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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Four stars overall; four stars, frontal; five stars, side
Top Safety Pick; 'good' in frontal, side, and rear impact; 'good' in roof strength
All major safety equipment is standard...
The 2013 Toyota Highlander stays true to its family-oriented purpose with a strong set of safety features, as well as good results from both major crash-test agencies. The only thing missing are some of the advanced safety features, such as blind-spot monitors and lane-departure warning systems, that are already trickling down to mass-market vehicles--even the Camry.The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an insurance-industry-funded group, has given the Highlander a "good" grade in every test. It's also passed the new roof-crush with flying colors, and it earns the IIHS Top Safety Pick award. In federal NCAP testing, the Highlander has earned a four-star overall score, but that includes an excellent five-star performance for side impact.
Dual front, side and curtain airbags are among the Highlander's standard equipment, as are a driver knee airbag, daytime running lights, downhill assist control (4WD models), and hill-start assist. A rearview camera system is standard on all but the base Highlander--and it's optional there.
The Highlander a safety edge thanks to some enviable safety ratings, although it's not at the forefront in advance-tech accident-avoidance features.