Nearing 2 years and my highlander hasn’t missed a beat. It has lived up to all rave owner reviews, which turned out to be more honest and objective than the paid reviewers who are constrained in giving this car too much praise, lest they offend the brand snobs that make up good percentage of their readership.
Getting back to the car, the pro’s are many: The powerful enough yet economical engine, it performed better than paid reviews and urban consumption under my lead foot, car loaded with kids is 9.5. Not bad for a vehicle of this weight. The interior is quiet, comfortable and features memory seats. If you share the driving with the missus, memory seats are a must, which was not available in any other make unless you stepped to an audi. This was the deal clincher for us, that and the third row seats opening and folding away effortlessly, unlike the seats in the poorly designed territory. The third row looks cramped but can easily seat two teenagers. The other major pro was the modern, forward thinking exterior, that other makes (see Mazda) are starting to copy. There is no comparison, the ugly Kluger, Territory and Pathfinder look like boxes on wheels alongside, a good decade behind in looks.
The cons are not much boot room left if third row is in use, this is an occasional 7 seater and not an ideal people mover. If you are planning on traveling with all 7 seats, an investment in roof cargo will be necessary. The only other con is that steering on comfort feels too soft and best to keep it on sports or normal.
Aside from that, this car ticks all the boxes and nothing in this price range comes close in styling, equipment list, fuel economy and performance aside from it’s KIA cousin the Sorrento. Ignore the brand snobs attack this car vehemently, the Santa has destroyed a lot of assumptions causing many a severe case of cognitive dissonance. And this is mostly an Australian phenomena, isolated from the world, the less informed among us haven’t noticed the lightening speed at which Korean car makers have overtaken more established marquees of late.