I haven't towed with a highlander but I have towed a 23ft travel trailer with a similar sized vehicle. It worked well, no speed demon but was safe.
The vehicle was a 1978 Dodge Ramcharger with a 318 V8. I'm guessing it would be about the same weight and ride as a Highlander.
Keep in mind with a weight distributing hitch you are transfering the weight along the frame of the Highlander. The front axle and rear axle carry the load of towing. You can duplicate this by loading up the highlander with heavy items or people to match the tongue weight of the trailer to see what the ride will be like towing.
That's the clock ticking on the countdown until someone posts that Highlanders aren't "real trucks" and you should've gotten a 1-ton diesel.
Compare what your loaded camper weighs with the tow ratings of the Highlander and you'll have good info to consider. Look at the payload rating of your Highlander and be sure the tongue weight of your trailer won't overload you, or if it does make sure it isn't by much.
Only you can answer if you're satisfied with the performance. Some RVers are happy to tow all day in 3rd gear @ 55-60mph and take the mountains in 2nd @ 40mph; others want to be able to roll 70-75mph even up the big grades. Most of us are in the middle.
Hopefully some Highlander owners who tow will chime in.
BManning baking in Phoenix
-2008 F250 XLT 4x4/CC/SB
5.4L 300/365 V8 Torqshift 4.30AAM
9400lb GVW 11200lb tow
-2007 Volvo XC90 AWD V8
4.4L 311/325 V8 6sp Aisin loaded
6100lb GVW 5000lb tow
-1999 Land Cruiser
4.7L 230/320 V8 4sp A343 loaded
6860 GVW 6500lb tow
Tick tick tick tick tick...LOL
Its allways been DW's faverate so I had no choice really.
Most I see dont have hitches....Why have a tow package with no hitch????
I dont get it...
Hopefully it tough enough...
If you are continuing to tow the pop-up in your signature it will do just fine and you will be happy. I would even say some of the smaller TTs like a fiberglass egg type, or other small single axle trailers would also do fine as long as properly set up. Enjoy your Highlander!
2007 Expedition EL 4x4 Tow pkg
1981 Palomino Pony, the PopUp = PUCampin! (Sold)
2006 Pioneer 180CK = (No more PUcampin!)
It can tow what it is rated for in it's specifications, but too many only
want to hear what they want to hear about any TV. Whether a CUV, SUV, truck or
whatever. Think of your Highlander as a Sienna mini-van.
Those folks think when someone says whatever trailer is too big, they think
weight police. There is no weight police, as you can tow whatever you wish and
no one here can police you. Just a derogatory way of getting around the ratings
to do whatever they wish and want confirmation via: "you are good for it", "been
doing that for decades with no problems", etc type of advice, which you will
get plenty. I only provide info on HOW2 figure it out yourself, and
do NOT say 'yes' or 'no', as it is the driver's decision, not mine
Just remember that they are not responsible for the setup...only the driver is
as that is the person who would get the ticket for any violations.
Here is a diagram made up for those who have to ask for the HOW2's or metrics
on HOW2 figure it out. You will need the basics in specification: GVWR, F/R GAWR
and GCWR. Forget about the MTWR, as that is a marketing number based on the
stripper model that is either not available and/or just about no one ever buys the
stripper model (curb)
Also note that this diagram applies to any vehicle that has a tow
rating in it's specification. CUV, SUV, truck to semi to whatever.
Then decide if you believe in the 'ratings' or not. This thread might
help you understand those giving advice to ignore the OEM's specification
or ratings. Arrogant
Then read up on previous threads on Highlanders. Previous era Highlander (CUV)
was based or derived from the Camry and the current era is derived from the
This one may help you understand what 'ratings' represents and is one of the
reasons of the diagram above (made from another members diagram where I updated
and changed it to correctly show)
This is one is about Highlanders and the quote below from that thread is of
my buddies dad who followed advice he saw on this forum.
Also where a unibody (monocoque) is discussed vs a full ladder frame.
There is a difference and note that the monocoque is stiffer than
most any ladder frame when 'new'. So folks 'think' a better TV...yes
in a kinda sorta way...till the spot welds age from being at their
limits too long.
Anything can tow just about anything, but it is not a 'can' it tow, but more
of how 'well' or 'safely'
First decide if you believe in the ratings or not.
If not, then do whatever
If yes, then follow the specifications (ratings). Understand them and how they
are derived. Then the fine print and all of the various legends that modify the
The thread that experience with my buddy and his father gave me the idea to
start this thread...it's not too popular, as too many only come here looking for
confirmation of their decision (risk management...aka...gambling). Ratings, terms and opinions of what they mean...
Oh, you should also read this one about an Odyssey, which is the basis for the
Pilot. Toyota's mini van for the Highlander (buddies dad Highlander
was based on the Camry). Note that these are CUV's, not SUV's (cross
over vehicle, meaning derived from a 'car' not a truck). Foreign OEMs
generally do a better job with the glove box manual in regards to towing
info. Again, check out the link and my Odyssey manual's towing info.
Hope yours has this level of detail too
I don't know the year where Toyota switched from a Camry based to the
Siena based Highlander, but you should find out or hope someone who
knows for sure to post that info
Buddy still won't tell me what happened to his parents and when he
went out there to retrieve it. He also experienced whatever happened
to them. They now have a new TV and very, very happy with it. Gads,
his dad must be around 90 now !!!
-Ben Picture of my rig
1996 GMC SLT Suburban 3/4 ton K3500/7.4L/4:1/+150Kmiles orig owner...
1980 Chevy Silverado C10/long bed/"BUILT" 5.7L/3:73/1 ton helper springs/+329Kmiles, bought it from dad...
1998 Mazda B2500 (1/2 ton) pickup, 2nd owner...
Praise Dyno Brake equiped and all have "nose bleed" braking!
Previous trucks/offroaders: 40's Jeep restored in mid 60's / 69 DuneBuggy (approx +1K lb: VW pan/200hpCorvair: eng, cam, dual carb'w velocity stacks'n 18" runners, 4spd transaxle) made myself from ground up / 1970 Toyota FJ40 / 1973 K5 Blazer (2dr Tahoe, 1 ton axles front/rear, +255K miles when sold it)...
Sold the boat (looking for another): Trophy with twin 150's...
51 cylinders in household, what's yours?...
If you are towing your PU in your signature you shouldn't have much trouble but then, I am no expert.
I purchased a V8 4Runner in 2003 to pull my 21 ft. hybrid trailer. I had a PU and the 4 Runner was great. When I was thinking of getting the 4Runner I looked at the Highlander but was told that the unibody construction was problematic with weight distributing systems. Things have most likely changed a great deal by now but back then, towing a 5K trailer with a weight distributing hitch was better done with a more typical ladder frame vehicle like the 4Runner.
If you are within the specified towing limits and you pull your current trailer without a weight distributing hitch you should be good to go. Please take that with a grain of salt as I am no mechanical engineer.
2008 Toyota Tundra, Double Cab, 5.7L V8
2006 Airstream 25 FB SE