ride quality in the process.

2018 Toyota Highlander Braking

The 2018 Toyota Highlander under panic braking took 181 feet to stop from 70-0 mph. The Highlander despite its 4,398 pounds curb weight manages to brake effectively with minimal fade and the 12.9-inches front and 12.2-inches rear disc brakes do their job well in stopping this beast. 

Models 2018 Toyota Highlander 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2018 Ford Explorer
Brake Rotor – Front (in) 12.9 12.6 13.0 12.8
Brake Rotor – Rear (in) 12.2 13.0 13.0 12.8
Curb Weight (lbs.) 4,398 4,074 4,545 4,453
70 – 0 MPH (ft.) 181 182 168 177

In this comparison, the Jeep Grand Cherokee with the biggest brake setup stops in a record 168 feet from 70-0 mph which is 13 feet less than what the Highlander took to stop from the same speed.

2018 Toyota Highlander Towing Capacity

The Toyota Highlander powered by the V6 is a capable machine and can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Models 2018 Toyota Highlander 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2018 Ford Explorer
Towing Capacity (lbs.) 5,000 3,500 3,500

2,000

None of the rivals can match, forget about beating the towing capacity of the 2018 Highlander.

2018 Toyota Highlander Fuel Economy

6.0/10

The 2018 Toyota Highlander powered by the base inline-4 engine returns a mediocre 20 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. While the more powerful V6 engine-powered 2018 Highlander has an EPA estimated gas mileage of 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. Thus compared to the base inline-4 engine the V6 offers better gas mileage for the power it puts out.

Models 2018 Toyota Highlander 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2018 Ford Explorer
MPG (City) 19 19 19 17
MPG (Highway) 26 27 26 24
MPG (Combined) 22 22 21 20
Fuel Capacity (gallons) 19.2 19.5 24.6 18.6

Both the Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot are among the most fuel-efficient V6-powered SUV here although the Pilot takes a slight edge here by offering one mpg more on the highway compared to the Highlander.

2018 Toyota Highlander Interior

7.8/10

Heated leather front seats are as comfy as furniture and offer tons of adjustment, including extendable thigh support.” – Edmunds

2018 Toyota Highlander Seating and Comfort

The cabin of the 20108 Toyota Highlander features a clean and simple layout with material quality ranging from good to budget-grade depending on where you are looking. The only chink in its armor is the not so ergonomically laid-out infotainment control with some of the control placed too far from being in driver's comfortable reach. That said, the overall visibility is great. A rearview camera and rear parking sensor available right from the base trim helps in parking while the 360-degree surround-view camera is only available on the top-end Limited Platinum trim. 

2018 Toyota Highlander Dashboard

The comfortable and spacious seats are another USP of the cabin of the Highlander although the same is applicable only for the first two rows as the third-row seats are short in legroom and best suited for kids. A large family in the Highlander will be at home with plenty of USB charging ports scattered inside the cabin and AC vents all around for keeping the cabin cool. The LE Plus and above trim gets automatic three-zone automatic climate control as standard while rear-seat entertainment is available as an option on XLE and above trims to keep the passengers entertained over a long journey.

Models 2018 Toyota Highlander 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2018 Ford Explorer

Passenger capacity

8

8

5 7

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

40.7/ 59.3/ 44.2

40.1/ 62.0/ 40.9

39.9/ 58.7/ 40.3 41.4/ 61.5/ 42.9

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

39.9/ 59.6/ 38.4

40.2/ 62.0/ 38.4 39.2/ 58.0/ 38.6 40.6/ 61.0/ 39.5

Third (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

35.9/ 55.0/ 27.7

38.9/ 57.6/ 31.9

N/A

37.8/ 50.8/ 32.0

Except for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, even though it has the longest wheelbase among all, all the other SUVs offer three-row of seating. In terms of overall cabin space without doubt the Ford Explorer offers the best space in all three rows while the next closest to it is the Honda Pilot in terms of cabin space.

2018 Toyota Highlander Cabin

Interior Features:

  • Height-adjustable driver's seats
  • Rear AC vents
  • Rear privacy glass
  • 60/40-split folding second and third-row seats
  • Available power-adjustable front seats
  • Available heated and ventilated front seats
  • Available second-row heated captain's chair 
  • Available leather upholstery

2018 Toyota Highlander Infotainment System

The infotainment system of the 2018 Toyota Highlander is a 6.1-inch touchscreen as standard which comes with features like a CD player, Bluetooth, six-speaker sound system, etc. While the LE Plus and higher trims get an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with higher resolution. This setup adds a bunch of smartphone connection apps, satellite radio, HD radio, etc. 

2018 Toyota Highlander Infotainment

The infotainment system isn't very user-friendly and takes time to get accustomed to its function. That said, higher trims like XLE and above adds features like a navigation system, 12-speaker JBL sound system, rear-seat entertainment system, etc.

2018 Toyota Highlander Cargo Capacity

The 2018 Toyota Highlander offers 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space with all the seats up. While both the second and third-row seats offer either 60/40-split fold or complete fold to liberate more space.

2018 Toyota Highlander Trunk

With the third row folded the Highlander gets 42.3 cubic feet of cargo space while with the third and second row folded the Highlander has a maximum cargo capacity of 83.7 cubic feet.

