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The Toyota Highlander midsize SUV comes in a total of 11 different grades if you count its hybrid options as grades. Each grade and trim offer different features as well as different levels of luxury and capability. What is the difference between the 2022 Toyota Highlander LE midsize SUV and the XLE?

The 2022 Toyota Highlander LE comes with plenty of standard features

The 2022 Toyota Highlander LE starts at $37,405. It uses a 3.5-liter V6 engine to make 295 horsepower. The Highlander LE achieves 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 miles per gallon on the highway.

The midsize SUV comes standard with a 4.2-inch multi-information display, five USB ports, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also includes heated outside mirrors with turn signals, push-button start, and a smart key system.

The Toyota Highlander XLE offers a more luxurious feel

The 2022 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE starts at $42,205. It costs $4,600 more than the LE. What do consumers get for that extra $4,600?

The first major difference between the two trims is seating. The XLE features Toyota’s SofTex material. Both the front and middle rows use SofTex trimmed seats. The front seats on the XLE model are heated as well. The XLE is a seven-seater while the LE seats eight. The more expensive model features second-row captain’s chairs instead of bench seats. It also comes with second-row sunshades.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE includes a larger 7.0-inch multi-information display. It also comes with an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, a feature that allows users to open garage doors with the simple press of a button on the rearview mirror. The midsize SUV features smartphone charging as well.

The Highlander XLE comes with additional exterior goodies like mudguards, roof rails, and a one-touch power moonroof. The price difference between the two models may seem great, but the Japanese automaker clearly brings the value with each rung up the pricing ladder.

Which 2022 Toyota Highlander is the best for the money?

Which of the 11 different Toyota Highlander grades is the best deal for the money? While drivers will have different preferences, Car and Driver decided that the XLE is the best buy. This may come as a surprise to fans of the hybrid model but the automotive publication carefully considers the vehicle’s features at every trim level.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE is the best Highlander trim for the money because of the many luxurious features it packs in for under $43K. Features like SofTex-trimmed heated front seats and a wireless smartphone charger make the XLE too sweet of a deal to pass up for some consumers. Is the Toyota Highlander XLE underrated?