The Highlander was the first car-based, mid-sized SUV in its price range. The refined and effortless powertrain is combined with a supple ride and easy access. These serve to enhance the spacious, quiet, and comfortable interior to make Highlander a pleasant vehicle for everyday driving. Emergency handling could be more capable, but it's secure enough overall. In sum, the Highlander is a very good choice.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Owner Satisfaction with:

Driving Experience

Includes acceleration and handling

What Owners Say

"most dependable car I have even owned.."

EILEEN M., NJ (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Its not a perfect drive, but overall its 5 times better than my Civic. Acceleration is good and driving/handling is easy, comfortable and fun."

MICHAEL G., MA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Merges well.. Stability controls are very comfortable and dependable."

NORM S., OH (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"My 2002 is and has been an awesome auto"

Anonymous, AZ (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This car has get up and go power, I love that."

JUDY C., WY (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I drive like a bat out of hell and this car allows me to do that."

C T., TN (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Overall satisfied"

JOSEPH F., BC (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"fuel mileage should be better. Needs a 5 or 6 speed trqnsmission."

Anonymous, MD (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I've been spoiled by the way this car drives and handles. Absolutely love it."

NANCY L., GA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"lots of acceleration using priemium gas (alway comfortable I wish the front leg room was longer"

J K., ON (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"At 200k+ miles this SUV still performs wonderfully. After driving it for 160k miles ourselves (including many off road beach miles) it has cost us very little (except for water and mouse damage that was "Driver Error") this vehicle goes easily through 12" plus deep snow too. This car has done Everthing we've asked of it and more without complaining. I've had to have some brake work done because of extensive beach driving. (Caliper actuators get clogged with sand) I could sing this cars praises f"

DONALD C., VA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"should have got a bigger engine"

PETER-LAURA A., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Vehicle has extraordinary acceleration when needed, without any kind of engine hesitation or failure. Handling has been compliant, without any need for compensation on my part."

THOMAS S., TX (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"comfortable, easy handling, responsive. Nice trip car and also convenient around town"

Anonymous, VA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"It's a great car."

David C., IN (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"surprising pep on acceleration; handles very responsively to driver's desires."

Anonymous, OH (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Good acceleration and handling."

Anonymous, CO (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Still rides and runs great."

Rick M., FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"It's been a pleasure to drive for many years and is both reliable, durable and stylish."

Joan M., MD (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"For a SUV, the acceleration and handling are exceptional."

Richard K., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This car has good pick up and acceleration, with no hesitation. It is easy to turn, with good turning radius, and easy to park."

Ann B., IL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The highlander is all wheel drive and handling in snow and icy weather is superb"

Tony A., ON (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Overall build quality and style for age of vehicle."

Anonymous, BC (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"V6 is really quick and strong, traction is great."

Van M., TX (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"It drives beautifully. Smooth, responsive and stomping on the gas pedal it goes into overdrive instantly to move me forward immediately and faster than before."

Carla R., WA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Acceleration has been instantaneous and super smooth, almost like an electric car."

Anonymous, WA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Poor acceleration for a V-6. It always feels strained. Handling is just OK even for a mid-size SUV. Braking is OK."

Anonymous, NE (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Drives and handles well and is comfortable. Acceleration seems good yet not as good as several years ago."

Anonymous, VA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Power is great."

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"A very stable and sure riding vehicle with great visibility."

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I had a terrifying experience of what Toyota called "unintended acceleration". The car kept accelerating when I was slamming the brake petal. Toyota could find no cause. Luckily I put it in neutral and was able to stop the car without crashing."

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Ride of a car, flexibility of a pick up."

Gregg E., WI (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"GOOD MID-RANGE ACCELERATION, GOOD ICY ROAD HANDLING"

Anonymous, AK (2002 Toyota Highlander)

Comfort

Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say

"Love the automated seat position control. SOOO much better than reaching down for a handle to move the seat position."

WENDY B., MO (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Everything excellent except passenger side seat comfort. This is only fair."

Anonymous, KS (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Bought this from my Brother at 40k miles. Like new. Now have 200k+. We've used this SUV by driving in the sand on the beaches of Hatteras, NC since 2004 at least two weeks a year since 2004. Same exhaust system. Original! Replaced a donut gasket. That's all. Trans and engine very sound. I drive it from my home in Richmond Va to my second home in Clearwater Florida w/o a care. Comfortable to drive. Handles well. Leather still looks great. We hope to find another of this body style with lower mile"

DONALD C., VA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"So quiet and smooth inside the cabin."

