What Are the Best Years for a Used Toyota Highlander

Used Toyota Highlanders are going for a premium. How much of a premium? The 2020 version, which looks just like the 2022, can be worth more used than it was new. Used car values are wacky right now, and the popular Highlander is a great example of how a popular, reliable, comfortable three-row SUV can retain its value.

When was the Highlander redesigned?

The Highlander has been continuously updated since it came to the U.S. in 2001. The Highlander is Toyota’s larger, though, not largest, SUV. That would be the Sequoia. But the Highlander grew to include more powerful V6 engines, up to seven seats, and a near-luxury interior.

The first-generation Highlander looked more like a tall station wagon than an SUV. In 2007 Toyota updated it again, but it didn’t start to look modern until the third-generation 2013 refresh of the 2014 model that ditched its two-boxes-on-wheels look. The 2014 version grew, and added more luxury touches like a larger eight-inch touchscreen and a six-speed transmission. In 2016 it got a facelift, but the basic Highlander didn’t change.

The fourth generation launched in 2019 and came in five different versions, from base L and LE to super premium Platinum trims. Highlanders have seats for seven, but are smaller than a Sequoia. The hybrid version joined in 2020. They 2022 looks the same and has a base MSRP of $35,855.

2014 and newer Highlanders are reliable SUVs

A Silver 2015 Toyota Highlander near a park
2015 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

Every year except the 2019 has a great reliability score according to Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. From third-generation Highlander from 2014 to 2019 the Highlander remained the same, except for a small facelift mid-cycle. At the time, they were noted for a cushy ride that eats up highway miles but were often dinged for feeling a bit numb in the twisties. The third generation came with several driver aids, like blind-spot monitoring, and all-wheel drive, but not on the base models. If you can avoid the underpowered base four-cylinder version, do so, and get the bigger V6.

The 2020 revision brought a lot more features, better handling and a much more powerful engine. It would take a Toyota fan to spot the differences between a 2020 Highlander and a 2022. The Highlander has a third row, but it’s more suited to kids than adults. The 2020 came with several standard features that were major options in the previous generation. The big upgrade, however, is the Hybrid version that is also all-wheel drive.

How much is a used Toyota Highlander?

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE side
2021 Toyota Highlander XSE side | Toyota

Toyota has sold thousands of Highlanders. That’s good news if you’re looking for one used. The third generation is a great value, and dealers aren’t charging a premium for them. A 2014 LE with average miles should cost about $22,500 used according to NADA, which tracks vehicle prices. Considering that it was a $31,000 SUV new, they have held their value well.

A 2020, for comparison, is worth more used than new right now, thanks to the wacky used car market. The base price for a Highlanders didn’t climb a ton from 2014 to 2020. A new base 2020 cost $34,600, while a Platinum was nearly $50,000. The Platinum feels a lot like the Lexus version of the Highlander, the RX. Today, according to NADA, a base 2020 Highlander on a used car lot would cost $35,775. Really. At that rate, it may be worth it to just buy a new one with a full warranty.

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