The 2002 Toyota Highlander blends a station wagon, a minivan, and a sport utility vehicle and could just about fool you into thinking you were driving a car. It uses the same platform as the Lexus RX300 which just happens to be based on the Toyota Camry mechanicals, slightly modified. It proves longer, taller, and wider than the Lexus, and it rides on a fully independent suspension. The Highlander serves as Toyota's fifth member of its SUV lineup.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 2.4-liter I-4, 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Toyota Highlander, Toyota Highlander Limited
Nothing starts new for the 2002 Toyota Highlander.
The Highlander represents a Camry on steroids and shares the same platform as the Lexus RX300. It looks close in size to its elder sibling, the Toyota 4Runner. The Highlander measures 184.4 inches long and rides on a 106.9-inch wheelbase. It stands just over 66 inches high and about 71.5 inches wide. The 2002 Toyota Highlander comes fitted with a liftgate in the rear. It features prominent fender creases and squared-off roof pillar styling, setting it apart from the RX300's slanted design.
The 2002 Toyota Highlander seats five with two bucket seats up front and a split-folding rear bench seat for three. A high ceiling and decent legroom for everyone make the Highlander a comfortable choice for a small family since it offers no third-row seating. Cargo space reaches an impressive 81.4 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down and totals a sufficient 38.5 cubic feet with the seat in use.
The interior features air-conditioning, a CD/cassette stereo with six speakers, cruise control, and a tilt steering wheel. Bottle holders and grocery bag hooks finish the suburbanite SUV off nicely. Upgrading to the more luxurious Limited gets you a JBL sound system, automatic climate control, wood grain interior trim, privacy glass, and remote keyless entry into the comfort zone. V-6 models feature leather upholstery.
Performance & Handling
The 2002 Toyota Highlander comes standard with the 155-horsepower, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine teamed with a four-speed automatic transmission. A 3.0-liter V-6 with 220 horsepower remains optional. You can choose front drive or all-wheel drive that remains permanently engaged, but with no low range.
The Highlander offers a smooth ride with confident, capable handling. Acceleration moves great from a standstill, but expect to give it a little extra push at midrange speeds. Overall, the Highlander seems easy to drive with good steering feel.
Safety features in the 2002 Toyota Highlander include standard anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist. Toyota also offers Vehicle Skid Control (VSC). VSC applies selective braking to bring the Highlander back under control if it doesn’t respond to the driver's steering input.
Five three-point seat belts and whiplash injury lessening (WIL) front seats provide additional safety features. Options include side airbags and daytime running lights.
EPA Fuel Economy
Toyota Highlander: 19/25 mpg city/highway
- Generous interior
- Rides and handles like a car
- Lively V-6 engine
You Won't Like
- Low rear seat
- No third-row seating
- Limited towing ability
A smooth ride for the small family seeking an SUV.
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