The 2022 Toyota Highlander: Toyota Doesn’t Mess With the Formula

Toyota Highlander Featured Image
Toyota Highlander Featured Image

How does the saying go? If it aint broke…

Toyota knows that the second half of that sentence, and they prove it year after year with their  Highlander. The 2022 Toyota Highlander is no exception. This is not to say they don’t incorporate updates and provide the newest technology. Toyota provides, they don’t overwhelm. In fact, Toyota’s biggest fault may be in editing a bit too much. But is it a crime? No, not one bit. It helps the car retain its value, and its fans’ appreciation.

The model I tested was a Highlander Platinum V6 AWD. It gets an estimated 21/29 miles per gallon. The base price of that model is $49,510, and after some floor mats and a cargo liner were added, the price came to $51,043. The following trim packages are priced for a front-wheel drive. Adding AWD to each model will increase the price.

Related: 2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum AWD 3-Row SUV: The Hype Mom Car

2022 Toyota Highlander Front 3/4 View. Photo: Sara Lacey

2022 Toyota Highlander front 3/4 view. Photo: Sara Lacey

Pricing Breakdown

  • The L trim starts at $35,855 and has Toyota Safety Sense (adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, lane departure warning, and more), a smart key system, and five USB ports. Add $1,775 for all-wheel drive.
  • The LE trim starts at $38,055 and adds a blind spot monitor, height-adjustable liftgate, and LED fog lights. Add $1,600 for all-wheel drive.
  • The XLE trim starts at $41,055 and adds wireless charging, power moonroof, and leatherette-trimmed front and second row seats, with heated front seats. Add $1175 for all-wheel drive.
  • The XSE trim starts at $42,650 and adds 20-inch alloy wheels, twin-tip exhaust, and a sport tuned suspension. Add $1,525 for all-wheel drive.
  • The Limited trim starts at $45,010 and adds a JBL sound system with 11 speakers, hands-free power liftgate, and leatherette-trimmed seats with heated and ventilated front seats. Add $1,950 for all-wheel drive.
  • The Platinum trim starts at $48,010 and adds a 12.3-in touchscreen display, panoramic moonroof with shade, and a birds-eye view camera. Add $1,950 for all-wheel drive.
2022 Toyota Highlander Rear 3/4 View. Photo: Sara Lacey

2022 Toyota Highlander rear 3/4 view. Photo: Sara Lacey

The 2022 Highlander’s Exterior Looks Good on Everyone

The bulbous looks of the Highlanders of yesteryear are long gone. The Highlander had a big update a in 2020 and all the good looks of that update remain. The 2022 Toyota Highlander retains its nice crease around the rear fender and along the bottom of the rear passenger door that makes it look a bit more lean. It still has the angled LED headlights and grille with elongated chrome badge across the front. So rest assured, Toyota isn’t reinventing the Highlander with every other year.

Related: 2019 Toyota Highlander: Why it Makes the Best Travel Car EVER (and is Just Plain Awesome)

2022 Toyota Highlander Cargo Area. Photo: Sara Lacey

2022 Toyota Highlander cargo area. Photo: Sara Lacey

Great Utility Without Bulk, or Why I Love Midsize SUV’s

Whether you’re a grandparent carrying grandchildren around, a parent with multiple kids and friends to carry around, or a person who wants the flexibility of an SUV without going with a full-size option, you’ll be happy with the Highlander. The cargo area has plenty of room for some gear or luggage with the third row up. 

When the third row is folded, the floor is flat. The space is pretty squared off so you can scoot moving boxes or your Costco goodies in there without running into the wheel wells. The plastic coating in my test Highlander would be great for dirty bikes, skis, and gear. 

There are low-key roof rails you can add crossbars to so you can add racks for whatever you need to carry on the outside that you can’t carry on the inside.

Related: 2021 Highlander: Is it Just Me, or Did This Toyota Get Smaller?

Nice Front Seat! Photo: Sara Lacey

Nice Front Seat! Photo: Sara Lacey

The Inside is Where the Highlander Shines

Sitting in the front seat of the Highlander is such a pleasure. All controls are within reach, and importantly, my purse on the passenger seat or passenger floor is within reach. The seats are comfortable though a bit stiff. That said, I was never fatigued. The diamond pattern quilting looks so nice and sharp.

2022 Toyota Highlander Wireless Charging. Photo: Sara Lacey

2022 Toyota Highlander wireless charging. Photo: Sara Lacey

The Center Console is Cool

I loved the center console that housed the wireless charging pad beneath a cool sliding top. The storage in the center console is actually underneath the wireless charging pad and it’s so clever. While I miss the cavernousness of the console without the wireless charging pad, it’s still abundant. And don’t worry, if your device isn’t able to charge wirelessly there are USB ports and it’s really cool because there is a little shelf for your device and a channel to feed your cable and stow it.

2022 Toyota Highlander Center Console. Photo: Sara Lacey

2022 Toyota Highlander center console. Photo: Sara Lacey

The touchscreen is large and the icons are easy to find. There are still buttons to press for the climate control, and a knob or two. My phone paired effortlessly, I have Apple CarPlay, and it’s equipped to pair with Android Auto as well. So whether you want to use Toyota’s system or your device’s system, you’re good to go.

2022 Toyota Highlander Touchscreen. Photo: Sara Lacey

2022 Toyota Highlander touchscreen. Photo: Sara Lacey

Second row passengers have their own controls for the heating and air conditioning. There are also two USB ports there too. My test car also had heated captain’s chairs. So that was fun and made it so easy for people to get into the third row, too.

2022 Toyota Highlander Rear Seat. Photo: Sara Lacey

2022 Toyota Highlander rear seat. Photo: Sara Lacey

The third row can accommodate adults, though it’s ideal for shorter ones or kids. There are cupholders back there. The highlander will be great for carpooling, or date night. Three seating positions in the third row are really usable for kids or again, shorter adults.

There is a knob also for the different drive modes. Mud, snow. And a switch for Sport, Normal, and Eco. The Highlander is surefooted and has decent power and acceleration. It’s equipped with a V6 that is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, so it’s got the ability to get you up the hills comfortably.

2022 Toyota Highlander Center Stack. Photo: Sara Lacey

2022 Toyota Highlander center stack. Photo: Sara Lacey

The 2022 Toyota Highlander is a Classic for a Reason

I can’t overstate how much I love the versatility and classic utility of the Highlander. Want to carry people? Check. Want to carry cargo? Check. Want pretty decent gas mileage? Check. Want all the goodies? Check. Want to not feel overwhelmed? Check.

Toyota knows it has fans, and treats us accordingly by not messing with it too much.

2022 Toyota Highlander Third Row. Photo: Sara Lacey

2022 Toyota Highlander third row. Photo: Sara Lacey

Sara has written about cars since 2005. She used to beat them up with her kids and write about... More about Sara Lacey