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First let me say that no car is "PERFECT". The world is not perfect. If things in life were perfect....well, life as we know it would be so different.

I did my homework and searched out many crossovers. I have driven,owned and worked on many vehicles. The H/L caught my attention in 2001. I followed the series minor changes and chose to go with the 2006 Limited. I knew all about the Mag reviews, Opinion surveys and most important to me, the owner reviews.
I am comfortable with Toyotas as yourself. This is obvious as we are here on this great site for just this reason.

The Highlander is not perfect, but, it is very dependable. As all Toyotas are. Yu just never see one on the side of the road being towed away for mechanical reasons. (short of a collision)

I have never purchased a used Toyota.(Toyotas only since 81) Buy only new. I understand that MOST people don't buy new. That's just a true statistic.
All my past owned Toyotas were either handed down or sold to people I know, with the exception of my 84 Supra. (totaled out collision).

I always recommend Toyotas used or otherwise. If yu are used to buying used then yu know the nature of the business. I whole heartedly recommend buying the Highlander. But, I would want complete service records and one that was never in any accident or needed ANY kind of Body or Paint repair.

My MPG is not any complaint of mine. I would have gotten a Hybrid if that was a serious priority. It is something I observe as "could be better".

I can't complain of the shifting much at all. It is fly by wire 5 speed (4th and 5th are overdrives). With overdrive off the tranny feels different and more rapid shifting. I drove the H/L many hundreds of miles before I decided to buy one.

Today I am happy with it. It is a Heavy vehicle.(approx 4800lbs) Don't let the small size fool yu. It feels heavy when yu drive it. It has superior crash ratings. I would definitely seek out one with the side air curtains as my Ins. co. gave me an additional discount for having the added curtains too.
I don't have the squeaks and rattles currently that some post about.
I feel the 05-07's are as refined as Toyota can produce this first gen H/L.
My dad purchased a new 04 base V6 2wd at my reccomendation. He swears by Toyota now. MPG is way better on the 2WD. I'm not a fan of the Four. Not enough umph for the weight. Have driven it many times at the dealers. Yu decide . But, I totally recommend this crossover.
It will always be a personal call. Not all highly praised vehicles are right for everyone. There are unique nuances with any vehicle and yu have to weigh it out. A recommendation is only a recommedation. It is not finite.
Honestly, I can't say that most Highlander owners here will steer yu away from it. Go to car review.com to get more opinions. But be advised , generally these reviews can be skewed abit. You will hear from people with dealer issues and lack of knowledge H/L and their complaints.
But these reviews as a whole tell the story.

Good luck.

LT
 
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