The Highlander doesn’t get the kind of attention lavished on the Toyota Prius or the Camry, which continues to anchor the Japanese automaker’s line-up as the best-selling passenger cars in the U.S.
However, the Toyota Highlander represents one of the Japanese giant’s more successful forays into the truck side of the business where, despite the enormous popularity of its brand, it has encountered some disappointments over the years, notably with the tepid response to the Tundra, its full size pickup truck.
The Highlander came into the U.S. market in 2001 as Toyota was accelerating its ambitious plans to overtake General Motors as the world’s largest automaker. It was Toyota’s entry into the fast growing-midsized utility markets and was one of the first SUVs constructed around a unibody, rather than truck-like body-on-frame, platform. And it caught on, in part, because of the company’s reputation for building durable and reliable vehicles.