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For good reasons, the 2023 Toyota Highlander is one of the best-selling midsize three-row SUVs on the market. It has 3-row seating, family-friendly features, the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating, and it’s available with an efficient hybrid powertrain. The Highlander is hard to beat if you need a family hauler and aren’t interested in a minivan.

A wide range of trims is available, and it can be hard to discern which is the best buy. Of course, the best deal depends on your budget, but one 2023 Highlander trim stands out as a great buy.

This 2023 Toyota Highlander trim is the best deal

A white 2023 Toyota Highlander Turbo XSE parked in front of a modern building.
2023 Toyota Highlander XSE | Toyota

The 2023 Toyota Highlander XSE is arguably the best buy in the diverse Highlander lineup. This mid-range trim has more features than the sub-$40,000 trims, but it’s not as pricey as the more luxurious models.

A few desirable features standard in every 2023 Highlander trim include three-row seating, tri-zone automatic climate control, LED headlights, and Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+. That safety tech suite bundles driver assistance features like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane tracing assist, road sign assist, and automatic high beams.

A couple of big perks are exclusive to the XSE trim. A sporty appearance package includes unique front and rear fascias, 20-inch gloss black wheels, black exterior trim, and twin-tip exhaust. For drivers who need a family hauler but also want some driving engagement, the Highlander XSE has a sport-tuned suspension system.

Even if you don’t care so much about sporty aesthetics or handling, everyone in the market for a family SUV can appreciate the Highlander XSE. Other highlights include five USB ports, blind-spot monitoring, a power sunroof, SofTex faux leather seating, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, wireless charging, second-row captain’s chairs, and second-row sunshades.

This desirable 2023 Toyota Highlander trim also has some desirable options available. Of course, all-wheel drive is an option making it more suitable for snowy roads. Additionally, you can get a Cockpit Red interior and a 12.3-inch infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus a JBL 11-speaker premium audio system. These options make the Highlander a little more luxurious without the price going crazy.

How much does it cost?

The 2023 Toyota Highlander XSE starts at $43,615. AWD is a $1,525 option, making it more affordable than the Limited trim. The red interior is a no-cost option, and adding the 12.3-inch screen with the JBL audio system costs $1,375. Some premium paint options, like Wind Chill Pearl and Ruby Flare Pearl, add $425 to the price tag. Like every 2023 Highlander trim, the XSE model has a destination fee of $1,335.

Add it all up, and a loaded Highlander XSE has an out-the-door price of $48,700. That’s a pretty well-equipped three-row SUV for less than $50,000.

The beauty of the Toyota Highlander is that you can pick the one that fits your budget. You can spend less on a more budget-friendly but still safe and reliable SUV. If there’s more room in your budget, you can get one that rivals a true luxury SUV. If your tastes and your budget are somewhere in-between, the Highlander XSE is in a sweet spot.


2023 Toyota Highlander XSE: Is This a Sporty Three-Row SUV?