Anonymous, IL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"AC control never worked well in auto mode. After we had to replace the copmpressor and condenser, the auto control setting started working quite well. Mystery!"

JACOB H., MA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"We take it to visit our son two states away. We are very comfortable for the entire trip."

Anonymous, WA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I am 6'4"tall - long trip seating comfort is marginal"

Anonymous, FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I love my Highlander so much that I have worn out the driver's seat! Outer edge seams on seat and seatback front edge nearest the door have opened and cushion foam is exposed and leaking out in small bits. It is only cosmetic, but maybe they could design it so those areas are reinforced with heavier or double-layer material - you rub or brush over these vulnerable areas every time you get in and out of the car."

SUE L., NC (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The seats are very comfortable relative to my height as a woman that is 5' 1". The change I would make is to have a lever to move the seat forward and backwards rather than that button you have to push and wait for it to very very slowly adjust your seat forward or backwards."

LINDA T., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The Seats are very comfortable, functional with good support. The climate is easy to use and consistent. Tire choices are the only thing that had an affect on noise."

NORM S., OH (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This car is 14 years old and the seats are still very comfortable.. Having bad knees and back and driving cross country at least ones a year, no problems with sitting long distances. Our next car will be a Toyota Highlander again!"

A T., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This is my first SUV and I am absolutely delighted. It has a small V4 and relatively good mileage (average 26 according to the books). The best part is the ride: very comfortable seats, good sound-deadening body, and relatively smooth ride even on bumpy roads. Plus the height of the driver improves the view and driving satisfaction. Climate control is fine (no problems with either heat or cold air)."

MICHAEL G., MA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Drives like a Lexus sedan...smooth compared to other SUVs that drive like trucks."

NANCY N., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The car is comfortable good visibility and low noise. I wish it were more stiffly sprung with stiffer shocks so it would handle a little better. The automatic transmission is always shifting when I don't want it to (it only has 4 gears). Consequently for mountain driving I find myself locking it into 3rd or 2nd gear."

Elisabeth B., CO (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Incredible reliability, 357000 miles and mostly just general maintenance,and very comfortable front and back. Very surefooted AWD in all weather conditions in mountainous region we live in"

Anonymous, CO (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"For a 15 year old car, it has held up remarkably well--comfortable seat, no rattles, 'lots over potholes"

Richard T., WA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This car has very comfortable seats which are fully adjustable. The car is comfortable on long rides. It is quiet inside. The ride is smooth. It is a pleasure to drive."

Ann B., IL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Very quiet ride"

Anonymous, MB (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Perfect sized SUV, big enough to handle everything we need, but small enough to easily fit in our urban garage and not too difficult to park. Great ride for road trips, handles rough roads and winter weather when we needed."

John M., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Seats are comfortable and the ride is good. I feel like I'm either sitting too close to the pedals or too far from the steering wheel. If my legs are comfortable, I'm reaching for the wheel. On a long drive, it's enough that my shoulders begin to ache."

Anonymous, NE (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This car has been a real workhorse--very capable over a variety of roads and with diverse loads. After 15 years of exemplary service, it still is quiet, smooth, and reliable."

Thomas B., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The seats are very comfortable. The noise level with highway driving is noisy."

Jan B., MT (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"They lack lumbar support. When we replace the car, we will look for a car with lumbar support."

Anonymous, NC (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Very comfortable ride"

Richard K., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"comfort of seat is average as is the noise and ride."

Anonymous, FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The 2002 Highlander accelerates so smoothly and powerfully it feels like driving an electric car. It’s reliability has been amazing. We chose cloth seats, which are harder than we would like."

Anonymous, WA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"My first SUV. Impressed with smooth ride and quiet interior."

Gregg E., WI (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The Highlander -- at 16 years old -- is still very quiet on the open road. I am a big guy (6'2") and the legroom is sufficient."

David S., MI (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The seating position is comfortable and high enough and the visiability is excellent so it is easy to see your surroundings clearly so you can drive in a safe manner."

A T., CO (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Seats not comfortable; lot of wind noise."

