2022 & 2023 Toyota Highlander XLE vs. XSE vs. Limited vs Platinum 

If you are looking for a mid-sized SUV, you might get overwhelmed with the many models on the market. Today, we will focus on the 2022 & 2023 Toyota Highlander and its variants. We will discuss the XLE, XSE, Limited, and even the Platinum editions of this vehicle.

This car has eleven trims to choose from, so you can conveniently customize this model to your preferences. Powertrains range from hybrid to non-hybrid, and you can choose the one most suited for you. The hybrid variant will be the best choice if you live in a green city with many sustainable implementations.

But if you live up north in a cold climate where temperatures often drop below the freezing point, getting a non-hybrid model will be more effective. The front-wheel drivetrain is a standard, but 4WD options are available as well.

The interior of the Highlander is nicely equipped with modern conveniences and infotainment. Driver-assistance features come as a standard to maximize your comfort. Although it is a big vehicle, the rides are smooth, and you will experience comfort on all roads.

If you upgrade to the Limited and Platinum models, many more features are included as a standard. The JBL stereo system will create the ideal ambiance through the luxurious interior with additional tech features.

Let’s look at this model and find the difference between their variants, starting with the Toyota Highlander XSE. But first, a quick overview of this model. 

Table of Contents

Toyota Highlander models

There is a large range of Highlander models, as the company created one for each customer’s requirements. The models have different features, and their price tag varies based on the options and performance they can deliver. In total, there are X Highlander variants, and they are:

  • L
  • LE
  • XP
  • Hybrid LE
  • XLE
  • Hybrid XLE
  • XSE
  • Hybrid Bronze Edition
  • Limited
  • Hybrid Limited
  • Platinum 
  • Hybrid Platinum

As you can see, Toyota thought of everything. While these models are unique and different from each other, today we will discuss the LE, CSE, Limited, and Platinum editions. 

There are some features included by default on all Highlander models. One of them is the Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control that has been enhanced for better performance. An anti-lock brake system and traction control are mandatory on most new cars, and the Highlander features them as well.

Rear passenger seatbelt reminders will notify everyone in the car about the importance of their safety. Everyone has to wear a seatbelt inside the car! Communication is key, and the Safety Connect feature takes care of it by using the latest technology. 

This feature includes roadside assistance and automatic collision notification. In case of an unfortunate accident, the emergency assistance option will turn on automatically. The rear doors are locking, and the windows have limited control when you use the child-protection option. 

Eight airbags protect the passengers and the driver in case of impact. These airbags are located on:

  • the front side
  • on the seat cushion
  • and even at the knee level to protect the entire body from possible injuries. 

Comparison chart

Here’s a quick comparison chart before we go into more detail for each model.

SpecificationsHighlander PlatinumHighlander XLEHighlander XSE
Price$48,010$41,055$42,650
Horsepower295 hp at 6,600 RPM295 hp at 6,600 RPM295 hp at 6,600 RPM
Length194.9 in194.9 in197.4 in
Seating capacity7-seater7-seater7-seater
Back-up cameraStandardStandardStandard

Toyota Highlander XSE

Toyota Highlander XSE

The XSE models have increased comfort from the standard variant. Inside you will find heated front seats that are adjustable in 10 ways. Lumbar support is also provided, and the passenger seat gets 8 adjustable ways. A wireless smartphone charger will keep your phone powered up during long drives.

Night rides are more enjoyable with the ambient interior lighting package. It can create a special ambiance along with the high-quality stereo sound system. This vehicle is big for some people. Its backup camera with a projected path will make maneuvers easier, especially when parking.

The backseat passengers have adjustable sunshades for their windows, and the rear mirror has auto-dimming capabilities. The multi-information display is probably one of the best features of the XSE variant. It features a lot of technology combined with comfort. This display will show you the:

  • cruising range
  • average speed
  • and complete fuel economy.
2022 Toyota highlander XSE inside

The interior door handles are made of Chrome for a subtle touch of luxury. A digital clock will keep you up to date, while the dual sun visors will protect your eyes during the golden hour when the sun shines at the horizon. 

The exterior features a twin-tip exhaust, and the roof rails are finished in black. The LED projector headlights also have black accents. During the day, you can activate an LED strip to act as daytime running lights. The mesh front grille is also black for those who want an aggressive and sporty look. 

