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Buying a three-row midsize SUV can be a challenging task. One of the most popular models is the 2022 Toyota Highlander. We can’t blame consumers for choosing this model since it’s safe, reliable, and surprisingly affordable. However, there are plenty of Highlander trims to choose from, so how do you find the best one? There are a few reasons why experts and consumers agree the 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE is the best trim to buy.

Reliable midsize SUV that retains value like this red Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander midsize SUV | Toyota

First, customers love to buy the Highlander XLE. According to Edmunds, most buyers choose the 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE when purchasing this three-row midsize model. Although there are six trim levels to choose from, the XLE is consistently sold the most. Furthermore, the cheapest model is usually a best-seller, but this one is far from it.

Buying a Highlander XLE costs $42,270. However, the base model L starts at just over $37,000. What makes customers spend an extra $5,000 to get the XLE trim level so often? One of the most significant changes is the second-row captain’s chairs. The most popular trim level is the first to offer captain’s chairs instead of a bench seat in the middle. As a result, it reduces seating from eight passengers to seven but increases space for the remaining seven. Likely, most buyers don’t require the eighth seat, which is free to add back to the XLE model.

Experts recommend the Highlander XLE

White 2023 Toyota Highlander SUV towing a boat
2022 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

Next, if you’re searching for an excellent SUV, experts always have opinions. Anyone who values their opinions will find the same results with the 2022 Toyota Highlander. Edmunds recommends the XLE because “it has all the necessities found on the L and LE plus some desirable extras such as heated seats, simulated leather upholstery, and second-row sunshades. As a result, this expert believes the XLE trim level is the best one to buy.

Alternatively, Car and Driver actually share the same opinion. It isn’t often critics agree with one another, so when they do, there’s usually some weight to that opinion. C/D says the XLE model is the one to buy because “it has heated seats, a wireless smartphone charging pad, and a power sunroof, among other niceties.” In addition, the publication mentions the tech-filled Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation package and all-wheel drive as notable extras worth buying.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE provides the most value

Finally, the last reason the 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE is the best trim to buy is that it offers more value than other options. In the Highlander lineup, there are six different trims. Starting with the base models, the L and LE are affordable but don’t have as much to offer.

Although the base model L is well-equipped, it’s just $5,000 less than the XLE, which adds so much more. In addition, the LE trim level only gains foglights, a power liftgate, a leather steering wheel/shift knob, and blind-spot monitor over the base model. For $2,000, you’re better off making the jump to a Highlander XLE.

Next, the upper trims don’t do enough to warrant the extra cost. For example, one step up from XLE is XSE. For a roughly $1,500 increase, it only gains sporty styling cues, 20-inch wheels, a sport suspension, dual exhaust tips, and interior ambient lighting. Limited and Platinum trims are a $4,000 and $7,000 price increase, respectively. Although the features are plentiful, we don’t think a hands-free liftgate, ventilated seats, upgraded audio, a panoramic sunroof, and other equipment are worth the price.

Highlander XLE is the best trim to buy

In conclusion, there are a few different reasons why the 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE is the best trim to buy. First, it’s the most popular choice among buyers, which means it’s doing something right. Next, multiple experts recommend buying it over the other five trims. Finally, it provides the most value compared with the rest of the lineup. If you’re interested in a new midsize three-row SUV, check out the 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE.


Buyers and Experts Agree on the Best 2022 Toyota Highlander Trim