Skip to main content
2022 Toyota Highlander: The One We Recommend

2022 Toyota Highlander: The One We Recommend

If you're buying a 2022 Highlander, see which one we recommend and why

  • The Toyota Highlander is available in a diverse assortment of trim levels. Here are the ones we'd pick.
  • Our recommended spec is budget-friendly.
  • Our worthy alternative offers a more engaging drive.
  • Our emotional choice layers on the luxury.

Families love the 2022 Toyota Highlander — the most popular three-row SUV on the market. The midsize crossover blends Toyota's reputation for quality and reliability with the latest safety and infotainment technology. Plus, it seats up to eight people, though packing three adults into the Highlander's cramped rear seat is a challenge for only the most skilled Tetris players.

The Highlander isn't our favorite vehicle in this class, but it's easy to see why Toyota's largest crossover resonates with buyers. It offers a robust set of standard driving aids, delivers a serene riding experience, and earns high safety marks from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Last redesigned for the 2020 model year, the Toyota Highlander comes with a V6 engine or a hybrid drivetrain, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and seven different trim levels ranging from the base L to the plush Platinum. Prices vary from less than $37,000 to more than $52,000.

Below, we'll tell you which version of the 2022 Highlander we recommend, offer you a worthy alternative, and give you an emotional choice to consider.

The recommended spec

Edmunds recommends the 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE ($41,820 including destination charges), and we think most people should choose the hybrid for its superior fuel economy ratings. The hybrid costs $1,450 more but gets an EPA-estimated 36 mpg in combined driving compared to 24 mpg with the standard V6 engine. Furthermore, the hybrid generates a total of 243 horsepower, with good instant torque response from its electric-assist motor, which helps the Highlander Hybrid feel reasonably powerful under typical driving conditions.

The XLE trim level includes second-row captain's chairs, but you can get a bench seat at no additional cost if you prefer. The standard Highlander Hybrid LE comes packed with features that include a power rear liftgate, three-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, and a full suite of driving aids. Upgrading to the XLE adds a number of convenience and luxury items, such as a sunroof, power-adjustable and heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a wireless charging pad.

The worthy alternative

If you seek a sportier look and driving experience, consider the V6-only Highlander XSE with its optional torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. Totaling $45,365, the AWD-equipped Highlander XSE enjoys more expressive styling thanks to unique front and rear fascias and 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in lower-profile tires. The XSE also has a sport-tuned suspension for a slightly more athletic feel from behind the steering wheel. The 295-horsepower V6 provides the Highlander's maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. (The hybrid is rated at 3,500 pounds.)

Otherwise, except for its ambient interior lighting, the XSE is equipped just like the XLE.

The emotional choice

You wouldn't be far off base if you considered the 2022 Highlander Platinum a Lexus at a discount. The V6 model starts at $48,975 (or $50,950 for the hybrid) and includes lots of little upgrades that add up to a satisfying choice.

For example, the Platinum trim includes exclusive features such as quilted leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, a panoramic glass sunroof, a digital rearview mirror (allows you to see out the back even with a fully loaded cargo area) and a 10-inch head-up display. It also comes with a 12.3-inch touchscreen, navigation and a JBL premium sound system.

Edmunds says

The 2022 Toyota Highlander is a worthy pick among midsize three-row SUVs, with models like the Hybrid XLE, XSE and Platinum being noteworthy standouts in its well-stocked lineup.