2022 Toyota Highlander Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.
Midsize SUVs are constantly competing to stand out from the pack. Some aim to be ultra-luxurious, some aim to be incredibly powerful, and some just have a low price tag. Most families, however, are after a midsize SUV that is balanced and practical.
The Toyota Highlander is a popular option, and it has been for decades. It manages to have enough horsepower while still being efficient, which is something that many SUVs of this size struggle with. It also has a comfortable cabin, handsome exterior, and relatively affordable price tag, plus seating for up to eight.
This vehicle launched its fourth generation in 2020. Now that it is a couple of years in, the new Highlander has really hit its stride. There is a brand-new Bronze Edition that buyers can check out in 2022, which brings the total number of trim options up to seven. There is approximately a $14,000 difference between the entry-level L and the top Platinum model.
No one wants to feel like they overspent. That is why this guide highlights the differences between the 2022 Toyota Highlander trim levels so that buyers can choose the model that has what they need without making them pay for things they do not.
Compare the L vs LE Trims. What is the difference?
The 2022 Highlander L uses a 3.5L V6 to get around town. It creates 295-horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission, and it comes standard with front-wheel drive. Even the entry-level L is eligible for an upgrade to all-wheel drive, however. This SUV also has selectable drive modes. The L offers Sport, Eco, Normal, and Snow modes to choose from.
As far as the fuel efficiency, drivers who choose the Highlander L with front-wheel drive will be looking at 21mpg in the city and 29mpg on the highway. The numbers drop down to 20mpg city and 27mpg highway with all-wheel drive. This makes the Highlander quite efficient when compared to other midsize SUVs with a V6.
There are plenty of exterior features on the Highlander L to enjoy. This model sits on 18-inch alloy wheels and gets turn signal integration for its heated side mirrors. There are LED taillights along with LED projector headlights with daytime running lights. The front grille is black-painted and shows off a flashy silver-painted surround.
Families will love the thoughtful features found inside the cabin of the L. Highlights include tri-zone automatic climate control and 14 cupholders spread throughout the interior. There are a total of five USB ports and two 12-volt outlets. Eight passenger seating comes standard, and the driver's seat has an eight-way power adjustment. Both the second and third rows fold flat, and the second row will even recline.
The infotainment system for the Highlander L runs on an 8-inch touchscreen. It is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. There is also a six-speaker audio system to enjoy.
Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ comes standard for the 2022 Highlander lineup. This bundle consists of full-speed dynamic range cruise control, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and road sign assist. There is also a tire pressure monitoring system and hill start assist control.
The LE trim level costs just over $2,000 more than the L. It does not have any standard mechanical upgrades. That said, the LE is the first trim level available as a hybrid. It consists of a four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that combine to make 243-horsepower. This powertrain will have drivers seeing up to 36mpg in the city and 35mpg on the highway.
This trim level does add some significant exterior features, such as LED fog lights. The LE also has a height-adjustable power liftgate, along with a button to open it on the key fob. Cabin upgrades start with a leather-trimmed shifter knob and leather-wrapped steering wheel. There is also a Wi-Fi hotspot and a year subscription for remote connect features. Otherwise, the interior is the same. As for the safety features, the LE is the first trim level to add blind-spot monitoring to the Highlander.
Compare the LE vs XLE Trims. What is the difference?
For $3,000 more, buyers can move up to the XLE trim level. Once again, the powertrain and performance remain the same. The V6 engine comes standard, and the hybrid setup is an option for a bit more money. A power moonroof is the only exterior upgrade of note.
Inside, the black interior door handles are replaced with chrome ones for added sophistication. This model is also home to a wireless charging pad and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a universal garage door opener built-in. The front seats are heated, and the driver's seat goes up to a 10-way power adjustment. As for the front passenger, the XLE upgrades them to eight-way power adjustment for extra comfort. This is the first trim level to come standard with seating for seven, although buyers can opt to bring the second-row bench back for seating for eight.
The first two trim levels have a 4.2-inch LCD information display. Starting with the XLE, the Highlander upgrades to a 7-inch option. This is the first trim available with Driver Easy Speak, a feature that projects the voices from the front row through the speakers in the back rows. There are no other safety or technology upgrades made by the XLE model.
Compare the XLE vs XSE Trims. What is the difference?
The XSE has a starting price that is roughly $2,000 higher than the XLE. It is only available with the V6 powertrain. The XSE is equipped with a sport-tuned suspension. For the exterior, the XSE gets bolder with black accents on its LED headlights. This trim level also goes up to 20-inch wheels. There is a mesh-style black grille that helps the XSE stand out from other 2022 Highlander models.