With a starting price of $42,650, the XSE configuration is just ahead of the XLE, with the difference being made by several sporty exterior and interior upgrades. 

SpecificationsHighlander XSE
Back-up cameraStandard
Horsepower295 hp at 6,600 RPM
Length197.4 in
Price$42,650
Seating capacity7-seater

Toyota Highlander XLE

2022 Toyota highlander XLE

Another popular and highly-rated variant of the Highlander is the XLE, which has many features. The Hill Start Assist Control feature is useful if you live in San Francisco or any area with hills. You will no longer stress out about rolling back at the start, as this function will assist you.

When planning a long drive, it is essential to check the tire pressure. Luckily you won’t have to do this manually. The Tire Pressure Monitor System will inform you about the condition of each tire. If you leave your vehicle parked overnight in public spaces, thieves might reconsider before planning a break-in. 

The XLE is equipped with advanced anti-theft systems that can immobilize the engine. The dashboard is painted in a simple yet pleasing silver trim. The overhead console cannot be compared with the one of a truck. The XLE can offer you a conversation mirror, sunglasses storage, and even map lights to increase interior visibility at night.

2022 Toyota highlander XLE interior

During the hot summer days or the cold winter nights, your comfort is maximized. It’s done with the three-zone automatic climate control ventilation system. An air filter will ensure that you breathe only the cleanest air, and the vents will create a circular airflow throughout the interior. 

For the convenience of all the passengers, there are 14 cup holders. It makes the Highlander XLE the best vehicle for long road trips, as comfort is ensured for everyone. 

The starting MSRP is just $41,055, which is a price that matches the value this model provides. 

SpecificationsHighlander XLE
Back-up cameraStandard
Horsepower295 hp at 6,600 RPM
Length194.9 in
Price$41,055
Seating capacity7-seater
2022 Toyota highlander XLE trim

Toyota Highlander Limited

Those that know what they want will always get specific with their options. The price difference between the XLE and Limited variants is small, so your choice will be based purely on features. The Limited variant’s interior is full of premium audio connectivity features, which will be essential to a music lover. 

The seats come with genuine leather as a standard, ensuring maximum comfort for you and your passenger. The premium stereo system features 11 JBL speakers situated all around the interior. You can create a unique ambiance with different functions. 

2022 Toyota highlander - limited awd

Heating is provided for the outside mirrors, so you can easily defrost them during the cold winter days. Blind spot indicators will warn you when changing lanes, and these mirrors will fold when the vehicle is parked. Common to all variants, the LED headlights also have a daytime running option.

Both the front and back row seats are heated and ventilated, ensuring maximum comfort during extreme outside temperatures. The seats are leather-trimmed, which exudes luxury in the most stylish way. The driver seat has lumbar support and can be adjusted in 10 ways. Whether you own an iPhone or an Android smartphone, this car is equipped with Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility.

The parking camera system features surround views, making parking maneuvers much easier. Cameras will display the image on the 12.3-inch touchscreen, providing you with all the necessary information about your vehicle.

The starting price is $43,685, making it slightly more expensive than the XLE version. 

2022 Toyota highlander - limited awd from the outside

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

This model is a good alternative to the diesel-powered Highlander. If you live in a green environment, it is ideal for contributing to reducing pollution. You can do this without giving up the Highlander model, as it comes in a hybrid variant as well. 

Mid-century-inspired embossed fabric seat inserts can easily make this a luxury SUV. Your passengers will appreciate the finest detail found in the interior. Bronze-colored stitching is one of the subtle but eye-catching details on the interior and exterior. 

The bold design is hard to ignore whenever people see this masterpiece on the road. The chiseled shape and contoured lines perfectly balance refinement and power. From clueless pedestrians to car enthusiasts, everyone will turn their heads when you make an entrance with this vehicle. 

20-inch alloy wheels further contribute to the overall design. It adds more sophistication and style without affecting performance negatively. The hands-free liftgate is easy to use when your hands are full and can be a time-saving feature. As long as the key is in your pocket, the liftgate opens instantly when you move your foot under the bumper. 

The standard provides crisp and clean light LED headlights, ensuring your safety during the darkest hours of the night. The starting price for the hybrid version is just $39,555, which is a fair price for this model’s features. 

Toyota Highlander Platinum

2022 Toyota highlander Platinum

Out of all the trim levels available for this three-row SUV, the Platinum is the highest available. With a starting price of $49,225, Toyota created this variant with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that develops 295 horsepower. The performance is incredible, with a front-wheel drive and 8-speed automatic transmission. 