David T., AZ (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Very comfortable even after all these years. Big plus 6 way seats and leather"

Vito V., NY (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"To much highway noise"

Bruce S., AR (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"After 16 years, still giving service. Good quality price"

Sylvain P., QC (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Noise is a problem on highway"

Anonymous, IL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"very comfortable driving position and smooth ride."

Alfred T., FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The seats are big and comfortable with electric power."

Anonymous, WA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"It rides ok for the type vehicle it is, but could be smoother. At my age I like the softer ride..I'm 88."

John R., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"My wife loves the seating but I am 5'11" and I always bang my knees on something getting in and out. Not enough knee room. The seats never go back far enough and there is not enough adjustment in the steering column."

Jack H., GA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Seats and ride are pretty good for a midsize SUV with as many miles as this has. It's a bit noisy, especially with sunroof open or rear window partially open. Position of luggage rack crossbars makes a big difference."

Anonymous, NE (2002 Toyota Highlander)

Value

Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

What Owners Say

"Turned out to be an excellent year for this model. No major issues. Occasional battery replacement, brakes, else reliable."

Anonymous, FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Holds value. Con assisted power steering"

MARGOT M., FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"You can't argue with the value when you still have most of the original equipment on a 14 year old car with over 200,000 miles on it!"

Anonymous, CT (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I have owned 2 Toyotas. Brand new Celica 14 yrs, 2 yr old Highlander 14 yrs. Both had the transmission go out about year 10. Dealership says this is standard with Toyota. For this reason, next SUV I may try a Subaru."

NANCY N., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"145000 miles and no major problems, what more can you want!"

JEROME K., VA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Vehicle has been extremely reliable, and there have been no costly unexpected repairs."

THOMAS S., TX (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This is a 14 year old vehicle that has been in several fender benders and a wreck over the years. It has been repaired, and STILL keeps going, and has been worth every penny."

Anonymous, AR (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I got it used with 90k miles, I have had really no major issues cost wise, but the low mpg despite a 4cylinder 2WD is what is difficult to get over now"

Anonymous, MN (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"We purchased the car new and have, so far, been happy with it."

Anonymous, OH (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"safe, sturdy, stable, AWD were all factors we wanted and got"

Anonymous, MD (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The care was expensive when we bought it new in 2002; however, it has served us well for all these years."

Anonymous, FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I have 160,000 miles on this car. I bought it for $30k and it is still reliable, drives well and looks pretty good. I certainly got my money's worth."

HELEN C., FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This vehicle was extremely well maintained. Its' appearance and handling is like new for a very affordable price."

Anonymous, FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"2002 Still running with about $ 1,000 maintenance per year Car has 136,000 miles and most systems still seem OK."

Anonymous, PA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"It has performed very well for a car that is over 14 years old. Very reliable and comfortable to ride."

Anonymous, OH (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Bought used in 2003. Have driven it 148000 miles. Minor maintenance only. Still looks and drives good."

JEFFREY H., NC (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Lasted to 127,000 miles with few repairs continued comfort"

Anonymous, NC (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I bought this in 2004 from an individual for $22000. The same used vehicle with the same number of miles on it would have been $5500 more at the dealership!"

PAT D., AR (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"not enough leg room for tall drivers like myslf a great vehicle"

J K., ON (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"RELIABILITY is awesome. I've put money repairing the A/C after Las Vegas and Florida heat, a right front axle leak repair, and replaced the passenger front window motor...not bad. One of the reasons I bought Toyota."

Rick M., FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Very reliable, lots of room for people and cargo, good performance and handling, reasonably comfortable"

Harlan D., WA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"still in great shape and running well after 15 years"

J D., KS (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This car has been supplanted by much larger and more expensive versions, but after 150,000 miles with no significant problems we still find it useful and reliable. When it leaves our garage, it will go on to a family member."

Thomas B., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Very reasonable price for the features. And, have had to do nothing other than pay for routine maintenance. Will be sad when it finally gives up."

John M., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I've had this car for 15 years. It has been the best car I have ever owned. The most important aspect has been its reliability."

Helen C., FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"It is 16 years old and still going."

Anonymous, FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Seats and leather deteriorating despite regular care"

Anonymous, AZ (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The length of use with no major problems."

Anonymous, BC (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"It's a solid and as good a driver as when I bought it 15 years ago."