Models 2018 Toyota Highlander 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2018 Ford Explorer

Cargo Volume to seats 1 (ft.3)

83.7

83.8

68.3

80.7

Cargo Volume to seats 2 (ft.3)

42.3

46.8

36.3

43.8

Cargo Volume to seats 3 (ft.3)

13.8

16.5 N/A 21.0

Both the Ford Explorer and the Honda Pilot offer better cargo capacity than the Highlander with all the seats up. While the Pilot and Highlander offer almost similar maximum cargo capacity.

2018 Toyota Highlander Exterior

5.0/10

"The 2018 Highlander’s grille is huge, following the big-grille trend that’s been stylish for the past few years." -KellyBlueBook

2018 Toyota Highlander Dimension and Weight

The 2018 Toyota Highlander carries forward the last year's design with no change whatsoever. Last year's update gave it a Lexus-like front grille with slim and sharp headlights flanking from the side. Opting for the SE trim reduces the bling by substituting exterior chrome bits with black finished trims.

2018 Toyota Highlander Front Three-Quarter View

On the sides, the profile of the Highlander remains neutral with a high shoulder line and prominent wheel arches to suggest it's a rugged SUV. At the rear, the things are simple with not much to talk about. That said, the Highlander sits 192.5-inches long with 109.8-inches of wheelbase between its wheels. 

Models 2018 Toyota Highlander 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2018 Ford Explorer
Curb Weight (lbs.) 4,398 4,074 4,545 4,453
Length (in) 192.5 194.5 189.8 198.7
Width (in) 75.8 78.6 76.5 78.9
Height (in) 68.1 69.8 68.1 70.0
Wheelbase (in) 109.8 111.0 114.8 112.8
Ground Clearance (in) 8.0 7.3 8.6 7.8

Dimension wise the Highlander isn't the biggest SUV here and that goes on to prove why it lags in terms of cabin space. The Explorer is the one with the best length, width, and height among all while the Grand Cherokee has the longest wheelbase with the highest ground clearance among all. 

2018 Toyota Highlander Rear Three-Quarter View

Exterior Features:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Automatic headlights
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • Available foglights
  • Available roof rails
  • Available sunroof
  • Available power liftgate
  • Available 19-inch alloy wheels

2018 Toyota Highlander Safety

8.0/10

Except for the blind-spot monitor with rear-cross traffic alert the 2018 Toyota Highlander offers most of the advanced safety features right from the base trim. As a result, the NHTSA gave the 2018 Highlander a perfect score in the overall safety rating with a perfect score in the side crash test and a four out of five-stars rating the front crash and rollover mitigation test. The IIHS on the other hand gave the top rating of 'Good' to the Highlander in five out of six parameters while the small-overlap front passenger-side crash test was rated the second-best 'Acceptable' by IIHS.

2018 Toyota Highlander IIHS Crash Test

Safety Features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Automatic high beam
  • Lane departure warning
  • Available blind-spot monitor w/ rear cross-traffic alert

2018 Toyota Highlander Competition

2018 Toyota Highlander vs 2018 Honda Pilot

Among all its rivals the Honda Pilot remains the Highlander's toughest competitor. It has a similar price tag but a less powerful V6 engine. Although its lighter curb weight helps it beat the Highlander in the 0-60 mph and quarter-mile runs. Also, the Pilot in terms of ride and handling fares better than the Highlander but it can't tow as much as the Highlander.

2018 Honda Pilot

Coming to the cabin the Pilot offers better space and cargo capacity than the Highlander while the cabin quality is more or less the same on both the SUVs. That said, the only major advantage that the Highlander has over the Pilot is its long list of standard features and safety systems which otherwise in Pilot are limited to higher trims.

2018 Toyota Highlander vs 2018 Ford Explorer

If the cabin space and overall practicality had been the deciding factor between the two SUVs then the Ford Explorer is the clear winner here hands down. But for a prospective buyer of this segment, this is not the only thing that matters instead the overall product is valued, and based on that the best between the two is decided.

2018 Ford Explorer

On that note, the Explorer lacks in terms of power, towing capacity, and gas mileage compared to the Highlander. While ride and handling of both the SUVs are in the same league. The cabin quality of the Explorer also falls behind that of the Highlander. So, as said earlier had it been for space and practicality then the Explorer is the clear winner but as a whole picture, you need to choose the one that suits your needs.

2018 Toyota Highlander Final Verdict

The 2018 Toyota Highlander is kind of jack of all trades but master of none. It has a powerful engine but isn't the quickest in terms of acceleration. It can tow more than the rivals but not everyone needs daily towing. The Highlander offers a roomy cabin but the Pilot and the Explorer is a notch above in that. If you want to take the Highlander off-road then it will fare similar to what its other rivals can except the Jeep Grand Cherokee. So the main play point for the Highlander remains the associated reliability of the T-badge and long list of features with almost all the safety and driver-assist features available right from the base trim. 

FAQs on the 2018 Toyota Highlander

Is the 2018 Toyota Highlander reliable?

The 2018 Toyota Highlander got a J.D.Power predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 and that puts it in an above-average reliability category.

What kind of gas should I put in the 2018 Toyota Highlander?

The 2018 Toyota Highlander runs on regular gasoline.

What is the gas mileage of the 2018 Toyota Highlander?

The 2018 Highlander powered by the 2.7-liter inline-4 engine returns gas mileage of 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway while the 2018 Highlander powered by the 3.5-liter V6 engine returns gas mileage of 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

How much can the 2018 Toyota Highlander tow?

The 2018 Toyota Highlander has a towing capacity of 1,500 to 5,000 pounds.

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