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The Toyota Highlander has been a leader in the midsize SUV segment for years. It’s not too cumbersome to drive, has a nicely-equipped base model, and provides plenty of space for passengers.

Of course, even the sales of popular cars have taken a dip thanks to supply chain hiccups and other issues. How is the Toyota Highlander doing?

Toyota SUVs with the lowest depreciation include this red Highlander
A Toyota Highlander SUV | John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Toyota Highlander’s sales dropped over 15% last year

According to Ford Authority, the Toyota Highlander had sold a total of 222,805 units by the end of 2022. By the same time last year, it had sold over 264,000 units. Still, its total sales for the fourth quarter of 2022 alone actually surpassed its 2021 Q4 sales.

The Volkswagen Atlas, Chevy Traverse, and Dodge Durango also experienced sales decreases last year. The Honda Pilot didn’t even manage to move 100,000 units in 2022 (a 30% drop from its sales in 2021).  In contrast, the Kia Telluride and Subaru Ascent’s total sales increased compared to 2021.

The Toyota Highlander is still on top

The Toyota Highlander remains the best-selling midsize SUV by a decent margin. The only one that comes close is the Ford Explorer with approximately 207,673 units sold for 2022. The Ford Explorer still underperformed in Q4 2022, selling almost 14% fewer units than it did in Q4 2021.

Despite its popular reputation, the Kia Telluride sold just under 99,990 units in 2022. More than a third of the Nissan Pathfinders sold last year were purchased in Q4 2022.

It still only managed to move about 58,000 units, though that’s still a huge increase compared to last year. The Mazda CX-9 suffered the most in 2022, selling less than 35,000 units.

Why are drivers still buying the Toyota Highlander?

A major powertrain change can either make or break a car in the minds of consumers. It’s evident that the 2023 Highlander is still going strong with its new 265-hp turbo-four engine. The 2022 Toyota Highlander comes standard with a 295-hp V6.

Both are still paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive optional for any trim. The Toyota Highlander’s fuel economy also barely changes between the 2022 and 2023 model years. The former earns 23 mpg city/highway at best, while the latest Highlander’s mileage is one point higher. 

The Toyota Highlander L and LE models have the highest seating capacity of eight riders. The remaining trims lose one seat because of the second-row captain’s chairs. Cabin riders have a generous 42 in of legroom, while those in the second row have just one inch less.

Adults might feel shortchanged in the third row, which has less than 28 in of legroom to spare. If possible, you’re better off folding it down to utilize over 48 cubic ft of cargo area. With the second row folded flat, the Toyota Highlander has a total storage capacity of over 84 cubic ft.

The 2023 Toyota Highlander has a new Audio Multimedia interface with an optional 12.3-in touchscreen starting on XSE. The bigger screen is standard on the Highlander Limited, along with a JBL stereo system and leather seats.

Still, the Toyota Highlander L comes with a lot of standard features for $36,420. Riders are treated to the convenience of wireless smartphone integration, Amazon Alexa, and several USB ports. The standard safety suite includes essential features like lane-keeping technology and forward automatic emergency braking. 

Consumer Reports recommends both the 2022 and 2023 Toyota Highlander, giving each a near-perfect reliability rating. Given all of its positive aspects, we can see why the Highlander still reigns supreme in the midsize SUV world.


A History of the Toyota Highlander SUV