Richard T., WA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This vehicle is 15 years old and we have not had one issue with reliability that I can remember"

Tony A., ON (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"It has lasted a overlong time with minimal service problems. Ride and comfort are very good over long drives."

David N., IL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Vehicle has not needed any repairs except regular maintenance."

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I have had the 2002 Toyota Highlander for 15 years. I got my money worth. Other than normal maintenance, I probably put $2000 in repairs."

Anonymous, CO (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"15 years and over 355000 miles service and still going."

Anonymous, CO (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Best vehicle I have ever owned for the best. 216,000 miles and still "cherry". I will definitely buy another Toyota Highlander. Best vehicle for the money."

Ted H., MD (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Best car I have ever purchased"

Beverly H., MD (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Had the vehicle for 15 years! No major issues! Only one oxygen sensor. Plus normal tires breakes, regular oil changes. It has been an excellent car. Bought it new, but now days it is way over priced. Near 50 grand"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Aside from not having the latest tech gizmos, the car drives like new after 15 years"

Howard T., FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Sixteen years old and no problems"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Vehicle reliability is the reason I purchased this vehicle and it has proven to be reliable over the years."

Anonymous, VA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Excellent value. Great to drive as lots of power and handles well."

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"For petes sake its 16 years old and still runs with a modest amount of upkeep"

Anonymous, PA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"My 02 Toyota Highlander is the best vehicle I’ve ever owned. It now has 192,000 miles and going strong. I commute with it everyday, without fail. I tow a trailer with it and the motor is strong and tight. No need to add oil between changes...it doesn’t use any. Love it."

Eric F., MD (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I have owned the Highlander for 16 years and it has been very reliable with very few needed repairs."

Anonymous, OH (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This has been a very dependable vehicle for 16 years"

Anonymous, VA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Car is almost 17 years old. Very high quality. Got my money's worth and more."

Alfred T., FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"We ordered this Highlander 16 years ago and have loved it every day we've owned it. It has paid for itself over and over and over again, because of low maintenance and exceptional performance. I wish I could buy another new 2002 Highlander."

Bob M., WI (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I bought my 2002 Toyota Highlander Limited addition new. It has regular oil changes and washes. It is running fine and looks great. I expect to have it for another 160000 miles. This is in comparison to the 2012 Toyota Camry where the driver's side leather seat rotted after 35000 miles."

James G., FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Best car ever made. And Toyota has completely unraveled EVERYTHING that made the early Highlander my perfect car. The new car is too big for my old garage, too masculine (like all the hideous "aggressive" styling in current cars, too truck-ish, and too expensive. If I could buy a new 2002 Highlander today, I'd do in a heartbeat - but the 2018 is like being out with a self-professed macho-man."

Anonymous, ID (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"reliable-long lasting"

Anonymous, NC (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"FEW REPAIRS REQUIRED, RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION"

Anonymous, AK (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Recently, in last year, had problems with engine light coming on, expensive to correct at a dealer. Also bush and knock sensors replaced at 130,000 miles. Spent $7000 total fixing these issues. I know it is old, but didn't want to spend so much on a 15 yr old vehicle."

Anonymous, VA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"This has been the most reliable car I have ever had.....only replacements were tires, brakes and windshield wipers in 120,000 miles. I love this car."

Jerry B., CA (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"The car is EXTREMELY reliable. It runs & looks great, and I've had no major maintenance issues. It was expensive to purchase but I've had 16 years of service out of it and will continue driving it until it dies!!! Excellent fit & finish to begin with, and still looks very good. BUT my car was made in Japan and I don't know if I'd buy a US-made Highlander, as they don't seem to hold up as well."

Anonymous, FL (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Because of the excellent experience I've had with my Highlander, I will be buying another Highlander when this one gives out--whenever that is. I probably have another 7 years left on this one."

Anonymous, TX (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"In the 16 years and 88800 miles that I have owned this vehicle it has only needed routine maintenance until recently when a rear window regulator had to be replaced and all four brakes needed new pads."

A T., CO (2002 Toyota Highlander)

Styling

How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"Love it. and still appears modern"

JOSEPH F., BC (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"I like the looks of the body, it hasn't changed a lot over the years."

JUDY C., WY (2002 Toyota Highlander)

"Although it's a 2002, the styling is still contemporary. It's a nice looking vehicle."

Anonymous, WA (2002 Toyota Highlander)
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