At an additional price, you can choose the all-wheel drive model. The Platinum package has enough features to make the Highlander a luxury SUV. Because it is at the top of the trim levels, it features everything included in the models below it. LED headlights, heated mirrors, and keyless entry are some of them.  

The famous 11-speaker premium sound system is also included here, which is compatible with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. The rearview mirror is auto-dimming to reduce the brightness of other vehicles’ headlights. If that were not enough, a head-up display and sound-reducing front-side windows would ensure maximum comfort for the driver.

An intercom system allows you to communicate with the backseat passengers without having to yell at them. Both front and back seats feature heat and ventilation systems as well as sunshades. The Platinum is the only Highlander to offer a panoramic sunroof, which has become a much-appreciated feature.

Safety is always the top priority, and Toyota used its best technology for these measures. On the Platinum, the pre-collision warning system comes as a standard. It can detect pedestrians and alert you for lane departures. Cruise control options will let you relax during long drives on the highway. It’s while the automatic high beams will shine on their own at night. 

SpecificationsHighlander Platinum
Back-up cameraStandard
Horsepower295 hp at 6,600 RPM
Length194.9 in
Price$48,010
Seating capacity7-seater

Toyota 2023 Highlander release

We can most likely expect to see the 2023 Highlander hit the roads by late summer or early fall in 2022. The newer version will cost more than the 2022 model, with a starting price of just $35,855. 

So far, we know that the 2023 Highlander has many more features and comes with lots of beneficial upgrades. The wireless charger was moved to the instrument panel shelf for more convenience. The hands-free power liftgate option will also be available for XLE and XSE variants.

For those who value aesthetics and style, the 2023 model comes with a new hue for exterior paint called Cypress. Contact your dealership if you want a specific color, as black and white are also available. The noble brown theme of the interior is now replaced by glazed caramel and harvest beige interiors that feature black as their accent color. 

A new turbocharged 2.4-liter engine paired with 8-speed automatic transmission is a significant upgrade for the gas-engine 2023 Highlander. It can generate 265 horsepower with 309 lb-ft of torque. This turbocharged engine replaces the 3.5-liter one from the previous model. While the new engine dropped 30 horsepower compared to the 2022 Highlander, the torque output is 46 lb-ft higher. 

You can expect the same estimated fuel economy for all models, 24 combined mpg. Toyota uses the same hybrid powertrain for the green option for their 2023 model. The 2.5-liter engine is combined with two electric motors that generate a total system output of 243 horsepower. 

These variants can be purchased either with a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive system. 

Summary: Differences between XLE and XSE

The XSE trim is slightly ahead of the XLE one and offers a more sporty interior and exterior. Upgrades like leather-trimmed front and second-row seats and an aggressive mesh front grille are just a couple of the differences between these 2 variants. 

XLE shines best in the interior, where the gap to the XSE model is highly noticeable. You will find many more features in these configurations, and some of them include:

  • Navigation
  • Heated front seats
  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Available 11-speaker JBL premium stereo

Everybody knows that the Highlander is popular for being an efficient and reliable mid-sized SUV. People would expect sportiness and aggressivity in style from such a model. However, the XSE model changed its elegant lines for a more sporty and dynamic appearance. The lower spoiler and fake air vents are just some of the exterior modifications.

Those looking for a different look will be satisfied with the blackened details of the unique grill. With these sporty features, the CSE distinguishes itself from the rest of the Highlander configurations. 

Toyota engineers made sure to change the performance of this model just like its appearance. A more connected driving experience is offered, with stiffer spring rates and a thicker anti-roll bar. The steering wheel is more pronounced, and your drive will feel more responsive. 

The interior is different, with the biggest change being the red leather. This leatherette only covers the first and second rows, as black seats are offered for the third row in the back. You can also choose black leatherette seats if you prefer something standard and traditional. 

The XLE model has a premium appeal, getting a shiny gray plastic for the dashboard. The last difference between these models is made by the design of the multi-terrain selector. In the XSE models, this selector is controlled by a knob. Buttons are used for the XLE variant. Both have the same three modes:

  • normal
  • dirt
  • and sand. 

Have you decided which of these models you’re getting?

  • XLE
  • XSE
  • Highlander Platinum