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We had a Jeep Liberty that literally fell apart in the 2 years that we owned it. I wish I had stripped off the plastic kick plate (?) when we first got the thing. Here in North Central Vermont the plastics totally wrecked the rocker panels and made our Liberty a junkyard ornament. So now we have a 2004 Toyota Highlander. It came from a warmer Southern climate and was well cared for. It is a Limited version and has all the goodies including heated seats and a sun/moon roof. All we wanted was a good car with a clean body that wasn't about to die. 

I'm still learning about the Highlander so I am not exactly sure how this SUV qualifies as a 4x4, but that's what the tag says. So far we have gotten 17.5 MPG with combined driving so I'm a little confused as to why a 3.3 L V6 gets that kind of fuel mileage if not for the weather we've had and the use of 4x4 as needed. We've had it for about a month now and it rides like a cloud on pillows compared to the Liberty. I'm also glad to have room for my knees. If you have never had a Jeep Liberty, and you have the chance to drive one, give it a try. You'll appreciate your vehicle that much more. I suppose after 2 years you get really tired of things like that.

I'm not sure if Moses would allow a Highlander addition to this sight, but it would be interesting to know what has been tried and what has been accomplished with the Highlander 4x4. If you drive one, let me know what you think, and about its longevity. Ours has just over 103,000 miles on it now. I can't wait to drive it this summer without the heated seats on.

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BadDriver4x4, you just opened the first discussion on the Highlander and prompted a new sub-forum entry.  Your preowned 2004 Highlander sounds like a wise buy...Let's trust that you've started something by opening the conversation here.  Perhaps more Toyota SUV owners will jump into the discussion about their all-wheel drive vehicles!  For those unfamiliar with the Highlander, this press-type photo should provide insight:

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As a confession, we bought a new Jeep KJ Liberty in 2002.  My wife actually liked some of its features and its driving ease.  There were minuscule signs that Daimler's German engineering was present when the Liberty came to life. 

I was out from under the ether of the new car smell within the first 10,000 miles.  The Liberty had it's share of recalls and could frighten a seasoned driver with its scary handling in a crosswind with a cargo rack on top.  One round of spark plug changing on the 3.7L V-6 convinced me this was not a reasonable vehicle to service.  It took tricks I had acquired in a lifetime of wrenching to remove and install the plugs.  They fit at the inside (intake manifold side) of the cylinder heads:  My tip for anyone changing 3.7L spark plugs is to use a piece of rubber fuel hose to hold the plug ceramic and start the threads;  this will reduce the risk of cross-threading the spark plugs at this awkward position!  Vacuum around each spark plug before removing the plugs to prevent debris from falling into the cylinders.

Convinced that this car-like 4x4 was not our cup of tea, by 2004 we were ready to part company with the Liberty—and willing to take the expected depreciation bath.  Sale of the vehicle led to purchasing our Dodge Ram 3500 4x4 Quad-Cab (see the Member Photo Gallery), quite a contrast with its Cummins turbo diesel.  Bought new (see my "Speaking Out!" blog for insights into what I think of buying new vehicles today), the Ram is a keeper at 165K miles. 

On a go-forward, we're perfectly content to buy and drive preowned vehicles.  Over 80% of our vehicles have been preowned.  All vehicles become "used" when they roll over the dealership's curb with a temporary registration on the windshield and a paper plate.

Pleased that you like your Highlander...Toyota quality!



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