Previous trim levels went with silver roof rails, but the XSE goes with black ones instead. The finishing touch on the more aggressive look of this trim is the twin-tip exhaust. Inside, the XSE has the second-row captain's chairs and does not give buyers the option of going back to eight-passenger seating. There is ambient interior lighting standard and the option of adding Driver Easy Speak remains.
Buyers can opt for an upgrade to an 11-speaker JBL sound system if they choose the XSE. This will also give the Highlander integrated navigation. Safety features remain the same when comparing the XLE to the XSE.
Compare the XSE vs Bronze Edition. What is the difference?
New for 2022 is the Bronze Edition. It costs less than $2,000 more than the XSE, and it is only available with the hybrid powertrain. This trim level loses the sport-tuned suspension but gains an EV drive mode.
The heated and power-adjustable side mirrors on the Bronze Edition have puddle lights that feature an integrated Highlander logo. These mirrors also gain memory functions. The Bronze Edition is the first option on the trim ladder that comes with rain-sensing windshield wipers. This model goes back down to 18-inch wheels, but they have an exclusive bronze finish to show off.
To add to the practicality of this Highlander, the Bronze Edition gets two 120-volt power outlets. One is located in the cargo area, while the other is located on the back of the center console. There are illuminated door sills with bronze accents to help carry on the theme of this trim level. Interestingly, the Driver Easy Speake feature is not available for the Bronze Edition.
Compare the Bronze Edition vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?
The Limited trim level is where the 2022 Highlander gets upscale. With the standard V6 powertrain, it costs less than $1,000 less than the Bronze Edition. The Limited trim level is also available as a hybrid. This model goes back up to 20-inch wheels that have a sophisticated chrome finish.
Toyota starts the upgrades for this model with high-output LED fog lights. While previous models had silver-painted roof rails, the Limited model gets a genuine silver finish. Inside, there are heated and ventilated front-row seats with memory settings. The steering wheel is also heated. Seven-passenger seating is still standard, but the Limited model brings back the ability to go with seating for eight instead.
All models are obviously equipped with a rearview camera. The Limited trim is the first to add dynamic guidelines, however. It also has a 360-degree camera system that offers a bird's eye view of the Highlander on its options list. Unfortunately, the Limited model loses the 120-volt power outlet in the cargo area. On the other hand, it does have a tonneau cover.
This trim level gains faux wood interior accents for a little added sophistication. It also comes standard with the Driver Easy Speak feature that will undoubtedly be popular with parents. The 11-speaker sound system becomes standard, and the Limited trim level has the option of upgrading from an 8-inch touchscreen to a 12.3-inch one instead.
The Limited has front and rear park assist with automatic braking. Otherwise, it has the same safety features as all of the rest of the Highlander lineup.
Compare the Limited vs Platinum Trims. What is the difference?
The Platinum model costs over $3,000 more than the Limited. If buyers want the hybrid powertrain underneath the hood, they will need to be ready to pay more than $50,000. The V6 and front-wheel drive remain standard, however.
An adaptive front lighting system helps the Highlander illuminate the road as it goes around corners. This system includes an auto-leveling feature for its headlights. The Platinum model sits on stylish 20-inch alloy wheels. A panoramic glass roof with a front power moonroof is exclusive to the top trim level.
Another feature that is exclusive to the Platinum model is a 10-inch color head-up display. It incorporates the road sign assist feature and can display a variety of useful information in the driver's line of sight. The upgraded camera system is also standard when choosing the Highlander Platinum, plus the 12.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. Rounding out the upgrades found here are heated second-row seats. Buyers should note that the Platinum is only available with seating for seven.
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Which Trim to Choose?
Truly, all models of the 2022 Highlander are well-equipped. Buyers who choose the entry-level L will get an impressive powertrain and an extensive list of technology and safety features. Drivers and their families can get a lot more out of their Highlander if they look a bit higher on the list, however.
The LE really does not add that much to the SUV. As for the XLE, it has desirable features like heated front seats and a wireless charging pad. This makes it a better option for families, and it really does not cost that much more than the LE.
Some buyers may be attracted to the XSE for its sport-tuned suspension, but it actually does not make much of a difference during day-to-day drives. The Bronze Edition looks nice, but is only available as a hybrid and does not add many new features. Both the Limited and Platinum models are well-equipped, but neither have anything that most families will find they cannot live without.
The 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE is an efficient, practical, and fun midsized SUV that will work well for most drivers.
• 2021 Toyota Highlander Trime Levels