2022 Toyota Highlander

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2022 Toyota Highlander Review: Taking A Sword To The Competition

The Toyota Highlander is one of those cars that doesn't need a positive review to sell. One glance at the sales figures reveals that it's a best-seller in the three-row midsize SUV segment. Available with a naturally-aspirated 295-horsepower V6 or a 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain, the Highlander caters to a broad audience. Since its introduction two decades ago, the Highlander hasn't moved away from its successful recipe. It's not the most inspiring to drive, but you get lots of safety equipment, a compliant ride, and legendary Toyota build quality. Still, the midsize crossover segment is tough, and in the wake of the recent economic onslaught over the last few years, people are more careful with their money. The Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot both offer more vehicle for less money, and in one of the largest segments in the US automotive industry, you can throw a stone and hit a different rival every time.

Read in this review:

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2022 Toyota Highlander Changes: What’s the Difference vs the 2021 Toyota Highlander?

Toyota has launched a special-edition Highlander Hybrid for 2022, but we assess the hybrid separately in its own review. As for the normal Highlander models covered here, they continue on essentially the same as last year, with a few exceptions. All trims from the XLE upward now receive an eight-way electrically adjustable front passenger seat. There have been some changes to the paint palette too.

Pros and Cons

  • Practical, configurable seating arrangements
  • Impressive standard features
  • Comprehensive safety suite
  • Refined and quiet ride
  • Optional hybrid is light on gas
  • Third row cramped for adults
  • Uninspiring handling, despite the XSE's sportier suspension
  • Cluttered dashboard

What's the Price of the 2022 Toyota Highlander?

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2022 Toyota Highlander Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Hybrid LE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Hybrid XLE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2022 Toyota Highlander Trims and Specs

2022 Highlander Exterior

2022 Toyota Highlander Front View CarBuzz
2022 Toyota Highlander Rear View CarBuzz
2022 Toyota Highlander Front Angle View CarBuzz
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  • Length 194.9 in
  • Wheelbase 112.2 in
  • Height 68.1 in
  • Max Width 76.0 in
  • Front Width 65.3 in
  • Rear Width 65.4 in
  • Curb Weight 4,145.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Celestial Silver Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Opulent Amber
  • Blueprint
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Moon Dust
  • Ruby Flare Pearl
  • Wind Chill Pearl
  • Celestial Silver Metallic

2022 Highlander Performance

2022 Toyota Highlander Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2022 Toyota Highlander Gauge Cluster CarBuzz
2022 Toyota Highlander Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid, 3.5L V6 Gas
  • Transmissions
    8-Speed Automatic, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Highlander's brief is quite simple: keep it comfy. We find the XSE model and its sportier suspension a bit odd, but even that particular model errs on the side of comfort. Since this is essentially a family car, it only needs to go forwards, backwards, and sideways without falling over. Preferably, the passengers should be comfortable as well.

Toyota hits the mark perfectly. The damping is spot-on, ensuring all passengers enjoy a ride smoother than a tall glass of warm milk. It does have a Sport mode, however, which is an oddity in a vehicle like this. Push the button and the throttle response is more aggressive. You can chuck it around a bit, and you'll be surprised at how agile it is - for a family carrier, that is - but it's still no Mazda CX-9. While it can hustle, it doesn't feel particularly happy about it. You get the feeling that it's going to call the PTA and report you for irresponsible driving. Cruising at the top legal speed in the USA is effortless and seems to be within the Highlander's comfort zone.

The suspension is also perfectly happy in mild off-road situations. It copes with a gravel road very well. You can load the whole family and explore the gravel roads in your area. You'd be surprised at the hidden gems you'll find on such trips. The only limiting factor is ground clearance, but since the Highlander doesn't have a transfer case or low-range, it was never built to do more than drive down a pleasant gravel road. The 4Runner caters to that segment.

2022 Highlander Interior

2022 Toyota Highlander Steering Wheel Design CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 42.0 in
  • Front Head Room 41.2 in
  • Rear Leg Room 41.0 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.4 in

2022 Highlander Trunk and Cargo Space

2022 Toyota Highlander Trunk Space with Third Row Folded CarBuzz
2022 Toyota Highlander Trunk Space CarBuzz
2022 Toyota Highlander Cargo Room CarBuzz

2022 Highlander Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    2 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: Is the 2022 Toyota Highlander A Good SUV?

The Highlander is an honest vehicle, and we respect that. Toyota's ad campaign shows happy kids and dusty gravel roads, no oversteering or a dubbed V8 soundtrack. This is a car that knows exactly what it is, and doesn't try to be more than that.

To us, the Highlander needs to be good in two departments. Firstly, as a people carrier. It ticks that box effortlessly if you ignore the tight third-row space, providing a comfortable and compliant ride. The standard features are just enough to keep everyone happy and entertained. Secondly, a family car needs to be safe. The addition of Toyota's Safety Sense 2.5+ suite last year deserves high praise. The rest of the package is more average. The engines aren't as advanced or powerful as the power plants in some rivals, but at least you know nothing will go wrong. The Highlander is comfortable, dependable, and safe. It's like your house, but on wheels.

There are more exciting and engaging cars out there, but if reliability, safety, and comfort are high on your list of must-haves, the Highlander is well worth looking at.

What 2022 Toyota Highlander Model Should I Buy?

Check out other Toyota Highlander Styles

2022 Toyota Highlander Comparisons

Honda Pilot Honda
Ford Explorer Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota Highlander265 hp22/29 mpg$36,420
Honda Pilot 285 hp18/23 mpg$35,950
Ford Explorer 300 hp21/28 mpg$36,760

2022 Toyota Highlander vs Honda Pilot

These two vehicles are remarkably similar, though Honda doesn't offer a hybrid derivative. Both are powered by a 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 gas engine mated to an automatic gearbox, with AWD available as an extra. Neither is particularly stylish, following the basic design language of their respective manufacturers. Their interiors also favor ruggedness and logic above all else. It's worth noting that the Honda's third row offers four more inches of legroom, making it the default choice if ferrying passengers is the main consideration.

The Pilot is better to drive and more comfortable - and that's about it. The Highlander and Pilot are essentially neck-and-neck, which is why we used to go with the Honda, which offered a better ride. Last year, Toyota shot into the lead thanks to its Top Safety Pick+ award. As a vehicle that will constantly be ferrying families, safety matters more than anything else. For that reason, we choose the Highlander.

See Honda Pilot Review

2022 Toyota Highlander vs Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer makes life extremely difficult for the Highlander. The 2022 Ford Explorer matches Toyota's safety standard and adds a reasonable amount of fun for the driver. This family crossover is proof that you don't need to give up joy to transport a family. The base engine produces 300 hp and has a tow rating of 5,300 lbs. Ford's V6 hybrid powertrain packs an even more powerful 318-hp punch. The Explorer is even more spacious, the interior is more modern, and the ride is more balanced. It hits the list of targets right in the middle, and even though the upper trims are quite expensive, we think the Ford is worth it. It's equally as safe, too, but its biggest downfall is the interior quality, which feels cheaper and not as solidly put together as the Toyota.

See Ford Explorer Review

2022 Toyota Highlander Popular Comparisons

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